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TopicsBasic Problems
- System requirements
- Cursor installation
- CUR-files
- ZIP-files
- 256 / True Colors cursors
- How to download files
- Cursors on your homepage  
- Desktop Themes
- Explorer icons
- MS plus!
- How to make cursors
- Aniedit-remarks
- Change ANI into CUR
- Change ANI into aniGIF
- Animated desktop icons
- Special Win NT problems  
- Cursor b/w, not animated
- Cursor flashes
- Cursor animation freezes
- Terrible cursor colors
- Cursor background black
Also available
- Anicursor FAQ

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS:     to top

Windows 95/98/NT/ME/2000/XP/Vista/Win7 ...

Animated cursors work with all Windows versions excepted Windows 3.1 or older versions.

32-bit

Animated cursors only work, if 32-bit disk and memory access in Win95/98 is running (the latest Windows versions, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Win7 ... don't know this problems). 32-bit disk and memory access is the norm if you are using protected-mode disk drivers. If your cursors are not animated, look "Settings / Control Panel / System / Performance Tab" in Win 95 / 98, where you can see the performance of the system and the access. The File System entry should read "32-bit". If you see the note "Some drives are using MS-DOS compatibility", you found the reason for not-animated cursors. You find some hints for the cause of non-32-bit access at the window too. Select an Item and click "Detail" for more information. Maybe you have loaded old 16-bit drivers/real-mode drivers (CD-Rom, Scanner, Zip Drive with installed guest.exe e.g.). In that case, exchange the old drivers for Win 95 / 98 / NT-drivers.

Here are some causes for MS-DOS compatibility mode:

Tips without warranty of any kind. The entire risk as to the re-
sults of system changings following my tips is assumed by you.

  Cause Solution
1. Windows is unable to identify a special hardware component or doesn't support it. When you start the computer, Windows looks in autoexec.bat and config.sys. If it finds a new driver or a TSR (terminate and stay resident program) on your system it doesn't recognize, it goes into MS-DOS compatibility mode.
But this driver or TSR may works in 32-bit mode ...
In that case Win 95 / 98 users can check out a little trick. You can edit the file ios.vxd in the Windows folder. It's a file in ASCII format and it includes all the drivers Win 95 / 98 "knows". Win 95 / 98 compares a new driver and the entries in ios.vxd and if it finds the driver it turns on 32-bit mode. So try to make a new entry and add the driver which causes the MS-DOS compatibility mode to the list. After that restart Win 95 / 98 and watch whether it turns on 32-bit mode. Maybe it works now ...
2. There's a hardware conflict. A common cause: hard disk controller Go "Start / Settings / Control Panel / System / Device Manager" and look for the hard disk controller.

a) there's a hard disk controller listed

OK, seems not to be a hard disk controller problem

b) there's a hard disk controller listed, but you can see a yellow exclamation mark

Well, there's a DMA-, E/A-, IRQ or Memory conflict or a driver isn't installed or there's a defect driver.
Double click this controller entry and you will see some details on the following tabs.

Go "Start / Settings / Control Panel / System / Performance Tab" , look for "Advanced settings" and click "File System". Then go to the tab "Troubleshooting" . Ensure "Disable all 32 bit protect-mode disk drivers" is unchecked.

c) no hard disk controller listed

Install the hard disk controller. Go "Start / Settings / Control Panel / Hardware" . Don't let the computer search new hardware (check 'no'), after that choose your controller on the hardware list. If your controller isn't recorded ask the controller-manufacturer for the latest Win 95 / 98 drivers.

3. Hard disk controller requires a Win 95 / 98 / NT driver which is not installed Ask your retailer, the manufacturer or search the internet for the latest driver
4. Hardware driver is not compatible (example: CD-ROM is using a real mode driver (16-bit)) Please look "Settings / Control Panel / System / Performance Tab" in Win 95 / 98, where you can see the performance of the system and the access. You find some hints for the cause of non-32-bit access at the window too. Select an Item and click "Detail" for more information.

