Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 released for download

Microsoft announced the Windows 7 Touch Pack back in May 2009 but originally it was meant for OEMs only. Today the company released the Touch Pack download for the masses.

Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc confirmed the release in a company blog posting. LeBlanc said that Microsoft took the decision to distribute the pack more widely due to "feedback and requests from both partners and customers."

Download: Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7

Obviously, in order to use these applications, you will need a Windows 7 PC that supports touch. The Touch Pack brings a range of touch-friendly applications, of which we will detail below:

Microsoft Surface Globe:

The first of these applications is called Microsoft Surface Globe. This, as you can imagine, is a multi-touch capable globe (think Google Earth) that uses the Virtual Earth 3D engine to display a rotatable 3D version of the world. You can visit various locations and regions, get information about some areas, and bookmark your favorites. To add to this, some cities are even constructed in 3D, providing a very realistic and detailed experience. If you want to watch a quick video of this in action, please head to this link. Also, there's a screenshot of this below.

Microsoft Surface Collage:

Next up, we have the Microsoft Surface Collage. This tool allows you to choose a gallery of photos, and then move them around and scale them however you please. If you've watched a video of Microsoft Surface before, you'll have an idea of how this works. Once you've got an arrangement that you like, you can choose to save it as an image then use it as a desktop wallpaper. Again, a screenshot is included.

Microsoft Surface Lagoon:

Microsoft Surface Lagoon is a very interesting looking application. It is, essentially, a screensaver for your computer that you can interact with using your hands via multi-touch technology. It depicts an underwater scene with sand, water (of course), and fish. By interacting with it, you can have fish gather around you and also run your fingers through the virtual water.

Microsoft Blackboard:

Microsoft Blackboard is another rather intriguing piece of software. It is a puzzle game, that uses simulated physics combined with multi-touch to get the user to solve it. You use gestures to create seesaws, fans and gears that can all be resized and moved around. Everything is pieced together on a virtual blackboard (hence the name), and the goal is to get balloons and balls to a lightbulb.

Microsoft Rebound:

Microsoft Rebound is a game that is played against friends or AI, which appears to be somewhat similar to Air Hockey. The aim is to "use your fingers to propel a ball and annihilate your opponent" whilst playing in an electrified court.

Microsoft Garden Pond:

Microsoft Garden Pond is another game, though this one has a more relaxing tone to it. The idea is to guide some origami creations to peaceful areas of a pond, or direct them around using your hands to complete set goals. To move the origami, you interact with the water, making ripples.

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25 Comments

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i've been pondering this for years....

when i plug in 2 mice (or mouses), why aren't there 2 mouse cursors?

mocax said,
i've been pondering this for years....

when i plug in 2 mice (or mouses), why aren't there 2 mouse cursors?

There was actually a Microsoft Research project that did that, I forget the name of it though.

mocax said,
i've been pondering this for years....

when i plug in 2 mice (or mouses), why aren't there 2 mouse cursors?

The general input model supports multiple mice, but doesn't support multiple point locations. There are games and applications that can take advantage of multiple mice though, as even in the basic driver APIs, the information is preserved to the applications.

To get two mouse pointers, you would need a set of mouse drivers that support the touch API input model instead of the basic mouse input model. (Just like a Tablet Pen uses the Pen input API models.)

There is a Microsoft project that is based on learning applications for students that allow multiple pointers for sharing a desktop, but this not what you are looking for, as they are also application specific.

However, there are some cool games out there that support multiple mice and are great for multiple people to collaborate or fight it out on the same screen with different mice.

anyone know if there's a way to bypass the need for a multi-touch screen? I'm getting an error stating that I don't have multi-touch input, but I have a multi-touch tablet connected to my desktop, which works perfectly for all of the Windows 7 two-finger functions and wouldn't mind playing around with some of these.

Deviate said,
anyone know if there's a way to bypass the need for a multi-touch screen? I'm getting an error stating that I don't have multi-touch input, but I have a multi-touch tablet connected to my desktop, which works perfectly for all of the Windows 7 two-finger functions and wouldn't mind playing around with some of these.

You need a touch screen... a tablet you need a pen, it's different.

Deviate said,
anyone know if there's a way to bypass the need for a multi-touch screen? I'm getting an error stating that I don't have multi-touch input, but I have a multi-touch tablet connected to my desktop, which works perfectly for all of the Windows 7 two-finger functions and wouldn't mind playing around with some of these.

The driver provided by your hardware vendor is using older non-touch APIs. It is possible that a multi-touch pad can send true touch API calls to the OS, but finding a hardware vendor that 'gets this' or is willing to modify their driver is another thing.

Tom W said,
I've used this pack before but touch screens in a desktop sense are just not worth it, you hardly use them.

i am greedy

they will make more sense in laptop tho , the way i see it using touch is easier then using
integrated mouse

Tom W said,
I've used this pack before but touch screens in a desktop sense are just not worth it, you hardly use them.

i am greedy

they will make more sense in laptop tho , the way i see it using touch is easier then using
integrated mouse

Tom W said,
I've used this pack before but touch screens in a desktop sense are just not worth it, you hardly use them.

Yeah pretty much, there are limited areas where they can be handy and actually get used repeatedly but more often than not they just become a regular monitor.

Tom W said,
I've used this pack before but touch screens in a desktop sense are just not worth it, you hardly use them.

But...think about the tablets! People have been complaining that they didn't want a giant iPod touch, they want a full blown OS like Windows 7! This could be the answer!

Tom W said,
I've used this pack before but touch screens in a desktop sense are just not worth it, you hardly use them.

I can see what you're saying but in some circumstances it could (and is) well worth it, for example some children with learning challenges.

tonyunreal said,

But...think about the tablets! People have been complaining that they didn't want a giant iPod touch, they want a full blown OS like Windows 7! This could be the answer!

Ermmm, Asus has had this kinda stuff for over a year in their mulittouch touch screen + keyboard netbook range. Apple is only starting to catch up and it helps when they can generate hype.