Windows Vista Tablet PC tip: Set menus to open on the left or right

This tip applies only to Tablet-PC enabled Windows Vista versions (not Home Basic). If you don’t use a Tablet PC, then this tip probably won’t be as useful.

It is probably fair to say most of the world’s population are right-handed, and even more so, left-handed people will use their right-hand on computers. Having said that, if you own a Tablet PC, then you would know how frustrating it is to click open a menu for it to appear right under your hand. This is because, by default, Windows assumes you are left-handed and opens menus on the right.

To change this setting, open the Control Panel, click on the “Mobile PC” category, then click “Tablet PC Settings”.

Tablet PC Setting

In the dialog, set the Handedness to either right-handed for menus to appear on the left, or left-handed for menus to appear on the right.

Tablet PC settings

Save settings and close all appropriate dialogs. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

14 insightful thoughts

  1. Hi Long!

    Thanks for the tip. Just a tiny small thing, you wrote “This tip applies only to Tablet-PC enabled Windows Vista versions (Business & Ultimate).”
    –> only the Vista Basic Home has no TabletPC input, Home Premium has! So actually your tip applies to (almost) all Vista Versions.


  2. Hey Long,

    Thanks for the tip. But I found out that, one of the app I spend a lot of time in, FireFox, doesn’t respect this setting. Maybe they handle their own menu drawing routine.

  3. Hi ,

    I have the home premium version of windows vista with tablet pc but I don’t know what I need to set this up or what stylus to get to use it with. I called HP and they could not help me. One guy even told me that I could not use it on my machine whereas I specifically bought the machine because it had the tablet pc function.


  4. ARRRGH!
    I’m angry and relieved at the same time.
    I have normal PC and at one moment all menus started to open to the left. I was very uncomfortable with that (for example IE7 menus didn’t even open below the menu item). I tried everything but nothing helped.

    Fortunately I fiund your page and fixed it. Maybe Vista should change menus layout only if it detects Tablet PC?

  5. guys i just wanted to know if i can use my normal windows Vista ultimate version on my tablet pc if i do wish to format ? or do i need a specific windows vista ultimate for Tablet pc ?!?!?!

  6. I found your message because my Windows Vista suddenly started flying our menus to the left and I have been trying for 3 months to find something that will return them to the right for all normal menus. i don’t use a tablet.

    thank you

  7. Some of the more complicated mice you can buy for your PC will cause the menus to change ‘hands.’ Windows thinks that these devices are tablets being installed.

  8. Hi

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  9. Hi,

    It frustrated me a lot when somebody accidentally changed the settings and my menus start appearing in right.

    Your post solved the issue.

    Thanks a lot.

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