Windows 10 gives you a range of customisation options for your mouse, so you have flexibility in how your cursor behaves. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the available settings and the impact they have on your pointer.
Before we get going, it’s worth mentioning that Windows 10’s mouse settings are still split across Control Panel and the Settings app. The Settings app’s Mouse page is currently extremely basic and contains only one option you won’t find in the Control Panel.
Primary mouse button and scroll wheel
We’ll head to Settings first, so open the app (Win+I keyboard shortcut), click the “Devices” category and then navigate to the “Mouse” page from the menu.
The page lets you customise the scroll wheel’s operation and change which mouse button acts as the primary one. The mouse wheel can be made to scroll through lines or entire screens (as if you pressed the Page Up/Page Down buttons), and you can customise how many lines or screens should be scrolled at once.
The last toggle button on the page, “Scroll inactive windows when I hover over them,” is the only mouse setting not available in the Control Panel. This feature was new for Windows 10. Per the description, it lets you scroll the contents of any window on your desktop by hovering over it and using the mouse wheel. You don’t need to switch focus to the window first, addressing a long-standing complaint with previous versions of Windows. You’ll probably want to keep it enabled most of the time.
The rest of Windows’ mouse settings are tucked away in the Control Panel. You can access them with the “Additional mouse options” link to the right of the Mouse settings page. This will bring up the “Mouse Properties” popup which hasn’t changed much through generations of the Windows operating system.
The first tab of this screen provides three options. The first is duplicated from the Settings app and lets you customise your primary mouse button. The second lets you change when double-clicks are registered – if you find Windows isn’t detecting when you double-click, or is making false positive matches, you can use the slider and test area to finetune how long a double-click has to last.
The final option on the page controls a little-used accessibility feature called ClickLock. When it’s enabled, you don’t need to hold down your mouse button when clicking and dragging. Instead, you hold the button briefly, which starts the selection. You can then release the button, move the mouse to complete your selection and press the button again to confirm the operation. It’s intended primarily for people who may find it hard to depress the mouse button for an extended period of time.
The second tab of the Mouse Properties dialog enables you to change the presentation of your cursor. You can pick and choose from the themes installed on your device, or specify your own images to use for different cursor states.
Pointer speed and sensitivity
The Pointer Options tab is more directly applicable to your mouse’s operation. The first set of options are related to the movement of your cursor. You can control how fast the cursor moves, enabling you to reduce or increase the effective sensitivity of your mouse.
There’s also an “Enhance pointer precision” checkbox, which dynamically adjusts the effective sensitivity relative to how fast you move the mouse. When you’re moving slowly to select a small button, Windows will adjust the sensitivity on-the-fly to keep the cursor motion precise. If you have a gaming or professional mouse, you should note that both the pointer speed and precision options may conflict with the DPI and sensitivity settings offered by your mouse.
The second section of the Pointer Options tab controls “Snap To,” an accessibility feature which automatically moves your cursor as new popups open on your screen. Your cursor will automatically “snap to” the default button in each popup, so you don’t need to move your mouse to press “OK.”
Finding the cursor
Finally, the “Visibility” section lets you control when the cursor should be hidden. You can disable automatic cursor hiding while typing with the “Hide pointer while typing” checkbox.
Using the “Display pointer trails” option, it’s possible to display pointer trails that track your mouse across the screen if you have difficulty following your cursor. A final usability tweak is “Show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key” – a self-explanatory checkbox which can come in handy for those “lost my mouse” situations.
That’s it for Windows’ mouse settings. We’re not covering the other Mouse Properties tabs; Wheel is duplicated in the Settings page we described while Hardware lists technical information about your mouse. It’s possible you’ll see more tabs in Mouse Properties depending on your specific device – for example, many laptop touchpad drivers add additional pages here which let you customise their operation.