Touch hardware and Windows 8

Last September we blogged about experiencing Windows 8 touch on Windows 7 hardware, introducing the story of touchscreen hardware, how it is evolving, and what we expect Windows 8 will bring to the ecosystem of touch. We discussed how our engineering efforts (software and hardware) are driven by key user experiences, how these experiences play a big part in how we evaluate Windows 8 hardware, and how we communicate with hardware partners. Since that post, we’ve been working closely with our partners to build Windows 8 PCs. With the Consumer Preview, we want to update you on where we’re at. This post was authored by Jerry Koh, a group program manager, and Jeff Piira, a test manager, both on our Human Interaction Platform team.

The Windows team has continued to work in lock step with external hardware partners to fully embrace the experience we want for Windows 8. New Windows 8 PCs are coming, and while that is not a topic for this post, we at Microsoft are excited with what our hardware partners have in store for you.

It’s worth reinforcing that Windows 8 will run on the hardware available today, and we are committed to making sure that happens. So you should feel confidence in installing the Consumer Preview on the machines that you own today. However, as much as we value compatibility, we also have to balance this with making Windows 8 really shine on new Windows 8 PCs. We’d like to provide you with some perspective on our efforts and how we will achieve this.

Making sure Windows 8 works on your Windows 7 PC

At the //build/ conference we introduced a set of touch interactions that make up the Windows 8 touch language. These core interactions form the basis of the Windows 8 user interface, and are reused heavily in the application frameworks within our common controls and samples. The primary goal of our touch language is to promote ease-of-use and ensure user confidence. By confidence, we mean that all touch interactions work consistently and reliably all the time. Developers who consume our controls will automatically feature this language in their applications when they re-use the common controls or use the samples, and in doing so, they also minimize any learning required for users.

Press and hold to learn, Tap for primary action, Slide to pan, Swipe to select, Pinch and stretch to zoom, Turn to rotate, Swipe from edge for app commands, Swipe from edge for system commands.

The touch language allows us to design a base user experience that is optimized for touch and works well on every PC, whether it was built originally for Windows 7 or for Windows 8. The fundamental gestures require no more than 2 fingers. However it is important to note that 2 fingers can be very limiting for a variety of applications. This is why Windows 8 PCs require digitizers that support a minimum of 5 fingers. The reason we went in this direction is a response to developer feedback. Developers do not want their creativity to be limited, and in particular, they let us know that they want to be free to use whichever multi-finger gestures or controls are useful. They do not want requirements for a minimum number of fingers that may not make sense for their application. As such, we focused on a minimum of 5 fingers to enable scenarios like whole hand interactions (all 5 fingers) or multi-finger/multi-hand scenarios. This will address the feedback, and unlocks opportunities for developers to push the envelope with multi-touch applications. So, while we ensure that the OS works well with a Windows 7 PC, a new Windows 8 PC is going to be much more consistent and predictable both from a user and developer perspective.

New UI concepts in Windows 8 also impact touch hardware design. This is another area where Windows 8 PCs will be more capable than existing Windows 7 PCs. For example, the edge swipe required to reveal the charms and app bars fundamentally changes all the assumptions made on touch hardware. Traditionally, the edges of the screen are where touch sensitivity drops off, and it’s a place that hardware manufacturers have traditionally not placed much emphasis on. The center of the screen received all the innovation, while the edges have suffered. If you have seen or experienced the Windows 8 user experience, the edge swipe is a critical part of using Windows. However, it also has a big role to play in our developer promise, as every pixel used to detect an edge swipe is a pixel taken away from the developer. For Metro style apps, where every pixel belongs to the developer, it is critical that we uphold and deliver on this promise.

We worked closely with our hardware partners to figure out a design that will allow all pixels on a touch screen to be accurate and perform well. There were many challenges here, but we were able to deliver on the promise of Windows 8 PCs that have the ability to trigger the edge swipe without taking any pixels from applications, and with extremely good edge sensitivity using touch—a promise that benefits developers and users alike. To make things work with Windows 7 PCs, we had to go in a different direction. In order to make edge swipe work consistently on Windows 7 PCs, we created a mode where there is a 20-pixel buffer to catch the edge swipe gesture. This allows a majority of PCs to reliably invoke the charms and use Windows 8 effectively. The downside of this buffer is that it takes away some real estate from the application, and from developers.

There is a broad set of Windows 7 PCs available in the market, and while this is a strong testament to the diversity of the Windows Ecosystem (as it offer more choices for our users), it also adds a degree of variance in touchscreen performance that must be accommodated. Here are some other examples of work we did to enable Windows 7 PCs to work well with touch:

  • Making gestures like press and hold and pinch to zoom more forgiving
    On some touch screens, the information reported from the screen is not consistent. We call this “jitter.”., When “jitter” happens, it’s hard for the system to know if the finger is actually moving or stationary. In some instances, a simple gesture like “press and hold” becomes extremely hard to calculate.
  • Determining user intent for sloppy or imprecise touches
    Although larger UI elements help improve touch targeting, we don’t have that luxury within the Windows desktop, especially with existing desktop applications. For this, we developed new ways to remap touch targets using the geometry of the finger, such that it becomes easier to invoke any UI that is within the radius of your finger contact. We will talk more about this feature in a separate blog post.

While you can see that there are a number of places where we’ve done work to accommodate the variance in hardware, there will be some areas where software cannot compensate. We will call out a few of them below. The good news is that in some cases users can learn to overcome these issues; in other cases, the experience will seem slow or imprecise, sometimes requiring you to attempt a gesture more than once before you succeed. We can overcome some of these issues with updated drivers, but this is entirely up to the hardware partners to evaluate and support. Here are some other examples of inconsistencies that we see when comparing touchscreens on some Windows 7 PCs:

  • Individual taps do not always work, especially when typing quickly in the touch keyboard.
    There are generally 3 things that impact this: the touch screen response rate, typing speed, and number of touch points. As you start typing faster on a touch screen, the screen has to match the speed of switching keys. The response rate in a touch screen is usually more optimized for detecting dragging gestures than rapid taps; this will manifest itself as missed taps. When you start typing faster, the chances of having more than 2 simultaneous fingers down also goes up. On systems that do not support more than 2 touches, you will notice missed touches.
  • Swipe to select is inconsistent on hardware that does not detect small touch deltas fast enough.
    It takes a little time for touch to respond to an initial touch. In some cases, the touch screen ignores the first few values of the initial touch, and the system then has difficulty interpreting the swipe correctly.
  • Swipe and slide can be misinterpreted as a tap, especially on hardware that is not sensitive enough.
    This stems from the same issues as above, in which touch screens take some time to respond, and cannot send a consistent stream of data once a swipe or slide begins. In this case, it can result in the system reading the data as taps instead of slides. When this happens, swiping and sliding more slowly may help.
  • Swipe from edge does not always work, especially with faster swipes.
    Although we have the buffer accommodation described above, fast swipes from the edge sometimes suffer from response rate as well. Fingers that come in too fast from the edge don’t get picked up by the touch screen until it is past the buffer. Trying again at a slower speed usually helps here.

