Wednesday, 21 November 2012 00:00

Turn an older (low spec) Tablet PC into a DIY Cintiq style digitizer for use with your Windows PC.

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A cheap Cintiq style graphics tablet from a pen based Tablet PC.


I recently stumbled across a few Fujtisu stylistic ST4110 'penabled' tablets on ebay. These are old pentium 3 tablet PCs with wacom digitisers. 10 years ago these retailed for over £1000 so I couldn't resist the auction as they were so cheap. Trouble was I didn't really have a use for them, I was thinking of turning them into touchscreen jukeboxes, not realising that they required the pens to function (unlike some other older Styltistics I've seen, which work with a finger).

I then hit upon the idea of using the tablet interface as an input device for a faster PC.

The wacom digitisers are serial based so it seemed trivial to send the output over the network to a modern PC. It then struck I might be able to use a VNC server/client to send the display back out to the tablet.

Although I have only tested this with the Fujtisu tablets, I don't see why it should not work with any tablet sporting a Wacom digitizer on a serial port.

I have created a linux distro using the fabulous lightweight SliTaz GNU Linux to bundle all this up. The following bits of software are used. (The client in this example is running Windows 7 x64, though any modern windows flavour should work).


  • Pressure sensitive (because these digitisers are pressure sensitive)
  • Works over WiFi (a wireless digitiser, oh yes YMMV)
  • Runs entirely in RAM (so no disks to worry about messing up once it's booted, saves power too).
  • Will announce its hostname to windows networks using the NMBD portion of the samba suite.
  • Screen scaling on the client (e.g. a 1280x1024 resolution get scaled to fit the tablet screen).

For the client

HW VSP3 - Virtual Serial Port - A virtual network serial port. Free for private use. There are some open source solutions around but this is really easy to use.

The USB to serial version of Wacom ISD driver - There is some slight slight hacking required especially for x64 bit windows.

TightVNC for Windows - A VNC server implementation for windows.

Launcher batch file - to simplify connecting to the tablet.

For the tablet

Tablet Digitizer distro - A 'live' .ISO based on Linux Slitaz. Burn this to a CD to get going and then install as per instructions below.

Tablet installation

Burn the ISO to a CD. If you don't have a CD drive (or docking station) for the tablet you might be able to PXE boot the ISO and somehow loopback mount the ISO image to install.

Once booted you need to ssh (use putty for windows) in to the tablet to start the installer. You should be able to refer to the tablet by it's name 'graphtablet', or by the IP address displayed on the tablet.

Login with the credentials 'root' and password 'root'.


login as: root
Secure login on SliTaz GNU/Linux powered by Dropbear SSH server.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.'s password:root

Welcome to the Open Source World! SliTaz GNU/Linux is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. root@graphtablet:~# mount /dev/cdrom root@graphtablet:~# cd /media/cdrom/
root@graphtablet:/media/cdrom# ./
This is a quick and dirty harddisk installer. Use at your own risk.
This will attempt to install the fj_digitizer distro to your harddisk.
This WILL DESTROY ALL DATA on your harddisk. It will create a new
primary harddisk of 60M on /dev/hda. It will leave the rest of this
disk empty.
Do you want to continue? [y/n]y
Are you absolutely sure? [y/n]y
Stage 1 - parition drive
Stage 2 - format drive to vfat
Stage 3 - Installing bootloader
1+0 records in
1+0 records out
Stage 4 - Mount the new disk and copy distro files. This can a minute or two from the CDROM.
Stage 5 Cleaning up
Hopefully that all went well.
You can edit /mnt/network.conf to setup your network including wireless
You can edit /mnt/hostname to set the hostname
Type reboot to restart.


The commands you need to enter are printed in red.

Next if you want wireless support (and you have a wifi card that is supported out of the box) you can edit the /mnt/netconf.conf file. I found wi-fi to be quick enough on my setup. YMMV.

# /etc/network.conf: SliTaz system wide networking configuration.
# Config file used by: /etc/init.d/
# Set default interface.
# Dynamic IP address.
# Enable/disable DHCP client at boot time.
# Static IP address.
# Enable/disable static IP at boot time.
# Set IP address and netmask for a static IP.
# Set route gateway for a static IP.
# Set DNS server for a static IP.
# Wifi connection.
# Enable/disable wireless connection at boot time.
# Wifi interface (iwconfig) and ESSID.
# Note the ESSID is case sensitive
# Wifi key type can be 'wpa' 'none' or 'wep'. Most people will use WPA for WPSK etc.

