Stardock Brings More Touch Controls to Windows 10

Posted on October 22, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 15 Comments

A new Stardock utility called TouchTasks makes Windows 10 easier to use on tablets and other multitouch PCs.

“To make the Surface Pro and devices like it a much better tablet experience, we’re releasing TouchTasks 1.0,” Stardock’s Brad Wardell told me. “This is an app that takes advantage of the fact that the touch surface of a tablet extends slightly beyond the display area so you can define spots just off the screen that you can tap to have them do things.”

TouchTasks defines five areas—three on the top of the display and one each on the left and right—that you can tap to perform an action. There are some useful actions built-in, like a customizable application launcher (on the left by default) and a task switcher (on the right).

But you can also access a brightness control panel, the on-screen keyboard, recent documents, the Start menu, a quick nav panel, or Show desktop. Or you can launch any application or press a hotkey. It’s your choice.

TouchTasks works in both portrait and landscape modes, and it will rotate its touch points as you rotate the display. It doesn’t interfere with Windows 10’s built-in edge swipes, either, based on my initial testing.

TouchTasks normally costs $9.99 but it’s available for just $4.99 right now and you can grab a 30-day trial to see if it’s what you want.

You can learn more about TouchTasks from the Stardock website.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Stardock Brings More Touch Controls to Windows 10”

  1. Sykeward

    Part of me wishes that Microsoft would acquire Stardock and put them in charge of the Windows UX. We might actually get some thoughtfulness and consistency applied to it if that were the case.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to Sykeward:

      If they did, there would be a four-year “transition” where all of Stardock’s innovations disappear and one or two of them get partially redone. Eventually everyone from Stardock moves on from Microsoft and we’re left with more half-finished cruft.

      A blog post triumphantly announces “the full integration of Stardock technologies to Windows 10 version 2410”.

  2. earlster

    It's kind of ironic that Stardock, who usually is lauded for their legacy start menu, can implement this and gets kudos, while MS got ripped to pieces with their swipe actions and hot corners.

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to earlster:

      I was gonna say that it sounds very familiar. Almost like a previous version of Windows.

      In all seriousness, 8.1 was a perfectly fine release. If you want a truly consistent desktop experience, 8.1 with Start8 is the way to go.

    • justme

      In reply to earlster:

      I dont know. 8.1 got ripped on because Microsoft tried to *force* the touch experience to the point where the OS never really communicated what it was about. Unless you take the time to get to know it, 8.1 feels disjointed IMO until you add a start menu such as Start8. What got lost in translation is that Microsoft did do some good work with touch. Of course, in true Microsoft fashion, that work got lost in Windows 10 as evidenced by their implementation of tablet mode. This is just Stardock trying to bring back some of the things that worked in 8.1 without forcing them on you.

      jimchamplin is right - 8.1 is a fine release with the addition of Start8.

  3. SvenJ

    I find Windows 10 to be fairly easy to use as a tablet...if I put it in Tablet Mode.

  4. truerock2

    So, I haven't tried TouchTasks - but, I can tell by looking at its website that it is probably something I would like.

    Screen swipes just do not work for me as a GUI input. I have always imagined something like TouchTasks would work better.

    I'm trying swipes on my iPhone... trying to figure out why I don't like them. I think it is not so much iOS as apps that don't do swipes well

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to truerock2:

      Try TouchTasks; you might come away with a better appreciation for swiping, lol. Maybe it just takes a while to master, but I find the touch targets hard to hit correctly whereas swiping nearly always triggers.

  5. jacky55

    hey thAT IS GOOD

  6. wocowboy

    I did not know that Stardock was still around. Probably because I now use a Mac, but I remember using Stardock and its raft of various applications to apply themes, icon packs, and all sorts of wonderful things to Windows years ago. It was fun changing the way the interface worked and looked. There was an application called Konfabulator that worked on Apple computers with OS 7 that did a lot of the same things. All that went away with the launch of OS X as did the theming on Windows as new versions came out. Ah, the good old days.

  7. Chris_Kez

    I played around with this for a bit yesterday and found it mildly frustrating. Hitting the touch targets can be fiddly. It was sometimes slow to load the nav panel, with the pane appearing after a moment then the app icons appearing a few moments after that. The top left target between the power and volume buttons was consistently activated while mousing over browser tabs in a similar location. I'll try it some more but it doesn't initially feel as fast and fluid as the Windows 8 gestures did. Maybe it would be better if we could just customize the existing Windows 10 swipe gestures.

  8. puudevascpor1973

    Sounds good... Rightaway price $4.99 is more than super. As for me - I like that TouchTasks defines three areas on the top of the display and one each on the left and right— so I really can tap to perform an action. And the customizable application launcher with the task switcher is very useful and suitable. And I hope that Stardock’s Brad Wardell will create a good text release or guide where we will extended review of all these features.

  9. namit04

    arguments to be made that the NT kernel has advantages over Unix/Linux kernels, though I'd argue there are some advantages to highly modular kernels in many situations. OTOH, Windows file system support is a bit lacking, and it's a marked deficiency that there's no way to mount entire partitions (volumes) read-only or noexec in their entirety.

    OTOH, seems pretty clear by now that MSFT and Windows have lost whatever battle there was for the command line. Given the number of tabbed terminals for Linux, it's depressing how long it's taking MSFT to bring its terminal app close to Linux functionality. I suppose MSFT needs to develop their terminal by reinventing all sorts of wheels in order to avoid using anything from existing Linux terminals in order to keep MSFT's terminal proprietary since there's just so much value in a closed source terminal program.