Customizing Windows

There are many ways you can customize Windows to make your computer more accessible.

Accessibility features have been built in to Windows since the introduction of Windows 95. These features are useful for individuals who have difficulty typing or using a mouse, have moderately impaired vision, or are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The features can be installed during Setup, or you can add them later from your Windows installation disks.

Some of the accessibility features in Windows can be added to earlier versions of those products, and to MS-DOS, through Access Packs. You can download these files from Microsoft.

You also can use Control Panel and other built-in features to adjust the appearance and behavior of Windows to suit varying vision and motor abilities. These include adjusting colors and sizes, sound volume, and the behavior of the mouse and keyboard.

The Accessibility Wizard helps you configure Windows for your vision, hearing, and mobility needs.

Dvorak keyboard layouts make the most frequently typed characters more accessible if you have difficulty using the standard keyboard layout. There are three Dvorak layouts: one if you are a two-handed user, one if you type with your left hand only, and one if you type with your right hand only. You do not need to purchase any special equipment to use these features.

The specific features available, and whether they are built-in or must be obtained separately, depend on the operating system you are using.

Step by Step Guides

Microsoft offers a series of step by step guides that introduce you to some of the most commonly used accessibility features and show you how to use them to customize your computer. The guides provide detailed procedures on how to accomplish the customization, generally by selecting options or changing settings. This information is presented in a side-by-side format so that you can see at a glance how to use the mouse, the keyboard, or a combination of both.


Related Topics

Information on Microsoft products and services for people with disabilities

Getting more accessibility information

Utilities to enhance accessibility

Microsoft documentation in alternative formats

Full documentation on the Accessibility features available in Windows as well as step by step guides for Microsoft products are available. For information about accessibility products and aids for Windows operating systems, see the accessibility page on the Microsoft Web site. Accessibility features are also documented in the Microsoft Windows Resource Kit.

To set up accessibility options available in Control Panel, open the Accessibility Wizard

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