The portions that need modifying are in most cases are in red. You can also edit the hostname of the device by editing /mnt/hostname. The system implements the NMBD portion of the samba suite and so should announce itself your local windows subnet for name resolution.

Reboot the tablet off of the Harddisk.

Client Setup

The client in this case is a windows PC running Windows 7.

1) Install HW VSP3 - Virtual Serial Port software and configure it using the HW Virtual Serial Port icon. The settings should look like this:-

And on the Settings Tab:-

Click the Save Settings to INI file. Go back to the 'Virtual Serial Port' tab and click connect.

2) Install the The USB to serial version of Wacom ISD driver tablet. The driver requires a little hacking to get working and some additional hacking to get it working of x64 bit windows.

2a) Extract the driver to a folder. Enter the extracted folder and then enter the System32 folder. Rename the file ISDCom.dat to isdoem.dat

2b) Edit the isdoem.dat file and change the line



If your on 32bit windows you can go ahead and install the driver. If your on 64 bit windows you need to do a bit more:-

3c) (For x64 windows only) In the root of the driver folder edit the file Common.dat. Delete the entire section marked [Service64]. Copy the entire section marked [Service] and paste it below. Change the section of the duplicated [Service] to [Service64]. The file should now read something like:-


STEP07=Exist;!Program Files!\\Tablet\\PenInst.dll;10
STEP08=CopyFile;.\\System32\\Drivers\\PenInst.dll;!Program Files!\\Tablet\\PenInst.dll

STEP07=Exist;!Program Files!\\Tablet\\PenInst.dll;10
STEP08=CopyFile;.\\System32\\Drivers\\PenInst.dll;!Program Files!\\Tablet\\PenInst.dll


With the altered pieces in red.

NB: This little kludge should also help out those people having trouble getting their older serial wacom tablets to work with USB to serial RS232 adapters on x64. Use at your own risk and note that un-installation might have to be done manually.

4) Go ahead and run the setup file. Assuming the tablet is running and all went well you should now be able to control the screen with the pen on the tablet.

5) Setting up the viewer. Install TightVNC.

6) The tablet is running a listening VNC viewer so we need to get our main PC to connect to this. In order to simplify connecting to the tablet we will make a copy of the TightVNC executable so we can kill it easily without affecting other running instances. Go to the Program Files\TightVNC folder and make a duplicate of the tvnserver.exe file in the same folder. Rename the duplicate tablet_tnvserver.exe.

7) Copy the Launcher batch file into the Program Files\TightVNC folder. Make a shortcut to the batch file for easy launching.

Launch the batch file via the shortcut and if all is well you should see you screen appear on the tablet.

Thanks to:-

SliTaz for a really cool lightweight customisable linux distro.
HW Group for the excellent, feature full and easy to use serial port software.


Your comments, suggestions and questions are very welcome. I have only had the ST4110 tablet to work with but I can't see why this would not work with any pen-based tablet that uses a serial port and has a Wacom digitizer. The linux ISO contains drivers for the Intel i830 graphics (which were a PITA on this particular tablet, hence the 3.7.0 rc5 kernel which incorporated patches to make the card work on this particular hardware). It also contains a VESA driver. I'd love to hear from anyone who has this working on a different model of tablet.


There is a growing discussion on this project going on in the forums at


Ersatz Haderach at has expanded (and simplfied) on this process and made it more generic using Ubuntu. See his article here (link broken as of 06/04/2016).


If you found this useful please consider buying me a beer with a small donation using the PayPal button on the right. Many Thanks.


Last modified on Sunday, 16 October 2016 18:43


  • Comment Link Re Monday, 10 December 2012 05:05 posted by Re

    This is absofrenchthelammalutely fantastic. I will be trying this on my old ThinkPad X41T.

    It's Pentium M and GMA 950 era so it's not too shabby, but I recently got a 2010-era laptop.. which is a lot better.

  • Comment Link Re Monday, 10 December 2012 19:31 posted by Re

    For some reason. "create COM" is disabled in VSP3 and login is enabled, clicking login and logging in does nothing.. Any idea?

  • Comment Link KingGeek Monday, 10 December 2012 19:45 posted by KingGeek

    The settings should match the screenshots in the article. Make sure the PC can see the tablet on the network.

