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Saturday
Mar032012

First Look: Windows 8 and Wacom Tablets. It got worse.  

PLEASE READ: The Windows and Wacom Tablet Nightmare is Over

UPDATE on 2012–06–09: This article covers the older Windows 8 Consumer Preview, a new post covers the changes for the Windows 8 Release Preview.

A brief history: Basically the Wacom tablets worked perfectly on Windows XP. Perfect = Just Worked., my friends. Windows Vista started getting too clever. Vista turned on unwanted and unneeded Tablet PC features in response to seeing the Wacom tablet installed. This was irritating but at least one could turn off all the Tablet PC features via the Control Panel. Windows 7 (for reasons unknown) removed one of those control panel settings –  the one that disables the pen click animation. As a result, wacom users had to set registry keys or use special tools to get things back to the desired experience. The situation is at least tolerable for most. 

After installing Windows 8 Consumer preview here's what you Wacom uses need to know:

  • Nothing improved
  • In fact it's even slightly worse. Now when install the tablet driver, the mouse changes to a very tiny white dot. (See below)

The default cursor when using a Wacom Tablet in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. As I said: “tiny white dot”

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For comparison, below is the default cursor when using a Wacom Tablet in Windows 7

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So yes. This new behavior sucks. And no, I don't know how to get the pointer to look like it should –  like it did before. I can't figure out where this is even controlled in Windows 8.

I await a return to the halcyon days of Windows XP. In the meanwhile I'll try to send the issue to the Windows team. Maybe they can offer some suggestions.

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Reader Comments (7)

I hope this is going to be fixed. This is indeed extreemly irritating. Also you don't have the same functionality. The dot doesn't allow you to pull up the right side bar with "search, share, start, devices, settings". So I'm forced to switch to my mouse to activate that. :(

March 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim Goossens

I wouldn't panick too much--Windows 8 is still in beta, after all. Given how incredibly well so many things in Windows 8 work, and how touch focused it is, it's safe to say there will be some major driver updates by the time the final version launches :)

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason Ward

Every year new options and specifications are available in Microsoft operating system. Some might be compatible with wacom.

March 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTablet PC

Wonder if Win 8 will work on Toshiba Portege Win Vista x32.

April 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarshen

I have a Wacom tablet and the cursor is not a dot. I didn't installed any driver, W8 (developer preview) detected it right away.

I remember having installed the drivers in the consumer preview and I saw that dot. I believe that it's because the cursor is detected as a finger, there may be a way in "Programs and Features" / "Turn Windows features on or off" to disable that?

June 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPetes

@Petes - it looks like the "dot" has been fixed in the Windows 8 Release Preview. There are still a few problems left however, and I'll be describing them in a new post this week.

June 5, 2012 | Registered Commentersaveenr

The dot cursor is - and always was - the default cursor for pen-enabled tablet PCs. I believe it's been that way since Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Since users use the pen directly on the screen, there is no need to see a cursor, which potentially hides more things than it should. It is not a finger cursor as Mr. Petes thinks.

The dot cursor when using a tablet pen (such as for Intuos/Bamboo) is probably due to the OS thinking you're on a tablet PC and switches to that mode. You can disable that mode by going to Programs and Features > Turn Windows Features On or Off and uncheking Tablet PC Components.

June 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFlameStream

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