This quick tip is useful if you often lose track of where the mouse pointer is on the screen. Those with larger screens are particularly likely to suffer from this problem – I use a 32” HDTV as a monitor and it can take a while to hunt down the pointer.
Windows can help by showing the location of the mouse pointer whenever you press the CTRL key. To set this option, first open the Mouse Properties window – how to do this depends which version of Windows you have installed and whether Control Panel is set to Classic View or not:
Windows 7 – Select the Start button then ‘Control Panel’ then ‘Hardware and Sound’ then ‘Mouse’ – under the Devices and Printers category. [If you have Icons View enabled the process is Start button, 'Control Panel' then 'Mouse']
XP – Select the Start button then ‘Control Panel’ then ‘Printers and Other Hardware’ then ‘Mouse’. [If you have Classic View enabled the process is: Start button, 'Control Panel' then 'Mouse']
Vista – Select the Start button then ‘Control Panel’ then ‘Mouse’ – under the Hardware and Sound category. [If you have Classic View enabled the process is Start button, 'Control Panel' then 'Mouse']
Mouse Properties Window
- Now that the Mouse Properties window is open, select the Pointer Options tab.
- Tick the bottom option – ‘Show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key’ as shown below:
- Press OK to finish
In future, whenever you press the CTRL key a series of circles appears briefly around the pointer – making it much easier to find on the screen.
Other Mouse Pointer Options – The other options in the Mouse Properties window may also be of interest:
Motion – vary the (constant) speed at which the pointer moves around the screen when you move the mouse
Enhance pointer precision – this is really mouse acceleration under another name i.e. the faster you move the mouse the further the pointer will move
Snap To – makes the mouse pointer automatically move to the default button in a dialog box e.g. when deleting a file the ‘Confirm File Delete’ message appears with ‘Yes’ as the default option. Snap To would automatically focus the pointer on the Yes button to save you time moving to it.
Display pointer trails – another way to make the pointer easier to see by applying a trail as you move it. You can adjust the length of the pointer trail by moving the slider below the check box.
Hide the pointer whilst typing – the pointer disappears when you are typing and only reappears when you move the mouse.
These mouse pointer options can be very useful and save time – some trial and error may be required to set the options to best match your own preferences. As an aside, writing out the Control Panel settings has reminded me just how much quicker the ‘old fashioned’ Classic/Icons View is compared to navigating through the standard category views…