How to make the mouse pointer easier to see in Windows XP

This page explains step-by-step how to make the mouse pointer easier to see in Windows XP by changing its appearance or how it functions.

Areas in this guide:

Make the mouse pointer larger

Step 1: Open the 'Mouse Properties' window

Open the 'Start' menu by clicking on the 'Start' button, or by pressing the Windows key or Ctrl + Esc.

Click on 'Control Panel', or press C until it is highlighted and then press Enter if necessary. (Note: in earlier versions of XP, you will need to click on 'Settings' or press S first.)

You need to be in Classic view. If you see the text 'Pick a category', as shown in Fig 1, click on 'Switch to Classic View' or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from Control Panel window

Double-click on the 'Mouse' icon, or press M until it is highlighted and then press Enter, to open the 'Mouse Properties' window shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2'Mouse Properties' window showing the 'Pointers' tab

Step 2: Choose a mouse pointer size and colour

If it is not already selected, click on the 'Pointers' tab, or press Ctrl + Tab to cycle through the tabs until the 'Pointers' tab is selected.

Here you can customise your mouse pointer to one you can more easily see, such as larger or higher-visibility pointers, by choosing one of the available schemes. Click on the drop-down box below the 'Scheme' header, or press Tab until the drop-down box is highlighted, then use the mouse or the up and down arrow keys to scroll through the options until you find the scheme you want.

As you scroll through the list, you will see the pictures changing to reflect the scheme that is highlighted at the time. If you have trouble seeing well, try the schemes labelled 'Large', 'Extra Large' and/or 'Inverted'.

When you've highlighted the scheme you want, click the 'OK' button, or press Enter, to save your changes and finish.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

Make it easier to find your mouse pointer

Step 1: Open the 'Mouse Properties' window

Open the 'Start' menu by clicking on the 'Start' button, or by pressing the Windows key or Ctrl + Esc.

Click on 'Control Panel', or press C until it is highlighted and then press Enter if necessary. (Note: in earlier versions of XP, you will need to click on 'Settings' or press S first.)

You need to be in Classic view. If you see the text 'Pick a category', as shown in Fig 1, click on 'Switch to Classic View' or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter.

Fig 1Detail from Control Panel window

Double-click on the 'Mouse' icon, or press M until it is highlighted and then press Enter, to open the 'Mouse Properties' window shown in Fig 2.

Fig 2'Mouse Properties' window showing the 'Pointer Options' tab

Step 2: Turn on the mouse pointer trails

If it is not already selected, click on the 'Pointer Options' tab, or press Ctrl + Tab to cycle through the tabs until the 'Pointer Options' tab is selected.

To make the mouse pointer easier to see when you are moving it, you can add 'trails' to it. Tick the box next to 'Display pointer trails' by clicking it, or press Alt + D to tick it and turn this feature on.

The slider below 'Display pointer trails' allows you to adjust the size of the pointer trails. To do this, click and drag the slider, or press Tab until the slider is highlighted and then use the left and right arrow keys, until you find a setting that you are happy with.

Step 3: Highlight the mouse pointer on your screen

In addition to adding trails to your mouse pointer to make it easier to see, you can also change your setup so that whenever you press the Ctrl key the mouse pointer will be highlighted by a large circle.

To turn on this feature, tick the box next to 'Show location of pointer when I press the Ctrl key' by clicking on it, or press Alt + S to tick it, as shown in Fig 3.

Fig 3'Mouse Properties' window showing the 'Pointer Options' tab

Click the 'OK' button, or press Tab until it is highlighted and then press Enter, to save your changes.

Note: If this does not work it could be because your computer settings cannot be changed due to local IT policies - contact your local IT support for further help.

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