    Make sure you click 'Save settings to INI file' when the settings are correct.

    I seem to recall a reboot might have been necessary when first installing, although you could just try restarting (or event just starting) the 'HW Virtual Serial Port' service from the windows services panel.

  • Comment Link Re Monday, 10 December 2012 20:40 posted by Re

    "Save settings to INI file" is disabled after all the settings are correct. I tried rebooting and I got the same behavior. I tried reinstalling numerous times but I got the same behavior. I also noticed that I can not "log in" at the bottom, even if I change the password with the utility to change the password.. Right password, wrong password, everything results in nothing happening when I login, and I can't get the top to say "Admin access"

    I tried restarting the service as well. it is running by default. it also doesn't work.

    I tried the old, 2x version, and that ran, but it didn't work with what is described here. Missing things.

    I'm really getting frustrated and disappointed with this software.

    I'm on Windows 7 64bit SP1.

  • Comment Link KingGeek Monday, 10 December 2012 21:04 posted by KingGeek

    Just tried in on a new Win 7 64 bit install and it worked for me.

    The HW Virtual Serial port control panel tool connects to it's service over the network. Maybe try it with your firewall off? Also check the advanced tab is set to localhost? Have you tried turning logging on to see what that logs?

    There is other virtual serial port software out there. This is was simply the easiest to use as far as I could see.

  • Comment Link Re Monday, 10 December 2012 21:20 posted by Re

    It is set to localhost, but the port was set to 7000 while I was tinkering with the settings. by default. it was blank. I tried making it blank again, but it does not allow me to save the settings for keeping it blank. It says "" is not a valid integer.

    What should it be?

    At 7000, it just says "connect error"

  • Comment Link Re Monday, 10 December 2012 21:21 posted by Re

    I also tried disabling the firewall, It didn't work. I also tried setting the port to 0 and that obviously didn't work.. I dont know what port it uses..

  • Comment Link KingGeek Monday, 10 December 2012 21:35 posted by KingGeek

    Yes, that dialog is buggy on my machine too. After a little bit of digging I found the port was 1231 for the service.

  • Comment Link Re Monday, 10 December 2012 22:27 posted by Re

    Alright. I changed the port. It connected now it's all working on the whole get-serial-data-here part. Now I'm having trouble with the wacom drivers you linked me to. Tried installing them, but alas, no dice. I receive data as the stylus moves around, but it doesn't do anything on my client computer.

    The pen tablet settings icon in the control panel doesn't open anything, either. Any ideas?

  • Comment Link KingGeek Monday, 10 December 2012 22:48 posted by KingGeek

    Sounds like you are very nearly there!

    Assuming you have made all the changes to the drivers listed in the article (including the 64bit hack) you should see the Wacom driver connect to the Virtual Serial Port and list a baud rate etc.

    You can usually reset the Wacom driver by going into the Wacom Preferences on the start menu and selecting delete all preferences. Do this with the serial port program open so you can see if it opens the port in real-time.

    If the Wacom driver is connected to the serial port an it still doesn't work I've found a reboot is the only way to go. I've not discovered why this is yet, but that never fails.

    So it sounds like you have the linux image installed on your thinkpad OK?

  • Comment Link Re Monday, 10 December 2012 23:27 posted by Re

    I did the modifications. Rebooted my computer. I tried resetting the driver with what you said. Nothing happens, Still doesn't work and there's still nothing opening the port.

    any idea?

    It's not installed to my thinkpad, I am booting your live image on my usb thumb drive with unetbootin and it works fine as far as I can tell. everything works on it's side, including the remote display.

  • Comment Link KingGeek Monday, 10 December 2012 23:43 posted by KingGeek

    I forgot about the live option. Great that sounds fine.

    Errm. Check the registry key


    It should read COM3?

    Do you see the com port try and connect (when you reset the driver) but fail (e.g. the baud rates flicker a couple of times) or nothing at all?

  • Comment Link Re Monday, 10 December 2012 23:50 posted by Re

    I can't find anything named WACOM under SOFTWARE. I found ISDPortName inside of a WACOM that was inside of Wow6432Node, though. and it said COM3.

    Also, Nothing happens at all when I reset the driver. Something did happen when I installed the driver, though. It connected for a moment and immediately disconnected. That's all.

