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It doesn’t matter if you use a desktop or laptop, you always rely on your mouse (or trackpad) to navigate Windows 10. The mouse has been around for years and is indeed an important peripheral in our digital lives, for what customizing it correctly is essential for the best experience.
In Windows 10, Microsoft wants you to use the Settings app to customize all aspects of the operating system, including mouse settings, but the options available through the Settings app are quite limited. Fortunately, you can still use Mouse Properties in Control Panel to customize your experience.
Basic mouse settings
Windows 10’s settings area is constantly changing, and Microsoft is finally aiming to get rid of the Control Panel entirely. Until then, mouse settings are divided into two areas. Press Windows Key + I to open Settings and go to Devices> Mouse. This is where you will find some basic mouse customizations.
Use the Select your primary button drop-down menu to switch between Left and Right. The former is standard, but you may find it useful to switch to the latter if you use the mouse in your left hand.
The Roll the mouse wheel to scroll drop-down menu allows you to choose how your windows behave when you scroll the mouse. Multiple lines at a time is the default setting, but you can change it to One screen at a time if you want.
If you selected multiple lines, you can use the slider below to determine how many lines are scrolled at a time. The further to the left the slider is, the fewer lines the mouse will scroll at once. Finally, Scrolling inactive windows when I move them is an On / Off switch. If enabled, you only need to hover over a window to be able to scroll, rather than clicking on it first.
Advanced mouse settings
To access advanced mouse settings, click Additional Mouse Options. This will open a separate window. Each section below refers to a different tab in that window.
The first section here, Button Settings, is the same as the Select Your Primary Button option found on the Settings screen. Double-click speed allows you to adjust how quickly you need to double-click the mouse for it to be recognized as a single action. Adjust the Speed slider and use the folder icon to test it out.
ClickLock is a feature that allows you to highlight or drag (for example, select multiple files or move an icon on the desktop) without holding down the mouse button. If you choose Enable ClickLock, you only need to briefly press the mouse button and release it with another click. Once enabled, click Settings … to adjust how long the mouse click should last before it is registered as ClickLock.
Here you can change the visual style of your cursor and its different states. The Schemes drop-down menu gives you the ability to change the entire set of cursors at once. Available default schemes include black, inverted, and standard, in a variety of different sizes.
Alternatively or additionally, you can use the Customize section to change specific states. Select it from the list, click Browse … and find the .ANI (animated) or .CUR (static) file you want to replace it with. Once chosen, click Open. Check out the open cursors library to see a bunch of different free cursors. All you need to do is download them and then use the instructions above to locate them on your system.
Use Select a pointer speed to change how fast the cursor moves across the screen. You might be tempted to click to enable Enhance pointer precision, but pause. This adjusts how far the cursor moves depending on how fast you move it. It’s good if you have a mouse with a bad sensor, but less useful if you want your mouse movements to always be the same (like you’re playing high-precision games). The Snap To option will automatically move the cursor to the default button (such as OK or Apply) when a dialog box opens.
Check Show pointer trails if you want the cursor to duplicate as you move it. Use the slider below to adjust how short or long the path should be.
Finally, you can check Hide pointer while typing and Show pointer location when I press Ctrl key. This last option is useful if you are having difficulty finding the cursor, perhaps due to the view or the size of the monitor.
The Vertical Scrolling section customizes the same as in the Settings section, but here you can define the specific number of lines that are scrolled, rather than using a slider. You can also do something similar for horizontal scrolling and set how many characters you want to scroll when you roll the wheel horizontally.
This last section shows you what devices you have installed. This is more informative than anything else, although you can double-click each device to open its properties. Here you will see the status of the device, along with the date and version of the drive you have installed. This can be useful if you need to troubleshoot your mouse, such as if you need to update or roll back the driver.
Ease of access
Press Windows Key + I and go to Accessibility> Mouse. Here are some options to make it easier to view and use your mouse if you are having trouble with the default values. Similar to the schemes detailed above, here you can change the pointer size and pointer color between three options.
The mouse buttons section gives you the option of using the numeric keypad to move the mouse around the screen. This converts each number on the keyboard to an address. For example, 8 is up and 2 is down.
I would suggest enabling Hold Ctrl to speed up and Shift to slow down. This gives you more control and is especially useful since the default speed is often too slow. Finally, Use the mouse keys when Num Lock is activated will toggle whether this function is activated when your Num Lock is activated or deactivated.
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