Replace this driver by a new Win 95 / 98 / NT 32-bit driver.

Do you see a driver MBRINT13.SYS listed and did you install a special software for your hard disk ? In that case try to remove the config.sys entry for this driver and restart the system.

Is there an entry like "device=Mh32bit.386" in the system.ini ? Deactivate this entry adding a semicolon before the entry (;device=Mh32bit.386).

5. Hard disk controller is using a DOS driver, which blocks INT 13 Install Win 95 / 98 / NT compatible 32-bit driver
6. Drive is compressed using the software "Stacker" Choose: Stacker OR speed and animated cursors
7. Boot Sector Virus on your system Install and run anti-virus software

Video cards

Some video cards/display drivers don't work with animated cursors.

Symptoms:

  • b/w, non animated cursors
  • cursor freezes after a few seconds of animation
  • flashing cursors
  • In "Control Panel/Mouse/Pointer" the only file type you
    can select in the file type box is *.CUR files.

There are difficulties with Spea (original Spea-driver older than version 2.2 - use a newer Spea-driver or the original Win95/98 driver) and V7-Mercury P64, ATI cards, Diamond cards, especially Diamond Viper, Diamond Stealth with original Diamond GT driver (try to use Win95/98 original driver), Standard Display Adapter (VGA) and Super VGA e.g.. Try to install the latest drivers, Win 95 / 98 / NT compatible display drivers.

Maybe you only have to change the video mode (256 colors at least are required).

Notebooks / Laptops

On notebooks and laptops you sometimes get only black & white non-animated cursors. In this case Win 95 / 98 / NT selected the display option "laptop" as setting for notebooks and laptops. This setting doesn't support animated cursors. For making the cursors working on your system you must change the display-settings. Select VGA-Modus, Standard VGA e.g.. You can change the driver and display settings in the Win 95 / 98 / NT menu "Settings / Control Panel / Display Properties / Settings". Choose "Change Display type".

Software incompatibilities

It turns out that older ReachOut (Stac Electronics) versions and the software Stacker cause some problems. Extract from the ReachOut-readme.txt: On a Windows computer that has a color cursor, you'll see only the standard white pointer while you are running ReachOut. If you are using an animated cursor from the Windows Plus! pack, you can display this cursor properly by putting the switch colorcursor=yes in the [system] section of REACHOUT.INI. The animated cursor will then display in color, but under remote control it shows up on the Viewer as a black arrow. Many thanks to Pete Cohen, who found out this problem.

Another cause of static animated cursors is a program called Proxy Host, which allows a troubleshooter to get into your computer remotly. So, if you have that program installed, you should uninstall it after use, to ensure your cursors work correctly. Many thanks to Lona Nichelle for this information.

MS Intellipoint mouse drivers (version 1.1) can cause problems too - single cursor types are not animated. Microsoft says there are problems with point32.dll crashing 16 bit software and they offer upgrades for their Intellipoint drivers and specifically the point32.dll file. Thanks, Gary, for the information.

Virus

If your animated cursors don't work in spite of the above notes, there could exist a boot-sector virus on your computer.
Scan your computer for viruses in this case.

 

CURSOR INSTALLATION:     to top

The following is a pure text description how to install cursors. For an explanation with pictures look here.

You have to install animated cursors / cursors in Windows before you can use them. Copy the files to your choice of folder.

I. Older Windows versions:
Choose "Start/Settings/Control Panel/Mouse" - continue with III.

II. Vista and Win7
Start control panel, go to
a) "Hardware and Sound" / "Mouse" OR
b) "Appearance and Personalization" / "Change Desktop background" / "Change Mouse pointers"
- continue with III.

III. Then same handling in all Windows versions:
Click on the "Pointer" tab. Select a pointer, for example "Normal Select" or "Busy".

