Sunday, May 22, 2011

Windows 7 Touch Optimizations




This guide is intended to show you an alternate touch configuration for your Windows 7 tablet.  All of this was done using an ASUS Eee Slate EP121-1A011M 12.1-Inch Tablet PC, but can be put onto any computer running Windows 7.  If you are using a tablet with a resolution other than 1280x800 you may need to re-size some of the widgets/docks, but that is easy to do.  Everything here is free except for ObjectDock, which is $19.99.  If you use the free version of ObjectDock you will be able to do everything other than the dock you see at the bottom center of the screen.

If you want to see high resolution images of these optimization please see the SCREENSHOTS page.

There are 4 different areas where we will look at optimizing Widows 7 for touch: Windows Settings, Docks, Widgets and Applications

Windows Settings1) Change Control Panel view.  In the Control Panel select "Large Icons" in the "View by:" field.
2) Make applications open Maximized.  If you have any apps that always open windowed when you would like them to open maximized, just right click on the shortcut for the app, go to "Properties" and choose "Maximized" from the "Run:" menu on the "Shortcut" tab.
3) Make folders show List View.  I have found it much easier to deal with folders when they are showing the List View instead of Icons or Tiles.  Screen real estate on a tablet is scarce, so this means you don't always have to scroll to find what you are looking for.  And it is still easy to click on files/folders when they are in the List View.  To set all of your folder of a certain type to List View open your C: in an Explorer window and choose "List" from the view drop down.  Now go to the "Organize" drop down and go to "Folder and Search Options".  Now go to the "View" tab and push the "Apply to Folders" button.  This will make all similar folders display List View.  This will not affect different folder types such as Pictures, Music, etc.
4) Auto-hide the Taskbar.  You can see in my demo that I have the taskbar auto-hidden and on the right side.  The reason for this is screen real estate.  The small screens on tablets mean every inch counts and since I have docks now, I don't really need the taskbar all that much.


Docks
1) Download custom theme HERE and unzip it.  These files will customize ObjectDock with the theme/setting that I am using.  It also contains the buttons on the lower right part of the screen.
2) Download ObjectDock HERE.  You will need the paid version to do everything I have done, but it is well worth it.  If you use the free version you will only be able to have the button dock that I have on the lower right.
3) Download Fences HERE.  This program is free and is used to keep files from showing up on the desktop and ruining the clean look we have.
4) Install ObjectDock.
5) Install the custom ObjectDock settings.  To do this find ObjectDock in the system tray, right click on it and choose "Unload Object Dock".  This will close the program.  Now open the "ObjectDock Settings" folder you downloaded and follow the instructions in the README file to learn where to put the settings files.  Once that is done right click on the "Desktop" tab of the dock and choose "Change Folder".  Navigate to your desktop, choose any file and click "Open".  Now you will see everything on your desktop is now available in the Desktop tab of the dock.
6) Install Fences.  After it is installed, when you are configuring it, go to the "Tools" settings and check the box for "Hide/Show desktop icons when desktop is double clicked".  Now double click on the desktop and see the icons disappear.

Widgets
1) Download the custom theme HERE and unzip it.
2) Download Rainmeter HERE.
3) Install Rainmeter.
4) Double click on the TouchOptimized theme to install it.
5) Find Rainmeter in the system tray, right click on it, go to "Themes" and choose either "TouchOptimized(Left)" if you want the widgets on the left like I do or choose "TouchOptimized(Right)" to have them on the right.

Applications
1) Microsoft Touch Pack
2) Mosaic
3) USA Today
4) Intel AppUp Center (App store for Windows 7 with Angry Birds, Flight Control, etc.)
5) Zune
6) Amazon Kindle
7) Nook
8) Internet Explorer 9 - Surf the web with no restrictions
9) Windows Product Scout - Great place to download touch-based Apps





68 comments:

  1. Great job Justen you are the man Ihave another good tip thats helped me out on my windows 7 tap by adjusting the caption buttons and the scrol bar a little bigger. By adjusting caption buttons it makes the maxamize minamize and the x button bigger for the finger same go's for the scrol bar to do so just type in the run command "adjusting colors and metrics" and chage to 28 for the caption buttons and 29 for the scrol bar.Enjoy hope you like?