Here is a video that shows some examples of how hardware can affect the Windows 8 touch language.

Download this video to view it in your favorite media player:
High quality MP4 | Lower quality MP4

Note that touch variability does not necessarily block usage, since you can adapt the way that you touch or interact with touchscreens to work around different timing or movement thresholds. For example, if the charms don’t appear after an edge swipe, you can try again, but swipe more slowly. However, this variability does tend to make you less confident about using touch on Windows. However, we don’t want app developers to have to accommodate all the variances in touch hardware. Ultimately, we want to keep the promise of consistency, and the promise that applications work on all Windows 8 PCs. This is why we are working hard to ensure that Windows 8 PCs have a consistently good touch experience, and why you will want one of these new PCs when they are released.

Touch hardware testing

To make sure that the Windows 8 experience works well on your existing Windows 7 PC, we’ve been testing a bunch of them. Listed below are some of the newer Windows 7 systems that are commonly used within the Windows organization. This is not an endorsement, and users of these PCs should not expect official support from PC vendors when installing Windows 8.

  • HP Elitebook 2760p convertible
  • ASUS EP121 tablet
  • Dell Inspiron Duo convertible
  • Lenovo x220t convertible
  • 3M M2256PW 22” display
  • Samsung Series 7 slate

To support our commitment to customers who upgrade, we also frequently test Windows 8 on a broader set of in-market systems. We listed many of these systems in the previous post, and will now share some of the data we collected. Our test team collected data on how the Windows 8 touch interactions perform on 64 different Windows 7-era touch screens. As seen in the pie charts below, the data covers a variety of different form factors and touch sensor technologies.

Pie chart: Slate 14%, Monitor 16%, All-in-one 30%, Convertible 40%.Pie chart: Capacitive 66%, Optical 28%, Other 6%.

What we found was encouraging: the vast majority of Windows 7 touchscreens can be used with Windows 8. This means that touch drivers continue to load, and you can perform the basic touch interactions in Windows 8 with a reasonable degree of success. But, as described in the previous section, we did see significant variability in how touch interactions were interpreted across different Windows 7 touchscreens. For example, the same swipe gesture can be interpreted as selecting a tile on one touchscreen, as dragging it on another, and as activating (tapping) it on a third screen. The charts below show examples of how successful completion varied between touchscreens when performing Windows 8 interactions for swiping to select a tile, dragging a tile to move, dragging to resize a snapped view, and swiping the screen edge to invoke the charms. 100% means that all attempts succeeded (note that for Windows 8 PCs, we require all these tests to pass with at least 95% success*).

Chart showing test results for Tile Select on Windows 7 touch screens; Success rate is mostly between 80% and 100%

Test: Select a tile in Start
Expected result: Tile is selected with a single swipe


Chart showing test results for Tile Arrange on Windows 7 touch screens, Success rate is mostly between 80% and 100%, with a few data points around 65%.

Test: Move a tile in Start
Expected result: Tile is moved on first drag attempt


Chart showing test results for Snap View Drag on Windows 7 touch screens, Success rate is mostly between 70% and 95%, with a few data points around 55%.

Test: Resize a snapped application
Expected result: Application is snapped to new size


Chart showing test results for Right Edge Swipe (no mitigations) on Windows 7 touch screens, Success rate is distributed between 0% and 100%, with a few data points around 55%.

Test: Swipe the right edge to view Charms
Expected result: Charms bar appears on first swipe

* pass rates may vary between each test

The road to Windows 8 PCs

Throughout Windows 8 development, we worked closely with external hardware partners to reduce hardware variability and establish consistent Windows 8 requirements. At the time of the //build/ conference, we were still working with partners to establish these requirements in early prototypes. The Samsung slate that was handed out at //build/ was our first attempt to push new requirements into a production system. Those of you who had the opportunity to use the Samsung slate experienced a level of touch quality that is closer to what we expect for Windows 8. You’ll also find some of these improvements in the commercialized version of the same slate hardware, which Samsung calls the Series 7 slate. Experiencing Windows 8 on this hardware will give you an idea of what touch will be like on Windows 8 PCs.

We have published our requirements for new Windows 8 hardware, and we continue to work with touch hardware partners, suppliers, independent hardware vendors, and PC manufacturers to ensure that new devices meet the requirements. Microsoft tests and certifies each new touch device before it can enter the market as a Windows 8 PC. This is how we will ensure consistency and quality in touch hardware for Windows 8. We will talk more about the certification process in a separate blog post.

Experience the Windows 8 Consumer Preview

So if you have a Windows 7 touch-capable PC today, don’t hesitate to use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and take advantage of the Metro style user experience that we’ve built. The core experience will work well, but you’ll need to be mindful of some of the issues we’ve covered above. On new Windows 8 PCs, these issues won’t be present.

If you don’t have a touch-capable PC, you can still experience the Metro style UI with a mouse and keyboard. Last and not least, if you develop applications for Windows 8, the developer tools include an emulator that you can use to simulate touch. It will give you a close approximation of how your application will work, and we encourage you to take advantage of it. We hope you agree that we’ve come a long way in ensuring that Windows 8 has the best touch experience. We’re excited to provide a way for you to be more hands-on with your PC.

Thank you!

