Struggling with slow scrolling or silent motion? Are default settings in Windows annoying lemmings? Fear not, there is an easy way to master a bad mouse!
Here’s a quick and informative guide to changing mouse sensitivity in Windows.
Adjust basic mouse movement
When we talk about mouse sensitivity, we are referring to how much the cursor moves on the screen when you move the mouse in a certain direction. Low sensitivity means that you need to move the mouse around a lot, in order to make the cursor change places.
At the other end of the scale, a small nudge of your hand can cause the cursor to fly to the corners of the screen. You may want this to happen, or something completely different, but whatever you want, there are two ways to change that in Windows 10 and 11.
Let’s start with the simplest way: tap Windows key And the I together (or click Settings gear symbol in the Start menu). Choose from here Bluetooth and devices In the left menu, then File the mouse option in the main menu.
You’ll be presented with a very basic settings screen, but this makes it easy to quickly change the sensitivity. Mouse cursor speed has a slider, it ranges from 1 to 20 (slowest to fastest) – numbers will appear when you click the slider/button.
Moving this command will instantly change the sensitivity, so if you accidentally drop it to the slowest speed, it will take a few minutes for it to get back to the right level!
It’s always best to make small changes to start with and then test them out, in a variety of situations (like browsing the web, using a productivity app) to see how it all looks.
There are also options to adjust the sensitivity of the mouse wheel, but before we do that, let’s check out the other way to change mouse settings.
The older Windows Control Panel, accessed by mouse cursor speed, does exactly the same things as Windows Settings, but we find it a little more informative, and it has additional things you can change.
Click on Additional mouse settings option and a new window, titled Mouse Properties, will open—we’ll refer to this method from now on.
Select the Pointer Options tab At the top you will see a slider for the cursor speed. Move it to the level you want to test, click Progressing button, and then you will use the new sensitivity.
Note that these two methods change the same settings – one will override the other, but the second method always needs you to click Apply or OK to make it work.
To promote or not to promote?
While we’re here, let’s cover the Improve pointer accuracy Selection. Activate this, by clicking on the box and then pressing Apply, then dynamically Changes mouse sensitivity. So, the faster you move the mouse, the faster the cursor will move, and vice versa.
Faster is actually the wrong word to use here – it should be acceleration.
So if you go from moving slowly to fast, as you speed up your movement, the sensitivity will increase and the cursor will change after that. This can make it somewhat difficult to predict exactly where the pointer will end up.
We actually recommend leaving this option disabled, simply because the more you get used to using your mouse with fixed sensitivity, the easier it is to “learn” how the cursor reacts to your input.
Many PC games have the same setting (mouse acceleration) and we recommend that you disable it as well. It’s just better to increase the overall input sensitivity, than to get overclocking. While we’re still in the Mouse Control Panel, let’s check out some of the other options.
Get in control with your own DPI
Another important mouse setting related to pointer speed or mouse sensitivity is called up DPI (points per inch). The most popular feature in games and enthusiast level devices, this setting is not controlled within Windows, but in the application that comes with the mouse. On some models, it can also be controlled at the hardware level using the buttons on the mouse itself.
DPI is in essence the number of pixels on the screen that the cursor should move per one inch of mouse movement. The higher the DPI value, the more pixels the cursor will move to, and vice versa.
So if you find the motion too slow, try raising the DPI, and if it’s too fast, lower the value. For example, some professional players prefer to use ultra-low DPI to improve their precise control over the accuracy of the crosshairs in the FPS game.
This means that their arms have to move in large arcs across the desk, in order to sweep across the camera, which is why other gamers go with a much higher DPI value, needing only a little flick of their wrist to get the movement they want.
There is no “best” DPI setting, just as there is no proper pointer speed setting – it’s all about personal preference, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Even basic mice usually come with a wheel, tucked between the main buttons. Not only can this function act as an additional button, but spinning the wheel back and forth will scroll the contents of the window up and down.
How far it will scroll is set in Control Panel – Choose File Wheel tab And you’ll see options for vertical and horizontal scrolling (the latter requires appropriate hardware support, though).
By default, vertical scrolling is set to 3 lines per single spin of the wheel, so if you want to be more sensitive, increase the number of lines. Or, by selecting the second option, you can make the wheel scroll entire pages. We usually like to tweak this on a high-precision mouse to about 9 lines per pass.
But, just as with pointer sensitivity, there is no proper setting here – it’s all about what works for you.
Of course, if you’ve never changed any of these values over your years of using Windows, you’ll be more comfortable with the default settings.
Some of the things we covered (pointer sensitivity and scroll speed) can be changed on the mouse itself – it just depends What model do you have.
Logitech MX Master 3For example, it has a wheel that can be set to scroll freely, rather than one degree at a time, simply by pressing a button behind the steering wheel. Cue the instant dynamic scrolling sensitivity!
Other mice, like Razer’s DeathAdder V2.0.0 Updateit has a lot of extra buttons but rather they are fixed in functionality, you can change what you do via the manufacturer’s software.
These programs always override any setting in Windows, so if you want some consistency with your changes, it’s always best to use the same method: Windows Settings, the old Control Panel, or the mouse maker app.
You may want to experiment a bit with mouse sensitivity, to get it just right for your needs.
So experiment – nothing will be permanently damaged or broken, and you just might find the perfect setting for mouse mastery!
Masthead credit: Mar for games