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  2. Zune? :( It certainly is beautiful, and I wish it touch-friendly on Windows 7, but the lists in Zune don't respond to vertical swipe gestures as do most other lists in Windows (you have to touch the scrollbars, which are very narrow in Zune, instead) and most of the buttons are impossibly small. A tip: www.zune.net works as well or better if all you're doing is Zune Pass or Zune Pass-based Smart DJ. It at least doesn't have the scrolling issue, and pinch-zoom in IE is handy ("in a pinch").

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  3. Another app I find works well on Windows 7 tablets: Hulu Desktop. Bing's visual search for apps doesn't seem to know of it, but it's easier than using hulu.com.

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  4. Love it. I have a Multitouch netbook, but have never really got much use out of it. It has always been more of a toy, and trying to get Android to work on it. (Works, but some apps require ARM processors…) I have a hardware button that pops up a menu that alleviates the need for some of what you've done, but, definitely going to implement quite a bit of it. Thank you!

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  5. @Wade - I completely agree with you about Zune. I'm sure the touch functionality is going to be much better with the version that will ship with Windows 8. The only reason I showed it in this demo is because I prefer it over iTunes. Hulu desktop works great on Windows 7 tablets. In fact there are a bunch of apps that work very well...much more than most people give Win 7 credit for.

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  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  7. how did you manage to make that bar on the right? I've done everything but cant figure it out

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  8. I can get those buttons, but can't get it to survive a restart, I have to repeat the entire process in order to get the close minimize etc buttons again

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  9. @Anonymous - After you restart does it revert back to what it looks like with a clean install of Object Dock?

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  10. Nope, your background theme remains, all my custom icons that I put in the tabbed dock also remain, it's just the close minimize etc. bar on the right hand side that disappears.

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  11. @Anonymous - It sounds to me like Object Dock is having trouble finding the files. Navigate to the "Touch Buttons" folder inside the Object Dock folder in your Program Files. Now drag each button to the button dock. They should now be back on the dock and Object Dock shouldn't lose track of them now. Let me know if this works.

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  12. Thanks for putting out this great mod Justin!

    Just wondering if the button dock is easy to customise to be always on top, and for shortcut keys for programs like Photoshop or Maya?

    Hate how the ep121 doesn't have any hardware keys!

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  13. hey justin, can i use this on my iconia tab w500?? i'm worry if it lags and slow down my tablet due to low power processor.....

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  14. @Richie - The button dock should always be on top, with the exception of a few programs that run in fullscreen mode. If you look at my video you can see that it stays on top, except with the MS Touch Pack apps and Angry Birds. I don't know of any way for it to stay on top of fullscreen apps.

    As far as shortcut keys, that would be very easy to do if you know how to create scripts. You would just create a script that mimics a button press for whatever shortcut you need and then add a shortcut to that script to the dock.

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  15. @Brian Ginsos - I don't see any reason why this would not work on the W500. None of the programs used are very resource intensive.

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    Replies
    1. I am actually using the windows 7 touch customizable in my W500 and I can tell you that is prefect. There isn't slow actions. The only thing that I don't want to install is objectdock.

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  16. @Justin - great!! i'm gonna use it on my tablet soon :)

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  17. Where did you get the objectdock icons (for the button dock on the right)? I would like to see if I could add a few more for more useful features. Oh, and thanks for posting something so helpful for others to use. Its really great.

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  18. wow this is great im also using it on my epe121. i was just wondering how hard is it to make the buttons on the right. i think it would be great if there was a button that send a ctrl+w this would allow the user to close tabs and not the whole program.

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  19. @John - I don't remember where I got the icons (I did all this about 6 months ago), but I will look around and see if I can find them.

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  20. @Anonymous - It is actually very easy to make new buttons that mimic keyboard shortcuts. Give me a couple days and I will post a button for CTRL + W. If anyone else has buttons requests please let me know.

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  21. Speaking of browsers, there's a version of Opera Browser specially targeted at tablets.