  • Comment Link KingGeek Monday, 10 December 2012 23:59 posted by KingGeek

    That key is certainly on my system and should have been installed with the modified driver. I've posted a .reg file straight from a working system in the downloads section:

    Try sticking that key in the registry and reset the driver.

  • Comment Link Re Tuesday, 11 December 2012 00:07 posted by Re

    Okay. I tried that. Nothing happened.. Guh! How about you post your modified driver, although i double checked mine.. If our systems are exactly the same it has to work. (64 bit SP1 windows 7)

  • Comment Link KingGeek Tuesday, 11 December 2012 00:18 posted by KingGeek

    Could you backup your driver that you've modded in so I can compare the two should this work. I might well have missed something in the instructions.

    Completely remove your existing driver before installing the new one:-

  • Comment Link Re Tuesday, 11 December 2012 00:31 posted by Re

    Well damn. I installed that, after uninstalling mine, and I get the same exact results. Resetting doesn't do anything, not even a flicker.

  • Comment Link KingGeek Tuesday, 11 December 2012 01:01 posted by KingGeek

    Bear with me, it's kinda late here. I'm going to install from scratch on a new system and see what we are missing.

    It's 1AM here so I'll probably not post again until tomorrow.

    Thanks for giving this a go!

  • Comment Link KingGeek Tuesday, 11 December 2012 01:11 posted by KingGeek


    Try this:-

    There is an additional folder in the .zip called REG.

    1) Uninstall the old driver
    2) Install the newer one
    3) Install all the reg entries from the REG folder.

    This is tested and working on a new system, but I've not yet figured out the difference between the versions. Please let me know if it works.

  • Comment Link Re Tuesday, 11 December 2012 01:48 posted by Re

    Damn! I had just about given up. But I installed this and BAM it works! Thanks!

  • Comment Link Re Tuesday, 11 December 2012 02:04 posted by Re

    Okay. I have a problem though. It works. But the calibration is very off. a few inches from the bottom of my tabletPC's screen moves down to the bottom of my laptop's screen. rendering the remote display useless.

    Any idea on how to fix that? I cant do the calibration process, it just sees it wrong and it doesn't work when i click on the crosses.

  • Comment Link KingGeek Tuesday, 11 December 2012 09:24 posted by KingGeek

    Aspect ratio issue perhaps? What size screens are involved?

  • Comment Link Re Tuesday, 11 December 2012 21:54 posted by Re

    TabletPC is a 12.1" 1024x768 panel, Laptop is a 14.1" 1280x800 panel. Probably why.

  • Comment Link KingGeek Tuesday, 11 December 2012 22:16 posted by KingGeek

    The linux software attempts to scale the screen but how this is handled between different aspect ratios I don't know. You can try turning off (or adjusting) the scaling on the linux side.

    The vnc command is launched from the file:-


    The line reads:-
    vncviewer -listen -scale 1024x768 -fullscreen -16bpp -nobs -graball &

    Maybe play with the scale setting or turn it off.

  • Comment Link Re Wednesday, 12 December 2012 05:52 posted by Re

    I decided to just use my TabletPC normally, since it's fast enough for what I need anyways. Thanks for the help though! Perhaps it may help someone else.

  • Comment Link ginos Saturday, 15 December 2012 19:28 posted by ginos

    I'm sorry, I did not understand the goal of this project, maybe watching what you draw on a larger screen or providing sensitivity to pentablet? i need a cheap alternative to cintiq, that's the reason i reach this website:-)

  • Comment Link Peter Thursday, 03 January 2013 04:15 posted by Peter

    I'm interested in trying this out, but one part of the equation puzzles me:
    What exactly do to the Slitaz linux distro to have it output the Wacom serial signals over LAN? And is this more or less universally possible across all linux distros? (I know you mentioned it would depend on how the internals is wired, but let's for the moment assume all Wacom internals are wired the same way, and it's just the OS being different).

    In other words, if I were to venture out a buy a relatively old and cheap tablet (like the Motion LE1600), how would I make the necessary modifications to have it work on the Motion instead of a Fujitsu machine, or does that not matter, other than the internal wiring?

    I'm relatively tech savvy and I'm no stranger to Ubuntu, I would like a few pointers as to where to look to make required modifications if your distro doesn't work out of the box on other devices, though more detail would obviously be more helpful and much appreciated !

  • Comment Link KingGeek Thursday, 03 January 2013 10:39 posted by KingGeek

    Basically is a question of sharing a serial port over the LAN. That is what the wacom digitizer appears as on the Linux distro.

