(These settings work for all versions of windows except as noted)

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How to use the customizing features in Windows

Barrettism:
Always Back up your data before doing any maintenance

The default Windows installation provides settings that are not comfortable for most users. This section will describe changing settings in Mouse and Keyboard sections of the control panel. Other settings in Control Panel work similarly.

See the companion page Adding and removing Windows features for additional help. See also the page Customizing The Desktop for other elements that can be customized.

These pics and instructions represent older versions of Windows but the principles still work in new versions.

Changing Mouse settings:

First, open your Control Panel. You can get there from the Start Menu/Settings or My Computer or Windows Explorer. In XP, click Start, Control Panel. After you have the Control Panel open, activate (double click) the mouse icon. In XP, switch to classic view to find the icons mentioned here. Depending on the type of mouse you have installed, the number of tabs will vary, but all will have 3 basic tabs as shown in Fig 1.


To begin, look at the first page. You can reverse the left and right mouse buttons for left handed use. Even if you buy a mouse designed for left handed use, you must still make this setting in Windows.

On this page, you can adjust the speed of the double click and test it.

Next, click the Pointers tab. See Fig 2. Here you can switch the default small mouse pointer to a larger pointer. The first thing to try is clicking on the "Scheme" drop list and see what pointer sets are available. Some installations will only have 3. If you want a larger selection, you need to use the Add/Remove Programs dialog box in Control Panel, select Windows Setup tab and add Mouse Pointers from the Windows CD. See Adding and removing Windows features.

In Fig 2, note also that, you can change only one item. In my example, I have selected a special pointer. To do this, double click the item you want to change. In my case it was the Normal Select which is normally a plain arrow. I got the yellow pointer from the Internet. You can download a large variety. When you double click the item, you will get a dialog box showing the selections installed in your computer. Notice I also changed the Busy selection to a slot machine. The default one is the hourglass.

The third change that can be made is to adjust the speed that the pointer travels across the page. In Windows ME, it is the third tab (Fig 3). In earlier versions, it may be on a different page. Your pages may contain more or less settings. Try each one to see what you like.

Note you can change to a left handed mouse and adjust the speed of your double click
You can change the entire "Scheme" or just one item. Adjust speed by dragging the slider left or right. Check boxes & Apply to see the effect.

Play with different selections and find one you like, then click OK to close and keep your selections. Clicking the X or Cancel may not keep the selections.

Changing Keyboard Settings:

Background: Anytime you type information, you may get repeated letters due to holding a key down just a little too long. This where you make adjustments to this effect. There are 2 settings. Repeat Delay is the time it takes before the first repeated letter shows up. Repeat Rate is the speed that the repeated letters display once the first repeat has started. See Fig 5 for my preferred settings.

Much like the mouse settings above. Open Control Panel, activate the Keyboard icon. There is very little variation in this dialog box from one version to another unless you have a special keyboard with extra buttons for web access, volume controls, etc. This is what the dialog box looks like:


Fig 4

The settings in Fig 5 represent the default settings on an unchanged Windows installation. Change the settings by dragging the slider left or right and test in the white box. To test, click your mouse in the box to set the cursor, then hold down a key on the keyboard. Revise the setting and test the new setting. Backspace works also as a test. No need to delete and start over. My personal favorites for the settings is Repeat Delay=Long and Repeat Rate=Fast as shown below:


Fig 5

Check this page to learn more about the Control Panel.

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