- Jeff Piira, Test Manager, Human Interaction Platform Team
- Jerry Koh, Group Program Manager, Human Interaction Platform team

Comments (84)

  1. pffft..... says:

    how about a more mouse friendly ui and you change the name from WINDOWS to WINDOW because you can only view one at a time…..that works really great.

  2. The great improvements have been made in Windows 8 Consumer Preview and the more new hardware coming with touch compatibility is a welcoming news.

    Is there any support for great track pad for the laptops ? Many people (programmers, businesses) have the traditional laptops (may be with touch screen in future) but having a great quality touch with same gesture support will be THE feature for Windows PCs going forward.

    Looking forward to hear a blog post on the hardware track pad and gesture support (from MSFT and hardware partners).

  3. Touchy says:

    I'll never have a touch screen on my desktop PC, but I could use a touch device instead of the mouse and maybe keyboard.

    My monitor is just too far away to reach, and I don't want to hide the screen with my hands.

  4. Gill says:

    How do you switch on this buffer mode that you talk about for Windows 7 touch hardware?

  5. Joanne says:

    Super.  Now just give anyone with a proper computer the option of turning all this crap off and we'll all be happy.

  6. God lord so many  cry babies on this blog, if you don't like metro/touch  f  off.

  7. Stefan says:

    @Important news:

    Hahahaha !!! That was a good one !!!! 🙂

  8. Stefan says:


    Accept that we are many that hate Metro Bullcr*p and want a real OS. Not a toy OS….

    By the way, how long have You been working for Microsoft ?

  9. @ Steven Sinofsky

    This may be out of context question. Have MS thought about upgrade options of apps when developer releases a new version?

    – Does Window "Market Place" support upgrade price for existing customer and Full pricing for new customer? Apple's app store does not support this now.

    – Say the user installs the new version as a trial, what happens to the old version on users machine? If he do not like new version, how does he get the old version back?

  10. cjmccarthy72 says:

    Rolled my HTPC back to Windows 7- oh well, this will save me $100 in the future….

  11. @Stefan what you and your friends think about metro does not mean *** , metro is still coming, you all can whine all you want.

  12. B8 says:

    There are things that do not fit, Documentos, Calculadora, etc…



  13. B8 says:

    There are things "long" that do not fit, Documentos, Calculadora, etc…



  14. Bryan says:

    From what I've seen between the Win8 Developer Preview and the Consumer Preview is mostly that the mouse support is a little better.  I can only hope it improves even more between now and RTM.  As it is, I only see Win8 being useful on tablets and notebooks that have touch screens.

  15. Bryan says:

    Another thought.  If the Kinect for PC could be used for gestures on desktops, that might actually be pretty cool, giving a Minority Report-ish experience.

  16. @Gil

    The buffer is not something users have to turn on. We detect that the hardware is not Windows 8 compliant, and present the right buffers to make a majority of Windows 7 touch systems work well with the edge UI.

  17. Eric Malamisura says:

    Please drastically improve the mouse and keyboard experience, it was improved quite a bit in the CP but its still very poor, in fact its almost un-useable on my Asus laptop since the touchpad doesn't support two finger scrolling, it doesn't support gestures, and it doesn't have scrolling turned on, the only way for me to scroll was to use the scrollbars at the bottom and it was very difficult.  I wish I could just click some open area and drag to scroll with mouse, that would be awesome!!

    Also on my desktop setup in office I have three monitors, and its very difficult and cumbersome to use Windows 8 on it.  For example getting charms to pull up without overshooting is near impossible.  Also near impossible is getting the little icon in the bottom left corner to popup.  I can use the Windows key just fine but I find it irritating to use this key, I like to use my mouse for navigating, and my keyboard for typing.  Not keyboard + mouse for navigating, its just not how I work really…

    Other than that the touch stuff looks great, I haven't had a chance to try it on a tablet except at the Windows store and the tablet was so freaking heavy I didn't play with it for very long.

  18. small_mountain says:

    Slightly off topic perhaps, but my Windows 7 hardware is decidedly *not* working with Windows 8.  I have recently built a new system with an ASUS P8Z68-V LE motherboard, which has a UEFI bios.  Windows 8 supposedly loves it some UEFI bios.  I reserved a 200 GB partition on the hard drive for Windows 8 CP and installed Windows 7.  At no point did Windows 7 ask me if I wanted MBR or GPT partitions on my hard drive (a distinction I have never heard of before), so it just made MBR (old-style I guess) partitions.  Now I go to install Windows 8 CP on the 200 GB partition, and Windows 8 balks.  It says this is a UEFI system, so I have to install Windows 8 CP on a GPT partition.  So I think that means I have to repave my hard drive, make GPT partitions, reinstall Windows 7 and then install Windows 8.  If that is true, I don't think you are doing enough to make people aware that if they are building a Windows 7 system on UEFI hardware that they expect to be able to upgrade to Windows 8, they darn well better figure out how to make GPT partitions on the hard drive.


  19. Kabe says:

    OK… sooo everyone complaining about touch-pads not working right etc… Remember! This is a BETA so a lot of component drivers are not yet fully functional/available. I have used a mouse, track-pad, and keyboard and have found it to be exactly the same as windows 7. (when I installed the actual drivers for those components).


    From a happy developer =)

  20. @Ankit Upadhyay

    I was wondering the same thing. Will track pads on Windows 8 PC's inherit some of these gesture capabilities as well?

    I imagine it would be quite nice to swipe from the left on the track pad to app switch, swipe up from the bottom to access the app bar and pinch to access semantic zoom.

  21. Does Microsoft intend to release a non touchy feely "Windows 8 desktop edition"?

    Or does it intend to offer free Windows 7 upgrade DVD's with Windows 8?

  22. David B says:

    @Eric Malamisura

    I'm using the CP on my 3-year old Asus M50VM laptop. I had to manually download the latest Synaptics generic touchpad driver for Windows 7, and turn on the scrolling, but then it works reasonably well. I would prefer it if I could use the horizontal scrolling on the touchpad to scroll through the Start screen.

  23. Alenas K says:

    I think Windows 8 is not Metro enought. The main compaint is that on Desktop side taskbar is "old" and it should be "new" joint with an app switche – that will work for touch better and users will stop comparing 8 to 7. More here:

  24. A Question says:

    Someone please help me:

    How to remove a Hotmail / Gmail account in Mail of Consumer Preview ?

