The Settings app lets me pick a custom color for my mouse pointer, how do I get in on that action?

Raymond Chen

In the Settings app, under Ease of Access, Cursor & pointer, you can choose your mouse pointer color. There are some preselected colors, but there’s also an option to choose a custom color.

Some people are looking to see how mouse custom colors work, specifically, what registry key they need to modify to set the color.

There is no registry key that controls the mouse pointer color.

So how does it work?

Simple: The Settings app creates a brand new mouse cursor from scratch based on the color you picked: It painstakingly generates a bitmap that has the color you want, converts it to a cursor file, and saves it to your profile. And then it sets those custom-made cursors as your default mouse cursors.

In other words, each time you pick a color, you get an artisanal mouse cursor, hand-crafted and made to order.


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    • Antonio Rodríguez

      Pay no attention to the man behind the… er… to the file search results 🙂 .

    • Rick C

      Somewhere not programmatically accessible, one fervently hopes.

      • Antonio Rodríguez

        Sincerely, if some intern solves this problem by using file search and Windows 10 2104 (or 21H1, or whatever it is called) breaks it, then s/he deserves it. The bad part is that in those cases it’s Microsoft who gets the blame… but nobody said this world is fair 🙁 .

    • GL

      I don’t think the answer would be useful for any interesting goal… If a program wants to get/set the current cursor set, it can do so by reading/writing the cursor preferences. And the files are presumably not generated if a user has never used this feature.

    • Warren R

      Generated cursor files are stored in:

  • Nikolas Gloy

    Artisanal, hand-crafted mouse cursor – sounds like you found a lost episode of Portlandia!

  • Alexis Ryan

    I had no idea you could change the mouse colour cause I never thought to look in the mouse accessibility options. decided to change the mouse colour on my tv computer to bright yellow. feels like its more visable sitting on my couch. no idea if it actually is but the colour seems to make it pop more than white does.

    • M. W.

      Yellow is indeed perceptually “brighter” than white to the human eye.

  • Neil Rashbrook

    Back in the Windows 2000 era or earlier, you could use a hex editor to set the transparency bits on the parts of the cursor that were supposed to be coloured, which resulted in a somewhat psychedelic effect.

    Nowadays the code to draw mouse pointers is different, but other effects might still be possible. Who knows?

    • Em X

      You never *needed* a hex editor; .cur is just a .ico (which has transparency support) with a special hot spot field that defines the pixel the cursor is centered on. There has always been plenty of software for editing them. The modern icons are exactly the same, just with the extended ICO format that supports larger icons at 32bit.

  • Brian Boorman

    When in Windows 10 did this feature show up? It doesn’t seem to appear in Windows 10 Enterprise 1709. In that version there is no “Cursor & Pointer” under Ease of Access. There are pointer options under mouse, but no option for a custom color.

    • Rick C

      In Enterprise 2004, it’s just called “Mouse Pointer” under Ease of Access (at least on my machine.)

      • Brian Boorman

        Yes, I saw that. But a custom color isn’t in the options. So that means it’s not supported in that version of Win10 or it’s removed by Group Policy from the my corporate managed domain.