| By Katherine Murray |
Windows 8 Developer Preview is getting a lot of attention because of its colorful Metro interface and its touch-centric approach.
But some of Windows 8’s so-called new features are already available in the OS you might be using now — though in a relatively primitive form.
Windows’ touch-screen computing roots
Metro might be all new, but touch-screen computing in a Microsoft operating system isn’t unprecedented: it’s already in Windows 7 — and Windows Vista, too. Obviously, you need a tablet PC or a multitouch monitor to take advantage of touch features in Windows 7, but they’re not so hard to find these days. This article looks at the touch capabilities in Windows 7 and 8, with an eye toward what’s new in Windows 8.
Reach out and touch the Windows 7 screen
With a multitouch system (including some smartphones and most tablets) running Win7’s Windows Touch technology, you can use a variety of gestures to carry out basic tasks — well beyond what a simple single-touch system offers. For example, you’re not limited to just tapping an item (such as a menu option or a tool) on the screen to select it. You can select and drag items, display a context menu, rotate images, and much more.
Here are some of the more common gestures available in a Windows Touch–capable system:
- Tapping and double-tapping are equivalent to clicking and double-clicking with a mouse.
- Dragging with your fingertip is the same as dragging an object with the mouse pointer.