All Windows versions excepted Win95 know 15 different cursor types, Win95 knows only 14 several pointer types where you can select animated cursors for:

Normal SelectHelp Select Working in Background
BusyPrecision Select Text Select
HandwritingUnavailable Vertical Resize
Horizontal ResizeDiagonal Resize 1 Diagonal Resize 2
MoveAlternate Select

In all other Windows versions there's an additional cursor for Link Select (windows and active desktop).

Select a pointer, for example "Normal Select" or "Busy". Double-click on it. Then choose a cursor from your choice of folder. A single click will give you a preview in the bottom left corner. The animation is a little bit slow, but in reality the animated cursors run alot faster. Finally press "Open" and click "OK" to exit and confirm the animated cursor as your cursor.

Tip: Cursor preview

There's a simple way to see a little cursor preview. In Windows Explorer right-click the cursor file and select "Properties" in the appearing shortcut menu.

 

CUR-FILES:     to top

In some cursor collections you will find cursor files with the extension CUR. These cursor files are not animated on principle.

 

ZIP-FILES:     to top

Most animated cursors are stored as ZIP-files (xyz.zip). ZIP-files are compressed files and you have to extract them with an external program. If you compress ANI-files as ZIP-files the file-size reduces itself on about 90 percent ! For extracting you can use the programs PKUNZIP (Dos) or - much better - WINZIP (Windows) - view ZIP file contents before downloading. The programs are Shareware.

 

256 / TRUE COLORS CURSORS:     to top

First problem:
If you are using a 256 colors system you probably have little problems with 256 color cursors and high/true color cursors, the cursors may display irrelevant colors. Why ? Windows is able to display 256 colors, but this 256 colors are not the same colors everytimes. The 256 colors vary because the system searches 256 colors which are requested in a special situation. If there's a picture of a sunset on your desktop, the Windows system select many tones of red, there are maybe 200 variations of red. If there's a picture with a blue sky, there are maybe 200 variations of blue. The system selects the most appropriate 256 colors for this picture. When you want to open two or three different colored pictures, the system has problems to display proper colors.

Windows reserves only 20 standard colors for it's own interface elements, especially cursors and icons. These are everytimes the same colors and for this reason you haven't any problems with 16 color cursors. If you have a 256 color system, probably only 20 colors are perfect, the other colors are depending from other factors, wallpaper colors or picture colors e.g.. If there's a sunset, there's only a palette of red tones and in this case the 256 / true color cursor probably looks terrible. So you should run a True Color or - much better - a High Color system to avoid this problems.

Second problem:
The system can't make out the use of 256 / true color cursors automatically and/or in the Windows standard settings this option is switched off. You have to "say" it to the system / switch on the option.

Solution for Windows versions excepted Win95 or NT:

Activate option

There is a special option in "Settings / Control Panel / Display Properties / Effects" where you can switch on displaying symbols with the most highest color-mode. Enable this option.

Solution for Win95 or NT, where the option mentioned above doesn't exist:

If you own MS Plus!

If you own the MS Plus! pack it's no problem to "say" it to the system. Change the desktop settings in "Settings / Control Panel / Display Properties / Plus!". There's an option to display symbols with the most highest color-mode. Enable it.

If you own Microangelo 98

If you own the program Microangelo, open Microangelo Engineer, select "Local System Update" from the Config menu, select the Systems tab and look for the first row where you can see the crayons symbol. There you can see the "Maximum Icon Colors". In case there are only 16 click the little button and choose the option "16bit - (Displays up to 65,535 colors)" or "24bit - (Displays up to 16 million colors)" ....

Neither MS Plus! nor Microangelo

No MS Plus! or Microangelo available ? Once again no big problem. The freeware program MULEVEL (Impact Software) will allow you to use and display high-color icons and cursors on your computer providing your video driver is running in High-Color or True Color mode. It's a very simple and easy program, see the included readme.txt for further instructions. Download MULEVEL now (13 KB).

