Cannot operate application menus using pen on Windows 7 Tablet PCs RRS feed

  • Question

  • On Tablet PCs, when you tap a main menu item with the pen to bring up a popup menu, if the height of the popup menu is greater than the height of the screen, then almost always, the popup menu appears under the pen cursor, and the menu item under the cursor is immediately selected and activated (whereas, of course, two pen taps should be required, the first tap to open the popup menu, and the second to select the menu item). This makes it impossible to operate an application accurately with the pen if the application's menus have too many items.

    When you use a mouse click rather that a pen tap to select the main menu item, or when the menu's height is not too great, or when you drag the pen cursor across the main menu item instead of tapping, the menu appears entirely to the left or right of the cursor. This is the expected behaviour and allows correct operation of the menu system.

    My test hardware is a Motion C5 Tablet PC with Windows 7 Enterprise. A contact at Motion Computing tells me he has also been able to demonstrate the problem on other manufacturers' hardware.

    Any application that creates old-fashioned Win32 menus (e.g. by using the Win32 API functions CreateMenu, CreatePopupMenu and InsertMenuItem) suffers from this problem. I can provide C++ source for a simple demo program.

    I tried the following configuration changes as potential work-arounds, with no success.

    The handedness setting (left- or right-handed) in Control Panel\Tablet PC Settings does not affect this behaviour.

    Running the application in compatibility mode for previous Windows versions does not affect this behaviour.

    Turning off pen feedback with Local Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) does not affect this behaviour (Local Computer Policy\User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Tablet PC\Cursors\Turn off pen feedback).

    Turning off pen feedback by adding the value "TurnOffPenFeedback"=dword:00000001 to either of the registry keys [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\TabletPC] or [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\TabletPC] does not affect this behaviour.

    Setting the theme to Windows Classic mitigates the problem somewhat because it makes the menus more compact, but for very long menus the problem still occurs.


    Wednesday, April 7, 2010 1:08 PM

All replies

  • I know it's not a very interesting post, and I know most people won't have a tablet PC hanging around to reproduce the behaviour. What I was really hoping is that a Microsoft employee might see this post and draw it to the attention of the relevant team. It's a pretty serious bug, if you can't use an ordinary Win32 application with a pen, just because its menus are too long!


    Friday, April 9, 2010 12:38 PM
  • Why not buy an iPad and save yourself the headaches? Documents to Go on an iPad can read/write MS Word and Excel and Powerpoint.
    Saturday, July 31, 2010 6:25 PM
  • Heh, yeah thanks for that. But you fail to understand the issue. If this bug affected Word, Excel and Powerpoint, I daresay Microsoft would fix it.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:37 AM