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How to make your Surface RT touchscreen respond faster

Bet you didn't know you could tweak a Surface's Registry. You can, and this hack helps reduce touchscreen lag time.

Fiddling with the Registry is old hat to anyone conversant with Windows, but Microsoft's Surface RT--well, that's a tablet with a specialized version of Windows. Surely it has no Registry to hack, right?

Wrong--and stop calling me Shirley. (Dang, that joke just doesn't work in print.)

It turns out that you can indeed access the Registry of a Surface RT tablet, and one of the first discovered tweaks can greatly reduce the lag time between touching the screen and getting a response.

Let me just pause right here and note that if you've never noticed any lag on your Surface, or it doesn't bother you, it's probably not worth monkeying with the Registry. As always, any changes you make therein can have undesirable results, so I don't recommend this to anyone who's not an intermediate or advanced user.

Needless to say, you'll also want to back up any important data you may have stored on your tablet. Just in case.

Here's how to make the adjustment:

1. Open up Search, type regedit, then tap the item when it appears.

2. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\TouchPredict ion

3. Lower the "latency" and "sample time" entries from 8 to 2.

4. Exit the Registry, then restart the tablet.

Based on anecdotal evidence from sites like Gizmodo and the XDA Developers Forum (where this tip originated), this little hack can definitely help, and it doesn't appear to impact battery life.

Because I don't have a Surface RT, though, I haven't been able to put it to the test myself. If you do, hit the comments and let your fellow readers know the outcome.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at [email protected], or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PCWorld Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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