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Windows 7 RC Touch + N-Trig First Impressions: Touch is Good, Ink Needs Work



ntrigN-Trig released their Windows 7 RC 2.59 multi-touch drivers for the Dell XT,Dell  XT2, andHP  TX2 yesterday and I just finished going through the install. Before installing this new version, make sure you 1) download the correct version for your particular computer, 2) uninstall the previous version through the Control Panel / Uninstall Program feature and then reboot before installing this new version.

Here are my impressions on the new ink support, as well as the multi-touch gestures.

The good thing about  2.59 version is that the pen is now supported, which is a huge improvement over previous beta versions. One of the first things I did was open up Journal and begin inking.  I experienced some strange behaviors with touch still being recognized even with the pen touching the screen. What is strange about this behavior is that I wasn’t allowed to ink at all using the pen because touch was still still turned on and the pen wasn’t being activated automatically. When lifting the pen ever so slightly, touch would turn on and then the side of my hand would begin to make ink strokes, but the pen wouldn’t generate any ink even when writing on the screen. Some obvious bugs still need to get worked out with pen / touch integration. I’ll still use it,  but I definitely look forward to the next version from N-Trig. Good start on the pen, N-Trig, but there is still some work to be done.

Like the previous beta version, multi-touch gestures are now recognized at the operating system level which means a more natural and fluid response using your finger to navigate around Windows 7. Panning, zooming, and multi-finger input work really well. Panning in a web page is very iPhone-like, while zooming and rotating a picture is quite smooth. Zooming in a webpage utilizes the browsers zoom functionality so it isn’t as smooth as picture zooming. Pan scrolling in both IE and Chrome work equally as smooth. Media Center functionality is also quite natural.

Navigating around Windows 7 using touch has been quite accurate, with very few false hits.




  1. Sumocat

    05/07/2009 at 6:48 am

    How’s the pressure sensitivity?

  2. Rob Bushway

    05/07/2009 at 7:08 am

    pressure sensitivity in Journal is wonderful.

  3. Antimatter

    05/07/2009 at 7:54 am

    Did it unlock the multitouch keyboard features? What about touch in windows media cetner, and panning elsewhere in the OS?

  4. Rob Bushway

    05/07/2009 at 8:02 am

    As I mentioned above, touch in media center is very fluid, and yes the keyboard is now multi-touch.

  5. Amitai Rosenberg

    05/07/2009 at 9:43 am

    Can you please do an inkshow showing Windows 7’s touch features? And particularly the new ones they added in the RC?

  6. Rob Bushway

    05/07/2009 at 9:47 am

    I’ll try to, but I’m behind the 8-ball on some projects so it will be a few weeks out. Honestly, there isn’t much new there (except for multi-touch keyboard). It just feels more solid. I don’t know that I can show anything that my previous inkshow didn’t show.

  7. Amitai Rosenberg

    05/07/2009 at 11:25 am

    Thanks. But there are a couple of more new features.
    From the E7 blog:

    Aero Peek for touch

    We’re excited about Peek and we further refined its functionality. Our touch customers enjoy the benefits of direct manipulation, but inform us they feel left out of some of new functionality that’s available for the mouse and keyboard. We’ve made two improvements that spreads the love. First, the taskbar’s thumbnails now support a touch gesture so one can drag her finger across the UI and trigger Aero Peek. Also, the Show Desktop button is improved so a press-and-hold will allow the customer to peek at the desktop. A regular tap in both these scenarios still to commits the switch.

    Multi-touch right-click

    People who are rely on touch give us mixed feelings towards tap and hold to bring up a context menu. This approach works, but it also involves a slight delay. We now have a fast new multi-touch gesture for right-click. Simply touch an item with one finger and use another finger to tap and summon a context menu.

    Drag/Drop and selection

    In Beta there was no discoverable way to select text in a website that scrolled both horizontally and vertically. Customers are now able to drag/drop and select items with touch, even inside scrolling pages. The new behavior is optimized for the two most common actions by touch customers—scrolling up and down and dragging left to right.

    Multi-touch zoom

    One of the pieces of feedback we heard from the Beta was that customers enjoy the new multi-touch zoom feature, but wish it was supported in Windows Explorer. In response to this feedback we have added support for the zoom gesture in Windows Explorer. Using the zoom gesture you can switch between view modes in Explorer such as zooming from Small Icons to Extra Large icons.

  8. Rob Bushway

    05/07/2009 at 11:29 am

    appreciate that Amitai – was aware of those. They are mostly enhancements to existing functionality from Beta, but I will try to cover those in the InkShow in a few weeks.

  9. arlyn

    05/07/2009 at 9:51 pm

    Does this version support pen pressure in Adobe Photoshop?
    I have a tx2z, but I lost my pen so I cannot test.

  10. Rob Bushway

    05/07/2009 at 10:38 pm

    I don’t believe photoshop pressure sensitivity is supported yet.