  • Comment Link Rick Monday, 07 January 2013 21:47 posted by Rick

    I have an old LE1700 with WinXP on the board and many software installed. Do I understand right that everything will be wiped on my tablet's HDD to install linux?

  • Comment Link KingGeek Monday, 07 January 2013 21:56 posted by KingGeek

    Only if you install it using the supplied script. If you just boot it off a CD or USB stick it may work fine. You only need to install it if adjustments need to be made. It certainly won't install by default.

  • Comment Link Rick Wednesday, 09 January 2013 08:16 posted by Rick

    Well, I have now a boot USB with your Linux distro and it seems like everything going well. I connected the tablet to my router, opened a COM port and installed the ISD driver but the mouse cursor on the tablet doesn't react on stylus. What I did wrong? I installed the ISD driver while port was opened and tablet running. I also have old wacom drivers installed in my system. Does it need to be deleted before install ISD driver?

  • Comment Link KingGeek Wednesday, 09 January 2013 08:57 posted by KingGeek

    Maybe. Try it. If you still having problems try the pre-modified driver.

  • Comment Link Rick Wednesday, 16 January 2013 21:17 posted by Rick

    Ok, the mouse pointer stuck in top left corner is solved. But now the cursor stays a few inches off stylus. And the screen on the tablet still has black borders around it. I guess it's all about changing the resolution on linux side. I tried to edit the vncviewer stroke in but as far as I use a live USB it doesn't save changes after reboot. Is it possible to change resolution with a command in putty?

  • Comment Link KingGeek Wednesday, 16 January 2013 21:29 posted by KingGeek

    Care to share how you solved the pointer stuck problem?

    I don't think you could easily change the resolution in putty. Try 'killall x' or such and edit the /etc/xorg/ config files and then restart X. But I think you'll have a steep climb.

    Have you recalibrated the tablet from windows control panel?

  • Comment Link Rick Wednesday, 16 January 2013 22:07 posted by Rick

    When I firstly installed the pre-modified usb-serial driver I didn't run two registry files (Services and Software) in Reg folder. So I reinstalled the driver and used all the files in Reg folder. After that I put stylus on the tablet and it worked for 5-6 seconds and jumped to the top left again. I followed to Windows Service and disabled the Tablet PC Input Service (it's a default Win7 service). After that the mouse pointer stuck was fixed.
    I tried 'killall x' it show me 'killall x: no process killed'
    Seems I need to use killall (servername) but where do I find the name of running X server?

  • Comment Link Rick Thursday, 17 January 2013 06:59 posted by Rick

    Display recalibration does nothing since the mouse pointer is few inches off my stylus. Is it hard for me to extract the distro and edit the vncviewer line, then cook it again and burn live USB with edited

  • Comment Link Rick Thursday, 17 January 2013 07:49 posted by Rick

    That's weird. I figured out how to kill xserver, so I edited and restarted x but that didn't help, the viewport is still 1024x768. There's no xorg folder in /etc, but I found xorg.conf in X11 folder and it's empty.

  • Comment Link Rick Thursday, 17 January 2013 08:34 posted by Rick

    Using command ls -a /root I found another in /root/.config/openbox
    The tablet reacts on editing this I tried to add different resolutions in vncviewer line but screen becomes absolutely black after I start xserver. It also doesn't react on VNC until I change the resolution back to 1024x768. I'm not going to do anything else before you answer with some advice cause I don't want my tablet bricked.

  • Comment Link Rick Thursday, 17 January 2013 08:56 posted by Rick

    Well, after adding -scale fit or auto to the /root/.config/openbox/ the tablet changed it's resolution to 1360x768 (my desktop pc res). The question is: how to make my tablet use 1400x1050 while my PC highest res is 1360x768.

  • Comment Link kinggeek Thursday, 17 January 2013 15:09 posted by kinggeek

    If I were you I'd be inclined to shrink whatever partition you have existing on the tablet, create a new partition on the tablet and then dual boot it. I know this isn't straight forward (whatever you do don't just run the script!) but if you look at the script you should be able to manually execute the necessary commands changing them for your particular setup. Then you can modify and reboot until you have it working. The install is really very light in size so you wouldn't sacrifice much disk space.
    Back everything up first if your not sure. I'm guessing you have windows installed on the tablet so you might want to take a look at the NTFSRESIZE tools on linux.


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