  25. @A Question — bring up the app bar (swipe from bottom, or window z) and  click/touch accounts pane, right click or press/hold the gmail account.  You cannot remove your connected Microsoft ID account in the Consumer Preview.  You can also uninstall mail, then reinstall it from the Windows Store and add back any accounts.

  26. While using Windows Consumer Preview I got an problem with touch experience on my Dell SX2210T monitor. It was described by me here –…/2227c0d4-cb85-41e4-aec8-c6929e082adb – but no one MSFT person has commented it yet. I really hope MS will check this bug report and fix it in the future Windows 8 builds. Thank you, Alexander.

  27. Samir Shah says:

    The main vehicle for Windows 8 will be Windows 8 ARM tablets and NOT Windows 8 Intel PCs. The price difference is immense. If Microsoft pins her hops on Windows 8 Intel PCs, she is on her way to Recycle Bin.

  28. MS nerd says:

    @Steven Sinofsky: This post is great because it really outlines how an iDevice-class touch experience on Windows 8 will need new hardware that has been built to a new baseline specification from Microsoft & tested by Microsoft.

    Based on the data you have shared, it appears that there are a few Windows 7 devices among those you tested that have really poor responsiveness from the digitizer. Can you clarify whether these tend to be optical or capacitive screens? Does it have anything to do with the particular CPU being used in those devices–e.g. Atom processors? What about 'hybrid' digitizers like those by N-trig or Wacom, which recognized stylii? Which category are they counted under? What kind of performance differences do you see between digitizers that work over the I2C on ARM devices v/s USB on the x86 ones that you are testing for Windows 8? How does having touch-processing being offloaded to an 'assistive core' such as the Tegra 3's affect responsiveness?

    On a related note, can you tell us more about any handwriting recognition improvements that might be have been worked on for Windows 8. As a student, I have found OneNote incredibly useful when used with a stylus for taking notes in biology, chemistry & math classes. I have also had the chance to see extensive use of stylii & OneNote among med students. The InkSeine app had some very interesting interface ideas for stylii; can you give us any information about such considerations being made for Windows 8 system interactions with stylii?

    Additionally, you mention that the question of supporting Windows 7 hardware with Windows 8 is something that you leave to the OEMs to answer. That is understandable. Having said that, if OEMs or component vendors choose not to provide updated drivers for the few multi-touch-enabled Windows 7 machines out there, how will you guarantee that poor touch-responsiveness does not reflect negatively on developers whose apps might be used on these older PCs? I would suggest two solutions: either have vendors like N-trig & Wacom provide updated generic drivers for their digitizers which are used in these PCs and deliver them via Microsoft Update or simply do not support the touch-screen capability if such a PC is upgraded to Windows 8. I love my HP tx2 convertible, but I'd be happier not to have the touch-screen work completely in Windows 8, rather than use it in a buggy, poorly-performant way.

    Also, for the aforementioned PCs as well as the countless non-touch-enable Windows 7 PCs which might be upgraded to Windows 8, the touchpad support from apps needs to improve tremendously. I have to say that for hardware made in late 2008 (4 years ago!!) my touchpad has never worked as well as it has done in Windows 8. The scrolling is buttery-smooth, and I'm talking about two-finger scrolling, which was incredibly broken & turned off by default in Windows 7. The system works extremely well with touchpads. However, the apps from the Store are scattershot when it comes to scrolling support. Some don't support touchpad scrolling at all. Others don't support PgUp/Dn keys either. 'Edge-push' scrolling support is in a similar state with some of these apps. You really need to enforce multi-mode input support as a requirement if you expect the Windows Store to be successful. I'm willing to be very forgiving for now, as these are obviously App Previews.

    The other thing that needs to be addressed is that you need to make developers aware that they can choose different visibility states for the app-bars. It is documented on MSDN, but not everyone is making the right choices depending on if their app is editing-heavy or not.

    Oh, and finally, Office 15 being desktop-only apps & thereby forgoing all the platform improvements like contracts, snapped states, live tiles etc. is unacceptable and makes devs loose confidence in the platform. The biggest vendor has to show that its bread & butter apps can thrive in Metro. I hope you guys are working with them to, at the very least, have a Metro-mode similar to how IE10 & other browsers will have two modes for the same app. Please, please do this for OneNote to start with. In the interim, you could also add viewing capabilities to the new Reader app so that it can display EPUB, DOCX, PPTX & XLSX as well.

    Thanks for giving us 'enthusiasts' the most fun we've had with Windows in a long time.

  29. Kevin says:

    Why not make the swipe area (20px) configurable? Yes, it's work. But users who can't scroll in that area are likely able to scroll by dragging elsewhere on the screen. Users who can't bring up the Charms bar are just plain screwed. On my W500, I simply can't bring up the Charms bar, yet I can't find a single Metro app that absolutely needs the far-most right hand real estate for anything critical.

  30. Braden says:

    "The main vehicle for Windows 8 will be Windows 8 ARM tablets and NOT Windows 8 Intel PCs. The price difference is immense. If Microsoft pins her hops on Windows 8 Intel PCs, she is on her way to Recycle Bin."

    Personally I'm not that interested in an ARM tablet, but that may change eventually…. The price of current Windows tablets is definitely to much. The Samsung Series 9 tablet is $2500 at the moment in New Zealand. In regards to performance it's interesting, but if the battery life could be double, and the price much cheaper, it would be a sure buy.

    ARM tablets are going to require a rapidly maturing app eco-system, outstanding devices, and lower prices. I sure hope this rumoured Nokia tablet, turns out to be something special

  31. TheCyberKnight says:

    @Jerry Koh – MSFT

    There's obviously an issue with the Windows 7 hardware detection system. I use a Dell ST2220T (optical tracking with bezel around the sides) and the 20-pixel buffer mitigation is not active.

    Is there any other way to activate the mitigation? Without it, my setup is simply unusable without a keyboard and I would really like to experiment how usable the mitigation can make it.

  32. jjbowles says:

    Love metro but I cannot deploy win8 to my 7000 users because the start button and menu are missing. Horrible horrible horrid decision. I am a Microsoft guy, love windows phone and metro in general, but there are some grave mistakes in win8.  just put the  start menu and button back and give us the option to boot to the desktop. Oh yeah, pin the freaking trash can to the task bar by the clock.  

