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First Look: Touch-screen features in Windows 7

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First Look: Touch-screen features in Windows 7

2:34 /

As we wait for the Windows 7 code to get locked down, take a tour of what Microsoft's highly anticipated operating system will offer for touch-screen users. Don't have one? Don't worry, they're coming--even to affordable Netbooks.

[ MUSIC ] ^M00:00:03 >> [Seth Rosenblatt:] One of Windows 7's big selling points is that it should work on many older PCs. The hardware that was required for Windows Vista will, in most cases, support Windows 7, too. However, one cool feature that helps position Windows 7 for the future is the dramatically expanded native support for touch screens. Hi, I'm Seth Rosenblatt for CNET, and today we'll be taking a quick tour of Windows 7's touch screen abilities. Windows 7 supports touch screens from its core, which means that even programs that were never designed to work with touch features will be compatible, assuming you've got the hardware. iPhone users and other fans of flicking for screen movement will get a kick out of getting the same feature on their desktop. In IE8 for example, you can flick to advance the page and go back. The large start menu button and the large icons on the task bar make navigating with touch extremely easy. To access jump lists, you can touch an icon and drag down, or on IE8 it will show you recently visited sites. Resizing windows using arrow snap doesn't require going to the extreme edge of the monitor. On the desktop and in programs, you can use tap and drag, right-click back, forward, zoom and rotate. Multi-touch gets some love, assuming your hardware supports it. Pinch your fingers together to zoom out, or expand them to zoom in. Rotating involves pressing on an object like this photo with one finger, then moving the second finger in the direction you want to rotate it. The right-click contacts menu can be brought up by holding one finger on the monitor, then tapping it with another. You can also bring it up by holding a finger down, waiting for the circle to appear, and dragging down. There's also a native touch keyboard in Windows 7. By tapping on the URL bar, you can see a little keyboard icon; tap that, and a keyboard appears at the bottom of the screen. If you don't like typing, you can always just write what you want. Improved back-end support includes high DPI support, which basically means that for the end-user, touching small objects on screen should be more accurate. Although for many users touch screens are a luxury and not a necessity, we're already starting to see affordable netbooks with the technology, making the touch support one of the strongest selling points for Microsoft's new OS. With a first look at Windows 7 touch screen gestures, I'm Seth Rosenblatt for CNET. ^M00:02:30 [ MUSIC ]

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