 

HOW TO DOWNLOAD FILES:     to top

How to download files on the Internet: Your web-browser usually only knows html-code-pages and text-files. He doesn't know ZIP-files or ANI-files. When you click on a linked file-name on a homepage, some browsers ask you, where to find an EXTERNAL viewer for this special files. Other browser directly ask where to download the file . Under normal circumstances there should appear simultaneous an option to "save" the file to disk (Fig. 1) or to "load" it to disk. It depends on the browser you use. There shouldn't be any problems with Netscape, MSIE or Mosaic.

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Fig. 1 - Netscape 3 message

When you click on "save" or "load" there appears the question where to save the file (which folder). Choose a folder and then the download begins. Check it out: cocacola.zip

AOL users:

Some AOL program versions tell you (after a click on a link to a zip file) that you have choosen a 'document with a content type of application/zip'. Then the program is asking 'would you like to set up an application to present this type of document ?'. Choose the option 'No' ! After that a little file manager window appears ('save as' - window) where you can select a directory or folder where to download the file. Select a folder and click OK, the download starts...

 

Tip for Netscape-users:

      You can speed up the download process of ZIP-files.

  • Netscape 2 or 3 users go to the panel "Options / General Preferences / Helpers" and select "application / x-zip-compressed" from the scrolling field (Fig. 2, no. 1). Select the action "Save to disk" (Fig. 2, no. 2). Finally click "OK".

    Full Picture 4K
    Fig. 2: Netscape 3 - "Options/General
    Preferences/Helpers" (partial view)
  • Communicator users: go "Edit / Preferences / Browser / Applications" . Highlight "WinZip File" respectively "Zip Compressed Data" and click "Edit". Choose option "Save to disk" in the "Handled by" section.
From now the hint "Unknown File Type" is dropped and only the question where to save the file (which folder) will appear.

 

CURSORS ON YOUR HOMEPAGE:     to top

Problem: You offer animated cursors on the homepage. When you click on the link to the animated cursor the browser starts reading it as a text file instead of giving you a save to disk option. The browser probably shows 100 % download, but you only can see some strange signs and the file doesn't reach your PC.

Solution: You probably have uploaded the cursor files as ANI-files, not as ZIP-files. This seems to be a general problem of ANI- and CUR-files and it's dependent on the server where you have the homepage (at AOL and Prodigy it doesn't work, at Compuserve it works e.g.). You should try to ZIP your file for making it available on the homepage. If you use ZIP-files it should work correctly.

Tip: download-code

Here are two examples how to make files available on your homepage:

<A HREF="cursor.zip">Download cursor.zip</A>
Source code, if file is stored in the same directory

<A HREF="http://www.example.com/cursor.zip">Download cursor.zip</A>

Source code, if file is stored in another folder or on another server

Information about the use of own cursors on your website instead of the windows standard cursors you will find in my tutorial "How to use your own cursor on your website"

 

DESKTOP THEMES:     to top

Windows makes it possible for you to install a complete Desktop Theme. That kind of Desktop Themes includes cursors, animated cursors, icons, sound, wallpaper and possibly screensaver to a special theme, pop groups, sports clubs, movies and the like.

If you don't like the animated cursors included in a Desktop Theme it's no problem to exchange them for other cursors. Just install the new cursors like normal animated cursors.

Desktop Theme installation:

MS Plus! owner

MS plus! owners can install a new Desktop Theme using Microsoft's Desktop Theme applet included in MS plus!.

No MS Plus! available ?

In case you don't own MS plus! you need a special program such as Free Theme or Desktop Themes.

 

EXPLORER ICONS:     to top

In Explorer, My Computer and open/save dialog boxes you normally can see an actual graphical icon along with the filename for all animated cursors (the first frame). Sometimes this functionality suddenly stops for no apparent reason and all animated cursors are accompanied by the standard "no icon" icon. To restore this functionality go into the regedit app and navigate to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT folder and find the folder for the anifile - .ANI - below all of the three letter extensions in the top of the key (Fig. 3, no. 1). Open the folder and make sure there is a subfolder called "DefaultIcon" (Fig. 3, no. 2). You won't have one but you can verify the presence by looking at the file types that are working (displaying). For the broken one create this folder and then make the default string %1 (Fig. 3, no. 3). That will fix it. Don't forget to restart Windows. Many thanks to Christopher Wilkes, who found this solution.