    It's called Opera Mobile 11 and you can try it from

    http://www.opera.com/mobile/download/versions/

    hope it helps! :)

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  22. Hey Justin, I am really loving this - thanks.
    One thought, I don't know about other folks, but my OSK (on screen keyboard) doesn't always come out when I click on a text box. How hard would it be to make a button to pull out and put away the OSK?

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  23. @John - If you go into Tools and then Options for the OSK and check the "Use the Input Panel Tab" and "Show Input Panel sliding open from the tab" boxes then you can dock the OSK on the right or left side of the screen. This way it is easy to get to when you need it and stays out of the way when you don't. That would be easier than creating a button for it.

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  24. I love 1t and now download. I've got a question. Where did you get those icons right bellow? canse I need "select all,exe" but couldn't find one.

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  25. 0h I just read all the comments. I see. I'll try to modify those script.In case could you make buttons for "sellect all" &"Ctrl + W"

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  26. Justin, I apologize if you've covered this, but how did you get that larger keyboard with predictions on top?

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  27. @Charles - You can resize the keyboard the same way you resize a window. As far as the text predictions, the Asus came like that.

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  28. Very interesting mods. I've installed the various pieces and am trying to figure out ObjectDock as far as adding other programs to it. I'm sure that won't be a huge thing..but the news reader has me stumped. How would I go about changing those feeds to other sources? Or, for that matter, what other news feeds like that are out there? Thanks for any light you can shed.

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  29. @Frank - Rainmeter is very nice looking, but not very user friendly. If you right click on the feed reader and then go to "Edit Skin" that will open the config file. From there you can see how I have set up the feeds I use and modify it for your own feeds. You can use any RSS feed you want.

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  30. Hello Justin, I downloaded/installed everything on my new Fujitsu Q550 and it all looks good but I just can't get the Touch Buttons on the right to work. All of them gives "the Shortcut location is not valid" error message....I have tried removing/re-adding them a few times but same result. Any clues/ideas ?

    Also, is there any way possible you can post a similar shortcut for the "Right-Click" Mouse Key (Shift+F10). that will be a HUGE help....not sure of the EP121 but it's not the easiest way to do that on the Q550.

    Thanks again for sharing this customization.

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  31. Ok, I see what was wrong now...the Shortcuts pointed to the C:\Program Files (X86) folder/location but I had just the "Program Files" folder and Not the one with the "X86" after it. All is working now.

    If you can assist or point me to how I can get a shortcut for the "Right-Click" mouse key (if at all possible), I'll be all set. Thanks again.

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  32. @Anonymous - It is not possible to make a right click button because as soon as you push the button it would change focus from where ever you were before to the button. A right click button is not needed...all you have to do is click and hold to simulate the right mouse button click.

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  33. Yes, agreed and thanks for the quick tip/help on that. Thanks again...everything seems to be working as desired.

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  34. very good tutorial, but I want to make some changes in rainmeter,but Im having troubles. this is how it looks on my tablet: http://img860.imageshack.us/img860/393/20110622021113467.png

    now what I want to do is remove the stock market thing, push down the feed reader, change the time to 24h clock and change the name of the month and week day to portuguese, also change the names from the folders to portuguese aswell,

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  35. @Bob - If you want to remove one of the rainmeter skins, just right click on it and choose "Close skin". To move a skin simply right click on it, go to "Settings" and select "Draggable". You should now be able to move it anywhere on the screen. If you want to make changes to the skin such as language and 24 hour you will need to go into the config for the skin by right clicking on it and going to "Edit skin". You will have to mess around with the configuration to see if you can make those changes.

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  36. i really like the cut/copy/paste shortcuts, long press takes forever.

    i have an issue though; they only work when current program is maximized or under the button. if your window is not maximized and on the left, when you click cut/copy/paste the window loses focus and it does't work.

    any fix for this?

    (using a fujitsu stylistic q550 if that matters)

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  37. @Craig - I will see if I can figure out what is causing your issue. I haven't noticed this on my slate so it may be hard to diagnose the problem.