  33. jjbowles says:

    And I have the hp 2760p mentioned here and tiling two metro apps on screen at the same time does not work because win8 resolution requirements ate too high for this computer

  34. Braden says:

    An unrelated note:

    The switcher allows you to right click to close other apps, NOT the one you are currently in.

    There needs to be a way other than a drag down from the top to close an active app with the mouse.

    When the hand appears as mouse reaches top of screen (indicating you can drag down), user should be able to right click, then click close. This has the effect of reducing mouse travel, and gives a similar right click option to switcher.

  35. BethBindy says:

    Getting rid of the Start button on the desktop is a big mistake…BIG mistake.  This will cost Microsoft billions, 80-90% of enterprise customers will not upgrade desktops because of it, it will halt the recent stock price surge of MSFT once the Wall Street analysts figure out what's going on, and it jeopardizes Sinofsky's chances of every replacing Steve Ballmer.  BIG BIG MISTAKE.

  36. mcjw says:

    Steve, sorry the relevant topic has been closed off to comments. If you're reading this, please add option to change the light blue menus in aero basic… it cannot be changed in any theme settings since Vista. Before Windows 8 I can switch to Windows Classic to avoid the (sickly) blue shade. I'm not the only one concerned. If Windows is to continue in professional usage, please address this issue. I'm not the only one concerned:…/27203-horrid-blue-howto-get-rid.html


  37. @MS nerd

    There isn't a single factor.  There can be issues across the board in how the sensor and the screen are integrated, the design of the bezel, the placement of sensors (depending on technology).  There are many people at many companies that spend a lot of time developing this technology and there is a ton of depth here.  What is going on is a shift in what constitutes a good set of functionality, that's all.

    We added a number of improvements to recognition in Windows 7 and expanded languages in Windows 8 for desktop apps.  For WinRT apps we have added a set of handwriting APIs and controls.  Here's a pointer to the SDK docs –…/windows.ui.input.inking.aspx

    We are working with PC makers on a broad set of Windows 8 technologies as we do each release of Windows, including trackpads.

  38. Braden says:

    @BethBindy "Getting rid of the Start button on the desktop is a big mistake…BIG mistake"

    So what's the alternative? Have a start button always visible, even in apps? Or have a start button on desktop, but not in metro, like developer preview (which was much worse in my opinion).

    I have some faith in humankind, they can quickly understand either press windows key on keyboard or tablet, or mouse into place where it used to be. With a one page user manual included with Windows 8 + advertising and word of mouth people will get it.

    I think it's currently legitimately difficult for power users with mouse sensitivity up very high, and when working with multi monitors, to click the start button. It's not that they can't, it just requires a little more precision, which seemingly feels slower. Surely this is something they could tweak, to make it easier, without changing it fundamentally.

  39. A Question says:

    @ Steven Sinofsky

    Is a Hotmail account; May be removed in the version final, or not ?

    Thanks you.

  40. :| On...; A legal user of Windows says:

    @ Steven Sinofsky

    Do not worry, I will not say no reference of anything.

    Simply; was received ?, ( Yes or No ) ( 14 MB ), you know.

  41. Paul O says:

    @Steven Sinofsky: Another amazing post, Steven!

  42. Daniel D says:

    "Windows 8 will run on the hardware available today" – yeah, right…. Still no touch drivers for 50% of all convertibles. Where are the drivers for N-Trig devices??????

  43. Windows 8 Enthusiast says:

    Please do a post on Kinect Interaction with Windows 8 Metro. There has been a lot of buzz going on about it for over a year now. I feel kinect is the wow factor that will be the biggest shift in human computer interaction ever. Dont disappoint us please.  

  44. xpclient says:

    Whatever happened to the Pen and Touch Input Desktop features of Windows? Why are they no longer included in Windows 8?? Are they going to be included in RC or RTM?

  45. WhoIsToBlame says:


    Why did windows 7 touch logo program not set higher standards? It was pretty well known that touch was important even back then.

  46. neko says:

    Please, make Metro optional in desktop use. This is all I, loyal Windows user, ask.

  47. Darren says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    The simple questin is: Why do I need a "user experience which is optimized for touch" on a computer when I don´t have a touch device connected and use it with mouse and keyboard only. Another prove that you are not creating a smart os but a dumb os. If Microsoft cannot detect which device is connected, let the user choose and adapt the behviour to the input device chosen.

    You failure is to realize that users need a consistent user experience based on their input device to have maximum performance. You cannot simply throw the "optimized touch experience" on top of the desktop and hope it will work. It will not.

    And there are additional inconsistencies: On the start screen while I can swipe to scroll, but with a mouse device I need a scroll wheel. So if you really believe there should be same touch gestures, then it should be possible to swipe using the mouse device as well.

    But this shows again the fast and fluid quality of the Microsoft postings here. The touch ui is not optimized and it is not consistent and it is absolutely useless, even interupting when working with mouse and keyboard.

  48. "So if you have a Windows 7 touch-capable PC today, don’t hesitate to use the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and take advantage of the Metro style user experience that we’ve built."

    Metro UI has no advantage or any value on a non-touch device. It is a constant annoyance, it is interrupting the workflow, its crippling productivity.

  49. Victor says:


    If you don't need a user experience which is optimized for touch, then:

    1) Use the desktop version (press WIN + D). Is that hard? I don't think so.

    2) If 1) is too hard for you, then don't use Windows 8, stick to Windows 7, openSUSE or whatever OS makes you happy.

    What mouse are you currently using that doesn't have a scroll wheel? Mail me and I'll send you one with a scroll wheel, for 5$. Learn the keyboard shortcuts and where things are, use them for a while and you'll have a fast and fluid experience. Don't learn them and wait for a fast and fluid experience from above and you will be disatisfied.

    Thank you.

  50. Joao M Correia says:

    Can we cut with the "fast and fluid" crap already? The only thing "fast-and-fluid" about Metro is the speed of the format bar while reinstalling 7.

  51. @Victor

    Just because you use the desktop app it does not mean it wont jump back to MetroUI every time you need to search for something or want to change settings. Charms are horrible to use. And navigation on MetroUI without touch is a nightmare. (or in general on a large screen) You cannot avoid Metro on desktop.

