Wondering whether or not you should turn off mouse acceleration? In this guide, we go over what mouse acceleration is, why you might want to turn it off, and how you can disable it.
If you spend long enough in the world of gaming, you’ll inevitably hear about “mouse acceleration.” While pro gamers rant about the importance of turning off your mouse acceleration, this setting still probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Mouse acceleration directly affects how quickly your mouse cursor moves when you move your physical mouse. When you move your mouse quickly, the cursor will move faster to catch up. The cursor movement will also adjust its movement to the size of your screen. This adjustment can cause the cursor to move further than you’ve pushed the physical mouse, which can cause inaccuracies. As you can imagine, these inaccuracies can be a problem for specific games, like first-person shooters.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Turning Off Mouse Acceleration
However, not everyone benefits from turning off their mouse acceleration. There are a few points you should keep in mind before deciding whether or not to toggle this setting off.
Advantages of Keeping Mouse Acceleration On
Mouse acceleration was designed for browsing the internet and working on simple programs like Microsoft Word. And, for these purposes, mouse acceleration is excellent.
Have you ever tried landing your mouse pointer on something on the corner of your screen, only to run out of room on your mouse pad? This awkward and annoying situation is what mouse acceleration is trying to prevent. Mouse acceleration causes your cursor movement to either be slow and precise or fast and large, based on how fast you move your mouse. It helps you reach the other side of your screen without needing to pick your mouse up.
If you’re browsing on the internet or working in an office, there are very few reasons to turn off mouse acceleration. However, gaming is a different story.
Disadvantages of Keeping Mouse Acceleration On
Mouse acceleration can gravely impact your gaming performance on games that require accuracy and precision. If you’re trying to improve your K/D ratio in an online shooter, you probably want to turn off mouse acceleration.
Mouse acceleration severely impacts aiming accuracy because it can make your mouse cursor move more or less than you’ve moved your physical mouse. If you move your mouse quickly—as we all do in first-person shooters—mouse acceleration will cause your mouse to move further than you expect, causing you to overshoot your target.
Mouse acceleration is designed to make smaller, slower movements accurate, while faster changes get your cursor from one side of the screen to the other. In the middle of a tense game, no one moves their mouse with small, slow movements, so mouse acceleration isn’t going to make your movements accurate. As you can imagine, this directly affects your accuracy.
Furthermore, mouse acceleration can also confuse your muscle memory. When your mouse moves at different rates, your brain is going to have a hard time figuring out how much it needs to move the mouse to hit a particular location on your screen. This inconsistent movement is going to make you even less accurate.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Turning off Mouse Acceleration
At the very least, every gamer should test turning off mouse acceleration for a few games to see if it affects their performance.
- Open your control panel. You can do this by clicking the windows button in the lower left-hand corner and typing “control panel” in the search bar. The control panel app should pop up in the results. Alternately, you can go to the File Explorer at the bottom of your screen, but this is often slower.
- Open Hardware and Sound. (As of the current update, it is the third option down on the left with the image of a printer next to it.
- Open Devices and Printers. It is probably the first option.
- Find your mouse among your other devices. Your mouse might show up as “mouse,” “USB device,” “Bluetooth device,” or something similar. Mine showed up as a “unifying receiver.” Once you find it, right-click on it and select “mouse settings.” If you’re having difficulty finding it, start right-clicking on stuff until “mouse settings” is an option.
- Click the pointer options tab along the top of the screen.
- The first section on this options page should be “motion.” At the bottom of that section, you’ll find a tick box called “enhanced pointer precision.” That box is your mouse acceleration option. Uncheck it.
- Click “Apply” or “OK.”
- Go to the Start Menu in the bottom left corner. Find the Control Panel option and click on it.
- Type “mouse” into the search field at the top. Sit back and enjoy a moment of relaxation because it’s probably going to take a minute.
- Eventually, the option for a mouse should pop up. Click on it.
- Click on Pointer Options at the top.
- Find the “Enhanced pointer precision” option in the first section. Untick it.
- Click on “Apply” and “OK”
But My Aim Didn’t Improve?
Very few people are going to see their instant improvement in their in-game performance after they change their settings. Improvement after turning off mouse acceleration relies on the redevelopment of muscle memory. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably adapted to playing with mouse acceleration turned on, and turning it off will throw you off for a little while.
So, before you turn mouse acceleration off, it’s a good idea to take note of how you’re currently performing in games. Then, you can turn mouse acceleration off for a couple of weeks and, after you’ve adapted, compare your “mouse accelerated” performance to your “non-mouse accelerate performance.”