Full Picture
5K
Fig. 3: The Windows95 regedit app

 

MS Plus!:     to top

MS Plus!: You installed MS Plus! and your old animated cursors are lost ? MS Plus! includes optical additions and desktop-motives. The individuel desktop-motives/optical additions contain acoustic signs, pictures AND ani-cursors. If you select this MS Plus! components (by choosing automatic installation or you select the components while user-defined installation) your previous ani-cursors will be replaced. In that case you have to re-install your old ani-cursors. You should find them in the old directory. Alternative: if you saved your old cursor-set as a cursor-scheme, you have to select the old scheme only.

 

HOW TO MAKE ANIMATED CURSORS:     to top

Creating animated cursors is very easy. All you need is an animated cursor-editor. The editor has the same functions as a paint program. You create the cursor like a cartoon. The cursor consists of several singles frames and it's your task to paint this singles frames. A simple editor is Microsoft's Aniedit. Eight more professional editors are Microangelo, AX-Cursors, IconEdit Pro, Take ONE, Icon Forge, Pro Motion, Icon Easel and Icon Make It. You can download the editors via my utilities page. There are cursor editor reviews too.

More detailed information about the creation of animated cursors you will find in my online tutorial "how to make animated cursors".

 

ANIEDIT:     to top

Some remarks to Microsoft's Aniedit :

Create a new cursor

To create a new cursor select "Edit/New Frame", after that 16-Color VGA-Color (Aniedit doesn't support 256-colors cursor). Now you can see the Image-Editor, where you start your work - paint your cursor. The cursor-hot spot is placed in the top left-hand corner. You can change the hot spot with the icon looking like a star and an arrow. If you have painted the first frame, save it and go back to the Animated-Cursor-Editor (close the Image-Editor window). Now you can create the next frame with "Edit/New Frame". You see the last frame and you can change it with the Image-Editor now.

Create a new cursor - alternative

Sent by Ron:

Draw your own
1. Activate imagedit.exe and click on File/New
2. Set to 'Cursor' and 'VGA 16 Color 32X32'
3. Draw your first frame of a series of 2 or more
4. Save the frame you drew as NAME.cur
5. Repeat steps 3-4 for each frame desired, a minimum of 2 frames are required
6. When all the frames are drawn exit and activate aniedit.exe
7. Click on File/Import Frame and bring in the first frame of your series. You can
    set the time of frame exposure
8. Repeat 7. until all your frames are loaded
9. Save the animated cursor of the frames as NAME.ani in a directory under
    Windows/Cursors/Animated (that you have set up prior to this)

Use Bitmaps or PCX files

Sent by Ron:

You work with an existing image in Bitmap or PCX
1. Go to MSPaint and import the PCX or BMP picture and resave it as
    a 16 color bitmap. Bring it into Paint.
2. Click on Image/Attributes and determine it's width and height
3. Calculate the reduction in width and height to make the image 32X32
4. Use Mage/Shrink-Stretch and reduce the image to 32X32 or less
5. Use the 'Capture Image' tool and surround the 32X32 picture. Cut the
     picture to the Clipboard
6. Go to Windows Explorer and click on imagedit.exe to activate it
7. Click on File/New, set to 'Cursor' and to 'VGA 16 Color 32X32'
8. Paste from the Clipboard the picture you cut
9. Save the frame
10. Modify the frame for the second frame and save it etc.
11. Exit and go to aniedit.exe (see 'Create a new cursor -
      alternative' section 6.)