    I understand that you can customize and hack so you keep the MetroUI on a minimum.

    But why do you need it?!?

    Is MS building a great product or MS is building a lousy product where the out of the box experience alienates 50% of the users right away.

    I mean read the comments, read the reviews, read the blogs. A large majority of people responds to W8 with hatred. Let me repeat it so you understand. at least 50% of the users hate w8 out of the box. Another 25% dislike it. When I asked my family to use it nobody liked it. Nobody! And I am talking about long time windows users.

    MS still struggles to move people away of XP.

    Why do you have MetroUI on a non-touch device in the first place??? Why do you need metro apps on a desktop or laptop? What value it adds to the user experience.

  52. Joanne says:

    It's not designed to add to the user experience, Adam, it's designed to force desktop users to use Metro because Microsoft know they wouldn't touch it if they had a choice.  This puts Microsoft's 'app store' front and centre and encourages developers to make 'apps' for it as Microsoft can claim that billions and billions of people will be using Metro in the future, when in reality they'll just be trying to find hacks to avoid it.  Microsoft is trying to leverage its desktop near monopoly to take on Apple's near monopoly on tablets because they think tablets are the future and they're getting desperate, being three years late to the game.  

    It won't work of course, instead of dragging Windows users to touch, it'll just irritate them so much they won't touch Metro with a barge pole on anything.  This would be a pity, because it clearly is very clever and obviously works well on a tablet.  I'm just in the big majority who is not interested in touch or tablets and has to work on a desktop all day.  I can choose to stick with Windows 7, and I will, but I seriously feel for anyone in the future forced to use a Windows 8 computer for work.  Enterprise won't buy 8 though, and Microsoft clearly doesn't care.  What gets insulting though is the ten paragraphs on the wonderful touch features being tailed with a line about how it's also great on a keyboard and mouse.  It clearly isn't.  All this 'legacy' stuff is a kick in the face to loyal Windows users and will tend to push people to staying with 7 or moving to Linux or even, god forbid, Apple.  The problem with calling what we rely on every working day 'legacy' is that it makes us start thinking of Microsoft as our legacy software provider, and not part of our future at all.  

  53. TheCyberKnight says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    @Jerry Koh – MSFT

    Is there any other way to activate the 20-pixel buffer mitigation? Is this feature present in the Consumer Preview?

    My Windows 8 test system uses a Dell ST2220T (optical tracking with bezel around the sides) and mitigation is obviously not active.

    Without this mitigation, keyboardless environments using the current crop of affordable optical tracking touchscreens are totally unusable with the current Windows 8 version.

  54. MikeInParadise says:

    Hmmm Post seems to have not taken hopefully this does not duplicate

    While  I agree with all the complaints about removing the start button and personally cannot imagine installing this in an organization without major retraining and user rebellion as it stands,   I figured that I really needed to give windows 8 a fair trial and ordered a touch screen to properly evaluate  it.

    I researched and ordered an Acer T231H as it was a reasonable price, did not break the bank and the only negative user comment on windows 8 that I could find were to do installing device touch drives.   I installed this on windows 7 and it works like a charm.   Great so now I install windows 8 to see if the touch device will make up for all the changes that users will be subject to.

    Reading your post and that fact that you are bragging about changing the edge sensitivity from 20 pixels which now makes this device UNUSABLE ON WINDOWS 8!  Who the heck cares about losing a couple of pixels on the edge of the screen versus making the device useless when it comes to critical functions of  the user interface.

    The issue is that the Acer T231H has a raised bezel and it is almost impossible to consistently get at the edge pixel.  This is the same issue for a great deal of existing touch devices that are out there such as All-In-One pc’s , Automotive touch screens etc.  Why would you obsolete the very hardware that exists that has the capability to take advantage of the Touch interface for the sake of 20 pixels of real estate??????

    The logical solution to this would be to take this into account in the calibration routine for the device as opposed to making edge gestures  incredibly difficult if not impossible to accomplish.

    I have posted about this on various Microsoft forums and no-one has given me an answer on this.

    I am quite used to touch having purchased the very first ipod Touch (which I still use to check my email when I wake up in the middle of the night) and an iPhone and just recently an iPad 3rd generation( which I find that I am using the voice dictation for googling almost exclusively , voice and touch combination rocks!)

    I can appreciate the value of touch.

    I really hope that you pay attention to the fact that there are a bunch of existing  touch devices that you need to be able to accommodate and a single pixel edge sense just does not cut it!

    I would love a response or work around to this as there is no way that I am going to put this touch screen with windows 8 on it in front of a user.  Please fix the calibration program or give me a registry tweak or something to let me actually make use of this device on windows 8.

    Remember I am trying to use touch, I went out and bought some touch hardware to give this a fair shake, so please help me , don’t ignore me and all the others who have touch screens that have trouble accessing the edge pixel of their touch screens.

    P.S. as an aside remark last year I had a part time job in an electronics store and when the blackberry playbook came out I was in at 6am for the early launch and a bunch of us sat around it and could not figure out how it worked as it too uses  the edge swipes and none of us could figure it out.   Edge swipes are not intuitive yet and will initially baffle people.  Especially those using a mouse.  From a new users perspective, If they  cannot see it then it does not exist!

  55. @MikeInParadise — I have this same display.  It is a very nice display but the bezel is not something that will work well.  It is possible to have a display with a bezel and meet our touch sensitivity/edge standards, but you would need a larger margin around the screen (the Sony L series desktops in 2012 have this).

    We have to design Windows for a combination of compatibility and moving forward to hardware that is still being developed.  At the same time, hardware makers have to create hardware for today's software and the software still being developed.  Release over release transitions always show where these trajectories didn't come together.  That's the point of the work we are writing about here.  We're multiple partners working together on as many product development timelines and each has current and future roadmaps being aligned.  So not every current product can work with every future product, even with the best of intentions.

  56. I Would like to see that the next Windows 8 release to add support for touchpad that comes with those older laptops, so that we can perform touch gestures on the touchpad even without touch screens.