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  38. Please can you post the script for the minimize button. (My button scripts don't get the correct active window when I press them - I think its the window with the button in).

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  39. @Anonymous - Here is my AutoIT script for the minimize button:

    $a = WinList()
    $z = 0

    For $i = 1 to $a[0][0]
    If WinGetState($a[$i][1]) = 39 Then
    $z = 1
    ExitLoop
    Endif
    Next

    If $z <> 1 Then
    For $i = 1 to $a[0][0]
    If WinGetState($a[$i][1]) = 7 AND $a[$i][0] <> "Start" AND $a[$i][0] <> "" Then ExitLoop
    Next
    Endif

    WinSetState($a[$i][0], "", @SW_MINIMIZE)

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  40. I'm trying to set this up and having issues. ObjectDock wont recognize any of the settings I copy in from your zip file. I had to change the paths from "Program Files (x86)" to "Program Files". None of them will show up, I've restarted object dock many times too.

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  41. Nevermind I found it. For some reason in my version of ObjectDock (maybe its older), I had to put delete the INI files out of the C:\Program Files\StarDock\ObjectDock location before it would pick up the INI files in C:\Users\***\AppData\Local\StarDock\ObjectDockPlus\

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  42. Thanks for your work, but there are some problems.
    I'm using acer iconia tab w500 (Win 7 Home premium, 32bit). I installed ObjectDocFree. But home.exe, copy.exe, paste.exe, cut.exe don't work. :(
    Even if programm's window is maximized they are doing this: home.exe - nothing, cut.exe - insert 'x' in the text field (like it missing to push Ctrl), copy.exe insert 'c' (same), paste.exe insert 'v'.

    Maximize.exe, Minimize.exe & Close.exe works fine! :)
    Waiting for your answer...

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  43. @Anonymous - It sounds like an issue with your tablet...with the control key not working. Other people have it working fine on their W500. You might want to try using a USB or Bluetooth keyboard and see if you can get the control button to work. I have also heard that pressing "alt+ctrl+fn" sometimes resolves control key issues.

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  44. It sounds bad, cause my keyboards Ctrl is working fine. :( And if i have a keyboard, i don't need ObjectDoc, right? :)
    alt+ctrl+fn didn't help.
    Copy.exe, Cut.exe, Paste.exe 285 KB (explorer shows), home.exe 367 KB, right?
    Thanks for your answer.

    The truth is out there...

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  45. Hi, Justin!
    Thanks for your idea! My english is very poor, sorry. But i need your help :). In AutoIt i try to make some hotkeys, for example "ctrl+s"

    Send ("^s")

    But i need it to work in any active window, like your buttons (global), not only in "Untitled - Notepad ;)". Which command i need to write for that? Can u paste here your script for "ctrl+x" for example?

    Thank you.
    Mike.

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  46. @Anonymous - The Max, Min, and Close buttons don't use keyboard shortcut scripts. Here is my AutoIT script for the minimize button as an example of how I am doing them:

    $a = WinList()
    $z = 0

    For $i = 1 to $a[0][0]
    If WinGetState($a[$i][1]) = 39 Then
    $z = 1
    ExitLoop
    Endif
    Next

    If $z <> 1 Then
    For $i = 1 to $a[0][0]
    If WinGetState($a[$i][1]) = 7 AND $a[$i][0] <> "Start" AND $a[$i][0] <> "" Then ExitLoop
    Next
    Endif

    WinSetState($a[$i][0], "", @SW_MINIMIZE)

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  47. hey justin.love what you did but i have problem. im using an hp slate 500. the story under headlines is to big and it overlaps with the links to documents, pictures and music. i tried making the font smaller but that didnt help.

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  48. @Anonymous - You can always reduce the number of news items displayed. For example, if you want to show 3 less lines then delete this from the config:

    [Item10]
    Meter=STRING
    MeterStyle=StyleItem
    MeasureName=MeasureItem10
    LeftMouseUpAction=!Execute [[MeasureLink10]]



    [Item11]
    Meter=STRING
    MeterStyle=StyleItem
    MeasureName=MeasureItem11
    LeftMouseUpAction=!Execute [[MeasureLink11]]


    [Item12]
    Meter=STRING
    MeterStyle=StyleItem
    MeasureName=MeasureItem12
    LeftMouseUpAction=!Execute [[MeasureLink12]]

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  49. Hello, Justin! I just donate to you some money. Thanks for your work, again :). Please help me with the recepie of shortcuts creation. Mike.