Transparency

When you start the Image-Editor there's a dark, usually greenish background. This greenish background is transparent later and when you paint a colored pixel, you can see only this pixel later in the finished cursor. If you make a mistake and paint a pixel, where you want to have a transparent pixel, use the undo-function. If it's already too late for using the undo-function: choose the color below the name "Screen" in the window "Color Palette" of the Image Editor (Fig. 4). This is the color "transparency". Now you can use the tools of the toolbox to paint transparent color.

Aniedit
Fig. 4: Image Editor - Color
Palette (partial view)

Download

To download Aniedit.zip visit my "utilities" page

 

CHANGE .ANI INTO .CUR FILES:     to top

It depends on the cursor editor you own.

If you own Icon Forge, Icon Easel, Icon Edit Pro, Take ONE :

Open the ANI file with the Animated Cursor Editor. Select the single frame you want to convert into a cur file and save the frame as cur file using the "Save As" - menu.

If you own the Microangelo 98:

Open the ANI file with Microangelo Animator. Choose the frame you want to convert into a cur file. Select the entire grid area using the tool "Selection Rectangle". Then use the copy function - "Edit/Copy". After that start Microangelo Studio and open a new file ("File/New"). Choose the option "Cursor" then and paste the selected area with "Edit/Paste". Finally save this frame as cur using "File/Save as".

If you own Aniedit:

Open the ANI file with the Animated Cursor Editor. Select the single frame you want to convert into a cur file and double-click on it. The Image Editor starts. If you don't have the Image Editor, download Aniedit from my site, where this program is included. After that save the frame as cur file with the menu "File/Save As".
Remark: Aniedit doesn't work with 256-color or High/True Color cursors.

If you own AX-Cursors:

Open the ANI file, copy the frame you want as cur, open a new static cursor and paste the frame.

Another simple solution:

Open the ani file using a cursor editor, select the frame you want to have as non-animated cursor, remove all the other frames and save the file with the remaining single frame as ani file. Install this file as ani file and.... it's an non-animated cursor !

             You can download the cursor editors via my utilities page.

 

CHANGE .ANI INTO ANIMATED GIF's:     to top

It's possible to convert animated cursors into animated GIFs and the other way round using Take ONE and Pro Motion. Please visit the Take ONE homepage and the Pro Motion homepage for further information. A good freeware software is AniTuner.

 

ANIMATED DESKTOP ICONS:     to top

There's a little program that animates icons on the desktop. You can also use GIF files or animated .GIF files on the desktop. It's called Icon Hear-iT 98. More information and download on the Icon Hear-iT 98 homepage.

 

SPECIAL WIN NT PROBLEMS:     to top

True Color cursors

Unfortunately True Color cursors don't run
properly on Win NT machines where they
display spoiling black pixels instead of
transparent pixels. As long as there aren't
any transparent parts it's no problem.
example gif
TrueColor cursor 
in Windows 98 
example gif
TrueColor cursor
in Windows NT

Oversized cursors

In all Windows versions excepted NT you can use 'oversized' cursors of all color depths. In oversized cursors there's a moving hotspot in each single cursor frame (not only in the top left corner). But on your desktop the hotspot doesn't move, so the the remainder of the cursor frame moves around the steady hotspot and for this reason the cursor appears to be 64x64 pixels instead of the normal 32x32 pixels in case you place the hotspot in each frame corner by turns (Fig. 5).

Win NT allows oversized cursors too on principle, but only for cursors of up to 256 colors. For True Color cursors there's always a 32x32 pixels surface area. This means: it's not the remainder of the cursor frame which moves, it's the hotspot itself (Fig. 6).
Some cursors on Dierk's list were created with this oversize effect. Win NT users cannot see this effect / use this cursors as long as they are True Color cursors - most of them are not.

Win 98 cursor
Fig. 5: Win XP over-
sized cursor
Win NT cursor
Fig. 6: Win NT oversized
True Color cursor

Anicursor
Anicursor startpage
Cursor FAQ
Animated Cursor FAQ  

 
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