    Laptop touchpads on current Windows 8 release only acts like a traditional mouse device, which is not so intuitive to use, I hope the next version of Windows 8 can implement better support for touchpads, like emulating a touch screen with a touchpad, so it will be more intuitive to operate the MetroUI with touch gestures on laptop touchpads.

    Also, I have a Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch Tablet, would like to see touch gesture support for it, also.

    I understand that some of the work should be done by those hardware manufacturers, but since laptop touchpads are so common, I hope Microsoft could implement built-in gestures support for touchpads. So I don't have to download additional utilities from Synaptics or other touchpad manufacturers.

  57. Mark says:

    I found the "touch language" very interesting. I had not heard of it before. I do have a question about the "learn" function, I'm assuming it replaces the "help" command in most apps but I haven't been able to find anything that it works on. Is it not available via mouse (i.e. holding the mouse down on a tile) or is it not implemented yet in the CP apps? or am I just trying it on the wrong apps?

  58. DD says:

    How about a post on working WITHOUT a touchscreen… and large monitors…. the things we use computers for….the post we really want to see:

    Can we disable the new "start screen" and Metro?

  59. George says:

    I run my desktop on a non touch screen, and even if I had a touch screen I wouldn't use it over an easier to use mouse and keyboard for my desktop.

    Do I gain anything if I were to upgrade to Windows 8?

  60. I have two different HP TouchSmart models. Touch doesn't work properly on either. My convertible laptop does detect touch, but innacurately and for some reason doesn't allow me to use the Start Menu, though games work fine for some reason. My All-In-One doesn't work at all, No touch, no matter how hard I've tried. I really hope you guys put some serious effort and push to get your hardware partners to add the necessary support for those of us who supported Touch Windows before Win8.

  61. Darren says:


    Sorry mate, but you are the one who obviously can´t get it: Microsoft purposely prevents a desktop user from using only the desktop. They want to force users into the touchy Metro world. There is no need for hot corners, start menu and charms on the desktop. They could simply made Windows 8 detect what kind of input devices are connected and let user choose. But this would mean no Marketplace money. So they don´t want to do this.

    I have got a mouse with scrolling wheel. But this does not change the fact that the user experience is not consistent if you can swipe by touch but not by mouse.


    So true!

    @Joao M Correia

    Deleting the virtual machine in which Windows 8 was installed also was a fast and fluid experience.

  62. Paul says:

    @Steven Sinofsky

    Could you please turn off the comments for future blog posts. Its not constructive and a waste of space as there is clearly no intelligent discussion going on. Its just a ground for haters spewing the same nonsense over and over again its becoming quite boring. Sadly, the voice of real testers keen on learning and trying the product is getting lost and serves no purpose. People who are genuinely intrested in the product can post comments through Connect or Technet.

  63. Stefan says:

    @nana688 28 Mar 2012 4:39 PM#



  64. Why Windows Installer still use the rounded shape windows. Please have the design team update to the square one.

    Rounded Windows…/windows-8-consumre-preview-installing.png

    New square windows…/microsoft-windows-8-consumer-preview-sans-start-button.jpg

    ALSO PLEASE UPDATE THIS BASIC THEME OF INSTALLER TO THE UPDATED VERSION SINCE BASIC THEME IS ALSO ENHANCED IN WINDOWS 8.…/3431d1330531674-virtualbox-install-windows-8-consumer-preview-vb-15.jpg

  65. BTW, I feel disappointed about  the boot screen animation. It was simple but catchy motion in Windows 7. Now it gives us the still fish image. Even with some slight animations back in Developer Preview, it doesn't not really catch my attention and interest like it does in windows 7. I hope the design team will have some fluid, creative, and surprising for us in Windows 8 RC and RTM:))

  66. F1 says:

    @A Question

    Is evident that in the version final can be removed a Hotmail account.

  67. Being unable to remove the hotmail account is unacceptable. In iOS or Android, we don't have to use or keep their mail services in order to use other mail services. Forcing people to use or sign up for Hotmail is not a wise choice. It seems like the teams don't respect users decision. Metro bothers us enough.

    At the end of days, we just want Windows 8 to be a success because we're benefited from it but there are obstacles ahead before we can reach our goal.

    Hope they will listen

  68. Mathias says:

    I also have a Dell ST2220T. It's nearly impossible to swipe from the edges. It's not fun to use with Windows 8.

  69. @Paul 2012-3-29 7:23 PM #

    Have you considered the fact that people hate W8 because it is not a good product. Notice that there is only one single item that cause this reaction. And that is MetroUI and Metro Start Screen on a non-touch desktop/laptop. 8 out of 10 people do not like it and dont want to use it.

    Also notice that while it is painfully obvious fact. (Again, read comments, reviews, blogs) this is not addressed by Microsoft, it is avoided. Questions never answered.

    Most we get some faked telemetry data that Metro is 3 milliseconds faster than Start Menu and the complete ignorance that it is breaking up workflow, breaking up the unity of the work environment, it is counter productive and counter intuitive.

    And finally one more thing Metro UI is ugly. Now you might say that it is a subjective thing and you would be right. However MOST people don't like it as a design. Most people dont like big pastel rectangles on their screen. Especially not if they are more than 5 years old.

    Everybody says that on smarthphones windows phone is superior. What do you think, what is the reason why it does not sell? I tell you. Its ugly. People dont want big colorful rectangles on their screen. Because it is ugly, out of the box, people look at it and then say "Well i dont want it.".  

  70. sigh says:


    stop being ignorant.

    first if you don't like windows 8 don't install it.

    and second, you can use LOCAL account in windows 8. if you don't know how to do that, its because you haven't even used windows 8, or you are just an ignorant who doesn't know how to do that.

    so you can choose between 1. Local account and Microsoft account. and OBVIOUSLY Microsoft account its to offer mail, people, skydrive, sync between devices, etc.

    so just click on local account and stop being ignorant.

  71. Mark says:

    I have the same issue reported by MikeInParadise. I bought the touch LCD to improve my W8 CP experience, terrible border sensitibity implementation from MS.

    I was also very disappointed when I learned that most of gestures from WOA don't work on my PC!

  72. TechDud says:

    …another post deleted before it could be posted.

  73. Graphic designer says:

    You have to impart a bit of soul to the new logo.