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  50. @Mike - Thank you very much for the donation. It is greatly appreciated. To create shortcuts all you need to do is install a free program called AutoIT. Creating keyboard shortcut buttons is super easy and only takes one line of code. For example if you want to do CTRL+V the code would be:

    Send ("^v")

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  51. Yeah i'm figured with basic syntax in AutoIt :), but my shortcuts are doesn't works from the dock. I think because when i use the dock active window is loosing it "focus", and my commands are not effective :(. Your awesome buttons are working from anywhere. I'm using it in objectDock of course, and Circle Dock - its very handy when i'm work with stylus on my ep121 :).

    Dont you use some commands like "WinActivate", or "_WinPrevious" function (or something else, it's hard to me :) ) when you writing scripts?

    My apologise, for my english, again :).

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  52. @Mike - Sorry about that, it has been almost a year since I made these buttons and I forgot exactly how I did them. You are correct...they are more complicated than a single line of code. Here is my code for the CTRL+V button. Hope this helps :)

    $a = WinList()
    $z = 0

    For $i = 1 to $a[0][0]
    If WinGetState($a[$i][1]) = 39 Then
    $z = 1
    ExitLoop
    Endif
    Next

    If $z <> 1 Then
    For $i = 1 to $a[0][0]
    If WinGetState($a[$i][1]) = 7 AND $a[$i][0] <> "Start" AND $a[$i][0] <> "" Then ExitLoop
    Next
    Endif

    WinActivate($a[$i][0], "")
    Send("^v")

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  53. It's alive :)! Thank you very much! I'm happy :)

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  54. Hi! Careful: got troyans in the rainmeter.
    BTW, I have the same problem: v instead paste, c instead cut etc on my iconia tab w500. thx

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  55. @Smilik - There are definitely no trojans. It's just your oversensitive antivirus program :)

    I'm not sure what the deal is with the W500. Some people are having the same issue as you with copy, paste, etc. not working. Unfortunately I don't have a W500 so I can't really troubleshoot the problem.

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  56. hi Justin!
    do you know of any radial menu / pie menu replacing the list context menu in win 7?

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  57. I'm having an issue with a number of the shortcut buttons for copy/close/minimise etc only working if the window I want them to work on is underneath the toolbar. It looks to me like tapping on the button steals focus away from the window I'm trying to influence.

    an example would be the close button trying to shut down windows if there is no window beneath it.

    Any suggestions on how to get them to work all the time without stealing focus?

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  58. @Justin
    Thank you anyway! Is there anything I can do to help you to figure out what's wrong with W500? Maybe you can send me some script and I can send you back the logfile?

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  59. Is there any way to put this onto a home-made tablet like the one you showed us?

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  60. @ Dani - You should be able to put this on ANY Windows 7 tablet.

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  61. Hey Justin - Can you tell me how did you get AP News Icon. Is it a App or Web shortcut.

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  62. Justin, have you already tried FrontFace? This application does not require marking any manual adjustments to the underlying Windows system but it makes the hole thing much more touch-friendly. It also supports shortcuts, widgets, app switching and much more: http://www.mirabyte.com/en/products/frontface-for-netbooks-and-tablets/

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  63. ctrlw.exe for closing tabs. Just copy it into the touch buttons folder and add a buton using object dock's settings interface (right click any of the buttons and click settings).

    http://www.mediafire.com/?1yjt674nv22hzu6

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  64. I can vouch for frontface, very good application. You should check it out.

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  65. This video helped a lot, thanxs for your works..
    thanxs very much..

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  66. You can activate the onscreen keyboard when you want to type something. You can find it in the `Start’ menu under `Accessories',it is in the ‘Ease of access’ section under accessories in the start menu.


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