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Configuring the Mouse

Use the Mouse utility in Control Panel to control settings such as button configuration, double-click speed, mouse pointers, responsiveness, and wheel behavior.

To configure the mouse

Choose Start > Control Panel > Printers and Other Hardware > Mouse.

To swap the left and right mouse-button functions, Buttons tab > check Switch Primary and Secondary Buttons.

If Windows often interprets your double-clicks as two single clicks, Buttons > drag the Double-Click Speed slider toward Slow.

To make dragging easier, Buttons > check Turn on ClickLock (Figure 4.30); then you can select text or drag icons without holding down the mouse button continuously.

Figure 4.30. ClickLock is a mercy for touchpad users.

To customize mouse pointers, Pointers tab > Scheme to set or create a new pointer scheme (Figure 4.31).

Figure 4.31. This tab lets you select predefined pointer schemes (which range from cute to practical), create your own pointer schemes, or browse to select an individual pointer (rather than an entire scheme).

Use Customize to change individual pointers. For information about the default pointer scheme, see “The Mouse” in Chapter 1.

On the Pointer Options tab, adjust how the pointer responds to the mouse’s physical actions (Figure 4.32).

Figure 4.32. If the pointer distracts you while you type, check Hide Pointer While Typing. If you need to keep track of the pointer as it moves, check Display Pointer Trails (useful for laptop screens). Adjust the pointer’s speed to have it respond more quickly or slowly to mouse movements.

If your mouse or trackball has a wheel, on the Wheel tab, adjust its scroll behavior (Figure 4.33).

Figure 4.33. A mouse wheel can stand in for scroll bars; roll the wheel to scroll up or down a list, document, or web page. If your mouse has no wheel, these settings are ignored.

Click OK (or Apply).

✓ Tips

  • Fancy mice, such as Logitech mice, come with their own driver software. Installing these drivers adds new options and can change some default mouse settings. A cordless mouse may add a tab that indicates remaining battery life, for example.

  • A computer with a special default pointing device—such as a touchpad on a laptop—replaces the Wheel tab with a tab of controls for that device.

  • When you install an alternative pointing device such as a stylus or tablet, look for a Control Panel item devoted to that device.

  • To adjust the mouse and insertion point for mobility impairments, see “Accommodating Disabled Users” later in this chapter.

  • To drag an icon with ClickLock turned on, point to the icon; press the left mouse button for the ClickLock interval; release the button; drag the icon to a destination; then press the button again for the ClickLock interval.

  • Tweak UI’s Mouse options let you adjust mouse double-click, drag, and hover sensitivity; specify how fast the mouse wheel scrolls; and activate windows just by pointing to them. See the “Tweak UI” sidebar in “Using the Start Menu” in Chapter 2.

  • A few mouse utilities: Mouse Machine records mouse moves and clicks for automated playback (free; www.pcsupport.dk/software/MouseMachine.html). Cool Mouse assigns various actions to the mouse’s middle button and wheel ($25 U.S.; www.shelltoys.com).

  • The Hardware tab (Figure 4.34) lists the pointing devices attached to your computer and provides access to the Properties dialog box, which is the same as the one in Device Manager.

    Figure 4.34. The Troubleshoot button connects you to Help and Support Center with step-by-step advice and tutorial.

  • For general information about installing and configuring peripherals, see Chapter 8.

To access the mouse’s device driver

Choose Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System > Hardware tab > Device Manager (Figure 4.35).

Figure 4.35. Like all peripherals, mice have device drivers that you may need to update or tweak from time to time.

Double-click Mice and Other Pointing Devices; then double-click the name of the mouse (Figure 4.36).

Figure 4.36. If you’re having trouble activating your mouse wheel, the Wheel Detection setting on the Advanced Settings tab may help. See also “Managing Device Drivers” in Chapter 8.

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