  11. Charles Jannace

    05/08/2009 at 5:06 am

    Made the switch last night from XP Tablet to Win 7 RC with a clean install on my XT. Went flawlessly despite Microsoft’s website’s woefully (and potentially dangerously) inadequate instructions on clean install. I haven’t had time to run it through the paces but I have 3 observations. 1. Win7 is much, much faster than XP (or Vista on my son’s HP Tablet). 2. The N-Trig Win7 drivers loaded fine and the firmware is a massive improvement over the XP digitizer. 3. Dell needs to catch up soon and release Win7 firmware for XT. Some of the XT’s buttons (e.g. rotate screen) are disabled. All in all, I’m glad that this blog encouraged me to make the switch. I look forward to reading everyone’s experiences.

  12. Rob Bushway

    05/08/2009 at 5:56 am

    charles – download the quickset drivers from the dell support site – they will enable rotation as well as other buttons..

    also – in your windows update, you should automatically get ati video and buttons, too.

  13. Charles Jannace

    05/09/2009 at 4:49 am

    Rob: Thanks for the tips. The install didn’t include the Radeon drivers so I downloaded them (i.e. Vista 32 bit) from the Dell site. I also downloaded the Vista 32 quickset drivers from Dell. All buttons are working and the graphics are better than ever.

    Kaspersky has a Win7 beta that I installed and it’s much more powerful than my XP Pro version. Last night I also installed Office 2007. I’m a little pissed that it didn’t ask me which programs I wanted and sure enough, it uploaded the whole enchilada. I’m debating whether or not to install One Note. I didn’t like it on XP but with the new N-Trig firmware, it may be worth it this time around. I’m now installing Acrobat 9 Pro to see if that will run.

    What a complete success this move has been. I remember when Win 95 replaced 3.1. I think that Win7 is going to be as exciting as that was. Wish I hadn’t bagged my Microsoft stock a few years ago.

  14. XT_Guy

    05/09/2009 at 7:36 pm

    Running Win 7 Release candidate with RC driver package 2.59 from the N-trig site on a Dell XT – really good multitouch and pen response so far. No install issues but I did follow the N-trig release notes very carefully. Works great in One Note and Journal. Haven’t see the issues that Rob noted above. My bottom line – if you have an XT – do this upgrade – then go sit next to some iPhone geek on the subway – and blow his mind…

  15. Charles Jannace

    05/11/2009 at 10:28 am

    I’m continue to have nothing but great success and material improvements on Win7 RC. I was able to reinstall RitePen 3.1 from Evernote (something else I originally learned about on this website) and it works flawlessly. I reinstalled OneNote and it works much better (faster) than before. Once I get to the office, I’m going to try to install my portable ScanSnap and see how those drivers work.

  16. Ron F

    05/11/2009 at 4:05 pm

    I am running the 2.59 drivers on Win7 RC7100 64bit on an XT2 and while I am very pleased with both the Pen and Touch I am experiencing the issue above where while using the Pen sometimes my palm catches the touch input and makes marks. If I change the N-Trig input mode in control panel to auto from dual it has no effect. Still some bugs but moving in the right direction. I wonder if these issue are also happening in the 32bit build?

  17. Rob

    05/11/2009 at 4:23 pm

    I am running the 32 bit build

  18. Estrelo

    05/12/2009 at 5:48 am

    “Pan scrolling in both IE and Chrome work equally as smooth”
    Does this mean it is possible to scroll and pan around an webpage in Chrome with touch/pen? I’m happy with Firefox+Grab and Drag but I like to have a choice.
    Running Win 7 RC on a M750 here.

  19. XT_Guy

    05/12/2009 at 7:12 am

    New “Known Issue” for Win 7 RC Drivers has popped up on N-trig’s customer support/FAQ page:

    Looks like the same issue Rob mentioned in his evaluation:

    In Windows 7 RC, in Dual mode, sometimes the pen functionality does not respond properly.

    This happens in ink-enabled applications, when touch and pen functionality are executed simultaneously.

    Pen and touch functionality are still both enabled, and function correctly.

    This is a known issue, and we are working to correct this for future releases.

  20. Charles Jannace

    05/16/2009 at 5:19 am

    One more thing: Win7 found and I downloaded a driver for the fingerprint scanner that unlike the XP, works very well. After I installed it Firefox called for a plug in for the scanner to use for passwords on webpages. Very cool.

    Now all I need is Mi-Fi.

  21. Ryan

    06/26/2009 at 2:50 am

    hi everyone! i need some help…im planning to buy this day an hptx2 but i really want to run it with win7 and i don’t know whats the procedures are. its my first time to have a tablet and i really don’t know how to do those things you’ve done to your tablet. I’m reading all your msgs in this site but i need more details about it…i love to have those what you have experience ryt now…hope you can share all the things what you’ve learned…tnx alot i love to hear from you all guys…

  22. Rob

    06/26/2009 at 4:51 am

    Head over to our win 7 and HP forums for some help getting going

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