    And of course, return to the previous in Windows "9"

  74. Darren says:


    It is evident that hotmail account can be removed in final?

    You can´t do that in Windows phone. Only chance is to completey reset the phone and lose everything.

    If the same brilliant genius who made this decision was in charge of Windows 8 I would rather expect there is no chance to remove or change a hotmail account. Once your Windows 8 is tied to your live id, it is probabyl set FOREVER!

    Metro surely is controversial. I liked it on my Windows Phone until I had it in Windows Customer Preview all the time where it was a pure obstacle. That changed my attitude towards Metro. I thought it was great on Windows Phone but on Windows 8 its limitations became evident. So now I believe its crap and I hate it even on my Windows Phone.


    But besides that, if there is no way for users to change the colours of the tiles, there will be mass of users with red green blindness who will have serious problems.

    Oh I forgot, the user interface is touch optimized. Nothing for colour blind people. But hey they have "hot corners" now instead.

  75. TechDud says:

    @Daniel D

     'Google me with a spoon, you spoke too soon?

    @Mr. Sinofsky

     Can i anticipate a Metro port for Windows 7 to be included in Win7-SP2?  Will a native USB 3.0 stack be included as well?

    Also, i believe it would be short-sighted to not allow Xbox360 controller users to control the UI with such a gaming device.

     And, how about releasing a non-Kinect Microsoft-branded solution allowing multi-touch on non-touch screens (presumably optical).

    Can you also remind us what Metro-compatible multi-touch solution Microsoft has on the market presently.  In my mind fifty bucks seems a small price to pay to use the CP.

    To 'Metrophobes' everywhere:

     I have no doubt that Microsoft will clean up the UI before RTM.  Anything less would be financially irresponsible, especially considering hard-learned lessons of Vista.  (You know, not listening to users, etc…)

  76. Victor says:

    @Adam Koncz

    I can agree with what you're saying, but I have some thoughts about that:

    1) I have a 27'' monitor and I was like ?!?!? ?!?!??! when I installed Win 8 DP, saying to myself "They surely didn't do THIS with Windows!". You say you got dual 27'' monitors, so I can imagine it was awkward for you. But, after 5-7 days, with a little effort I got to the point where I can use Win 8 proficiently, something that most of the people that complain didn't do, they've just used it for 5 minutes, didn't find the start button, tried to use Metro apps as desktop apps , etc.

    2) Windows 8 is a huge risk for Microsoft, it could be a blunder or it could be a huge success. I'm just saying it's too early to tell. At this point, Windows 8 DP is flagrantly thought for software consumers (despite the "Developer Preview" title), not for software producers.

    Anyway, not for classical, non-touch, mouse and keyboard, business apps. I'll just wait and see if there's a chance to build real applications on this platform, not just a single-window with 5 pictures and 2 buttons that occupy all screen estate and look like a giant phone I didn't ask for,at least not in my context.

    3) My thoughts as a C# programmer , building classical (by now) client-server applications on .NET and SQL Server : as things look now, building anything serious under Metro UI is surely a joke. But, I'm waiting for a final product before making my mind up.

    How will my non-entertainment oriented, not-5-images-and-2-buttons-on-the-whole-screen app look and function on Windows 8 ? If not well, I'm sticking with what's good and that's that. I don't see why so much critique…wait, see, decide. It's not like my past, present or future depend on some Microsoft product or any product for that matter.

  77. The Martian says:

    Even before "Windows 8" was reimagined, I felt there were many things wrong with the MOUSE and KEYBOARD. And this touch input interface is helping to bring these anomalies to light.

    An Operating System is as good as the input devices/methods one uses with. Right? Therefore it goes without saying that, if "Windows 8" is reimagined "from the chip to the user experience," the Mouse and the Keyboard too have to be reimagined "from the chip to the user experience."

    I hope the Microsoft is taking note.

  78. Pronounce says:

    As a WinPho user Win8 sans Start Menu is no issue and not even desired. But I'm frustrated by the fact the mouse does not work like my finger. Maybe a mouse isn't the best input device for Win8 where a glide pad would be better choice, but the mouse needs to more nearly behave like finger(s) on the phone's screen. I would even go so far as to suggest a mouse pointer to be changed to a finger with the ability to size it to proportion.

    ps: Save Windows from extinction: Make it Open Source.

  79. TheCyberKnight says:

    OK, that's funny but now, the Dell ST2220T is working fine. Did someone remotely activated something?

    Wow! It seems the 20-pixel mitigation is fairly effective.

    That makes this Windows 7 designed touchscreen fully functional in a keyboard less environment.

    Impressive. Thanks.

  80. Bob says:

    Touch is not the future of productivity PC's. I don't want to type a paper with my thumbs.

    Everyone is saying that the UI doesn't work with a mouse and keyboard, which it doesn't. Here's a hint: Maybe you should *listen*, instead of releasing article after article about how great the touch aspects of your operating system are. You're trying to deprecate the desktop OS, which is stupid. I don't spend a grand on a computer so I can play Angry Birds with my thumbs. I spend a grand so that I can use the most intuitive technology: the mouse and the keyboard.

    Tablets are a small portion of the market share. You don't ruin a desktop experience when ALL OF YOUR USER BASE USES A KEYBOARD AND MOUSE.

    Read the comments. We want a productivity OS, not a dinky smartphone OS.

  81. The Martian says:

    Calm down productive guys. I want to assure you that Microsoft LOVES the "desktop" more than the Metro. You will see. They have turned their attention to the "desktop" interface, in other to revamp it so that it will be both very touch and mouse friendly. Also, don't forget they are building this OS to work on different display sizes — from standard-size monitors to mini-size monitors (about 5.2" diagonal). You may be surprised, by the time they are through with it, we will be seeing a brand new "desktop" interface that is very unlike Windows 7 UI. Something so sweet that, we power users will say: "Yeah! This is it!"

    Please, keep on telling them what you want, instead of dampening down their spirits. They need encouragemnt!

  82. nobody says:

    we just need Google to release a Desktop (Linux based) OS….

    Linux will kill microsoft!…

  83. Windows User says:

    Folder replace or location changing in windows 7 or windows 8 is very HARD 🙁   –   (it's Impossible )

    but Windows XP was very easy to use.…/i268417_rep.png

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