How to change your mouse cursor in Windows

Change your mouse cursor in Windows with these quick tips

The mouse cursor is one of the pillars of modern user interface design. Even if you’ve transitioned to a tablet or touchscreen device like Microsoft’s great Surface Pro line, sometimes you just need that reliable old cursor, especially in an operating system that still skews heavily toward the conventional desktop (i.e., Windows).

But that doesn’t mean you have to stick with the default option. Users looking for different cursor colors and size, whether for better visibility or simply based on cosmetic preference, can follow our simple guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows. Changing the cursor to a variety of built-in Windows 10 “themes” — which function as collections of cursors for normal operation, text selection, hyperlinks, etc. — is fairly easy, but users can also customize individual images or install themed packs.

Changing the default cursor

Step 1: Change mouse settings

Click or press the Windows button, then type in “mouse.” Click or tap Change your mouse settings from the resulting list of options to open the primary mouse settings menu. (This is also available from the primary Settings application.) Then select Additional mouse options.

In older versions of Windows, the Mouse or Touchpad settings shortcut is usually found within the Control Panel.

devices menu
Michael Crider/Digital Trends

Step 2: Choose a scheme

In the Mouse Properties window that appears, select the Pointers tab. The first option there is Scheme, and it’s all that most users will need. Click the drop-down menu and you’ll see roughly a dozen different cursor schemes. These are collections of static and animated images that completely replace the default “arrow” cursor and its associated tools. Most of them are boring but functional, and they take on the regular Windows look. The variations come in white and black for the best contrast, and in a variety of sizes to suit different screen resolutions and those with poor eyesight.

scheme
Michael Crider/Digital Trends

Step 3: Select and apply a scheme

Click on any of the schemes to see a preview of the applicable cursors in the bottom half of the window. You can move back and forth between them to compare the color and size. The Inverted schemes are especially useful for those who have a hard time seeing the standard white cursor.

When you’ve found one that looks good to you, click Apply to implement the changes. Then return to the Mouse Properties menu for any additional changes in the future. The Enable pointer shadow option adds a cosmetic shadow to the cursor — it’s interesting, but not all that useful.

Customizing cursors

If you’re looking to change one or more individual cursors, that’s easy to do as well.

Step 1: Select a cursor

In the Customize portion of the window, select the cursor you’d like to change. There are 15 different cursors that can apply to different situations in Windows 10, though most of the time the primary pointer, link pointer, text select, and window resizing cursors are all you need to worry about.

To select a custom cursor for the highlighted individual item, click Browse. That will open the default Cursors folder, “C:WindowsCursors,” where hundreds of different cursor options are available.

browse menu
Michael Crider/Digital Trends

Step 2: Pick a function

Click one that matches the function (not the scheme) of the current cursor, then click Open to apply it to the current scheme. You can repeat this step as many times as it takes to get the desired result or click Use Default to return to the standard cursor for the scheme in question.

Repeat the process with any other individual cursors you’d like to change, then click Apply to activate them.

Downloading cursor packs

Customizing Windows interface elements has become less popular as of late, but it’s still an option for more advanced users. There are many programs that will install additional cursor schemes or individual cursors to the default menu, such as Stardock’s CursorFX, and sites like the Open Cursor Library have dedicated sections for custom cursors. Once installed, these are selected in the process mentioned above.

If you’ve found one or more individual cursors that you want to install manually, you’ll need to copy their image files directly to the Cursors folder. In Windows 7, 8, and 10, this is in the default Windows installation folder, usually located at “C:WindowsCursors.” The Browse function we previously outlined can actually go to any folder on your PC, but it’s usually best to keep all your cursor files in the default folder for easy access.

When downloading individual cursor files or add-on programs, exercise caution as with any download — ransomware and other malware attacks are increasingly serious problems and can’t be taken lightly. Do not download files or programs from questionable sources,  and check files with a virus scanner before opening them.

Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Still miss Windows 7? Here's how to make Windows 10 look more like it

There's no simple way of switching on a Windows 7 mode in Windows 10. Instead, you can install third-party software, manually tweak settings, and edit the registry. We provide instructions for using these tweaks and tools.
Computing

Problems with installing or updating Windows 10? Here's how to fix them

Upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10 is usually a breeze, but sometimes you run into issues. Never fear though. Our guide will help you isolate the issue at hand and solve it in a timely manner.
Mobile

Rooting your Android device is risky. Do it right with our handy guide

Wondering whether to root your Android smartphone or stick with stock Android? Perhaps you’ve decided to do it and you just need to know how? Here, you'll find an explanation and a quick guide on how to root Android devices.
Computing

How to change your Gmail password in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 
Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Computing

Microsoft’s Clippy came back from the dead, but didn’t last very long

Before Cortana, Alexa, and Siri even existed, Microsoft Clippy dominated the screens of computers in the 1990s to help assist Microsoft Office users when writing letters. He recently made a bit of a comeback only to die off again.
Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Deals

Time to do taxes? Save up to 50 percent on H&R Block tax software this weekend

Tax season is stressful, and with new tax laws in effect this year, it's not a bad idea to get some help. H&R Block has you covered: For two days only, you can save 50 percent on its great software so you can file your taxes online and save…
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.