Replicating the RISC OS mouse pointer on Mac OS and Windows
There is a lot of nostalgia associated with retro computing, getting the chance to relive the halcyon day’s of our youth when we first got the chance to play with a computer can be a real buzz. But nostalgia is rose-tinted. The user experience of an Amiga or RISC OS, some of the first graphical user interfaces is arcane by today’s standards.
But, what if we could introduce a bit of that retro feel without the pain of trying to use older GUIs on a daily basis? - How about starting with the mouse pointer.
Of all the retro GUI’s I’ve had the chance to play with only two had cool mouse pointers, they were RISC OS and the Amiga. RISC OS has this amazing two tone blue mouse pointer and of course the Amiga had a red one.
I use both a Mac and a Windows machine on a nearly daily basis and I decided to change my mouse pointer to look like the iconic blue one from RISC OS.
RISC OS Mouse Pointer on Mac OS
Getting this look at feel on Mac OS is actually surprisingly easy. Open system settings, goto accessibility, then display. Here you can select the mouse colours.
Heads Up: The Mac’s mouse pointer will always look its traditional black fill with white outline when the mouse passes over this window. So when you are changing colours you’ll only notice the effect when you move the mouse away from this window. This caught me out at first.
Now to change the colours…
RISC OS Pointer Outline Colour
The outline of the RISC_OS mouse pointer is a lovely day-glow blue…
RISC OS Pointer fill Colour
The interior of the mouse pointer is a dark midnight blue colour.
The RISC OS Pointer on Windows
I think Windows 10 offered a colour picker for the mouse cursor, but I can’t remember. I’m currently using Windows 11, and well this solution works for most versions of Windows. Rather than using a colour picker, I’ve designed a cursor that replicates the RISC OS cursor. You can grab this here pointer here.
Windows has one pointer (.cur) file for every mouse pointer shape. This means you can really customise everything and if you’ve ever used Window Blinds you’ll know how far you can go.
Anyway, got to control planel, then search for “mouse” and select “Change mouse settings”.
This will pull up the following dialog.
Click “Normal Select” then click “Browse…” select the
risc_arrow.cur you downloaded… and…
Ok, I admit I’ve not gone through and redrawn all of the Windows mouse pointers in RISC OS blue, but for most of what I want, that works ok. If you’d like to help out and start redrawing the Windows mouse pointers, please do get in touch. You can find me here https://mastodon.social/@mcwoods . Perhaps we can work together on it?
Introducing the GUI Gallery
If you’ve been around and used PC’s while the foundations of the modern GUI was laid down then you will love The GUI Gallery. It includes screenshots of nearly every early computing GUI, from GEOS on the C64 through to Windows 11 today.
Mouse Cursor Colour
Using the GUI Gallery I was about to take look at old GUI’s and check out the various mouse styles. What really struck me was how the vast majority of GUI’s stuck with either white or black mouse pointers. Only two broke the mould, the Amiga and RISC OS.
|Black interior, White outline||White interior and Black outline||Colours|
|GEOS||Visi On||(Red) Amiga|
|GEM / Atari TOS||Windows 3.1||(Blue) RISC OS|
|Apple 2 Desktop||BeOS / Haiku|
|Mac OS 9||QNX|
|Mac OS X|