Q: I have Windows 10 on a 2016 HP Laptop. The lettering and slide to lower or raise the page, lettering in my mail, as well as other features are mostly in light blue and I'm 85 and have a hard time seeing them. Can they be changed to black?

– Richard N., Fort Walton Beach

A: Considering all the scenarios in which it is expected to run, the Windows operating system is amazingly configurable. These abilities include many aspects of its appearance, color being just one of them. However, merely changing the color may not be the best option if your 85-year old peepers are having a difficult time making out things on your screen. Microsoft has thoughtfully included a variety of options to assist people with special needs to more effectively access all the features of Windows.

One of the first things you should check is your screen resolution. Windows will tend to configure itself to make the optimum use of your connected equipment, which means selecting the highest possible resolution (count of picture elements, or pixels, in both the horizontal and vertical directions) that your monitor supports. Most monitors support many different resolutions, however, the higher the resolution selected for any given monitor, the smaller the screen content will appear, which naturally makes it more difficult to see. Turning the resolution down makes everything appear larger, but, of course, reduces the amount of available screen real estate. So, it’s a personal choice to achieve a compromise that’s right for you. To access the screen resolution adjustment controls, right-click anywhere on the Windows desktop (not on an icon, or the task bar) and from the context menu, select “Display Settings.” Make sure “Display” is selected on the left side, and in the right-hand column you’ll see a setting for “Resolution.” Click the drop-down, and you’ll see a list of all the resolutions available on your hardware. The system will change the setting, and you’ll have about 15 seconds to decide if you want to keep it. If not, either wait a few seconds, or click “Revert” to go back to your old setting. Once you find one you like, click “Keep Changes.” Experiment until you find the best resolution for you. Note that it may not be the one that Windows marks as “Recommended.” That recommendation merely means the highest resolution your system supports.

If you find that changing the resolution isn’t enough to clear up your problems seeing the screen content, Windows also provides high-contrast color options that are specifically designed to make the screen content easier to see. There is, of course, a compromise. Using a high-contrast option limits the user’s choice of colors – a highly personal choice in setting up Windows. However, if function is more important to you than form, you can access the high-contrast options by right-clicking the desktop and selecting “Personalize.” On the left, select “Colors” and on the right, scroll all the way to the bottom. A few lines from the end, you’ll find a link that says “High contrast settings.” Drop-down the box labeled “Choose a theme” and select one of the available options. Although the colors are pre-set, you can still override many of the color elements by clicking on them in the boxes shown. Click “Apply” to make Windows display your new settings.

One final thing that might help you out is a little applet called Magnifier. You can run it from the Windows Start menu by simply typing “Magnifier” in the search box, then selecting it from the list. Magnifier allows you to literally zoom in on the screen without changing the resolution. The display acts as a sort-of peephole to the larger underlying screen, and automatically scrolls if you move the mouse off the edge.

Hopefully these tools will help you to better see your screen for a long time to come!

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