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Windows XP Power Hound by Preston Gralla

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Of Mice and Keyboards

Most likely, you don't give much thought to the two pieces of hardware you use most every day—your mouse and your keyboard. This section offers tips and tricks for getting the most out of these overlooked but essential pieces of hardware.

Customizing Your Mouse Settings

Moving the cursor with your mouse or touchpad can sometimes feel like you're playing—and losing—an annoying video game. Not only can cursors be hard to find, but dragging items when you use a laptop's touchpad or nub pointer sometimes requires the dexterity of a surgeon. Fortunately, XP lets you change what your cursor looks like and how it reacts to your mouse and touchpad movements.

To begin, go to Control Panel Printers and Other Hardware Mouse. The Mouse Properties dialog box, pictured in Figure 10-6, appears (it may look slightly different, depending on your specific mouse).

Here're some pointers for best settings:

  • Pointers Don't like the shape of your mouse pointer, or the hourglass that Windows displays when it wants you to wait? No problem—you can change them. Click the Pointers tab, then click the Scheme pop-up menu, and choose from any of several dozen pointer designs. Choose the Dinosaur theme, and instead of an hourglass, you'll see an overweight dinosaur, for example. When you've chosen the theme you want, click OK.

    You can also customize your pointer by making it larger, or by making it solid black instead of a white arrow with a black outline. Just select the Pointers tab, and from ...

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