Track apps

How to Track Your Mouse Pointer with PowerToys Mouse Utilities



I don’t know if this is a sign of poor eyesight (or old age, but don’t tell anyone), but I often lose track of the mouse pointer when using my computer. Sometimes it likes to hide around the edges of my monitor. Other times it seems to disappear into thin air. If you ever come across the same dilemma, there is a useful program that can help you out.

Part of Microsoft’s free PowerToys, a program simply called Mouse Utilities, offers three separate tools to help you find your mouse pointer when it disappears. A tool will illuminate the mouse pointer if you shake your mouse or press the Ctrl key on a few items. Another tool highlights every mouse click you make. And the third tool draws a crosshair over the pointer for you to see easily. You can also modify each tool so that they assist you without getting in your way. Here’s how it works.

If you don’t have PowerToys yet, download and install the PowerToysSetup.exe file from the program GitHub page. PowerToys and its various programs generally work the same on Windows 10 and 11. Open the PowerToys Settings window by double-clicking its icon in the system tray. Select the entry for Mouse Utilities.

find my mouse

To try the Find My Mouse utility, turn on its switch. Choose how you want to enable Find My Mouse mode. Click the drop-down menu for the activation method. Keeping the default Press Left Control Twice means that this is activated by pressing the left Ctrl key on your keyboard twice. Switching to the Shake Mouse option means it is enabled if you just shake the mouse. If you opt for Shake Mouse, then you can adjust the sensitivity by entering a specific number in the Shake minimum distance field (Figure 1).

Enable Find My Mouse

Lance Whitney/Screenshot

If you don’t want this mode to trigger when you play a game, check the Don’t activate when Game mode is on box.

Next, click on the Appearance and Behavior menu. By default, Find My Mouse mode highlights your mouse pointer with a white spotlight while the rest of the screen becomes darker or darker. Overlay Opacity determines the opacity of the screen surrounding the projector. The background color defines the color of the screen. With Spotlight color, you can change the spotlight from white to a different color. The spotlight radius changes the size of the spotlight. The initial projector zoom sets the zoom level of the projector. The animation duration controls the time before the spotlight itself appears (Figure 2).

Adjust the appearance and behavior of Find My Mouse

Lance Whitney/Screenshot

Click the menu to Exclude apps. Here you can add any apps you don’t want the spotlight to appear for. To add an application, type the name of its executable file in the window (picture 3).

Exclude applications

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To see Find My Mouse in action, press the Ctrl key twice or shake your mouse. The spotlight will focus on your mouse pointer so you can see it easily (Figure 4).

Use Find My Mouse

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mouse highlighter

Next in line is Mouse Highlighter, which displays a small highlighted circle wherever you left-click or right-click your mouse. To activate it, turn on the mouse highlighter switch. By default, you press Windows key + Shift + H to activate the highlighter. To configure a different key combination, click on the activation shortcut entry and press the shortcut keys you want to use. Click Save (Figure 5).

Enable mouse highlighter

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Click the Appearance and Behavior setting. Here you can change the left-click and right-click colors, adjust the opacity, change the highlight radius, and change the fade delay and duration (Figure 6).

Adjust the appearance and behavior of the mouse highlighter

Lance Whitney/Screenshot

To try out the highlighter, press the associated hotkey combination. Click the left mouse button and then the right button. You should see the small highlight circle appear for both types of clicks. Press the shortcut key combination again to turn off the highlighter (Picture 7).

Use the mouse highlighter

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Mouse pointer crosshairs

And to round off the list, Mouse Pointer Crosshairs, which draws crosshair lines to locate the mouse cursor. Turn on the switch for the mouse pointer crosshair. Click the activation shortcut entry if you want to change the keyboard shortcut combination to activate this option (Picture 8).

Enable mouse pointer crosshair

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Open the Appearance and Behavior menu. You can now change the color of the reticle, adjust the opacity, increase or decrease the radius and thickness, and change the color and size of the border (Figure 9).

Adjust mouse pointer crosshair

Lance Whitney/Screenshot

To see this one in action, press the defined hotkey combination. The reticle lines appear on the screen with your mouse pointer in the center. Press the hotkey combination to turn off the crosshairs (Picture 10).

Use mouse pointer crosshair

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