How to change mouse polling rate?

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Mouse frequency or mouse hz is the rate at which the mouse sends information, in Hz, to the operating system. The higher this number, the more updates you can get from your mouse – but most applications setting this to max without good reason. Let’s see how to change mouse polling rate.

What is a mouse polling rate?

It’s the rate at which the mouse will send information to your operating system.

Polling is a process that starts when you move your mouse. The computer will ask “is this my user moving the mouse or is it just some environmental movement like fan?”. When you stop moving your mouse, the computer will again poll – “did he move his mouse or did something else cause movement”.

– In milliseconds (ms) is how often this process happen, and polling rate is simply number of polls per second.

– Polling occurs every time you change location on screen because of mouse movement. If you’re clicking buttons or scrolling down with wheel/mouse, no polling occurs.

To better understand how it works in practice let me explain what happens when you’re playing a FPS.

How to change mouse polling rate

FPS mouse control example:

While you are playing a FPS, your mouse will send location information to your PC about every 100ms or 10Hz. If you lose a frame rate (drop below 60fps), it means that the operating system didn’t get information from the mouse in time – so it doesn’t know where your good ol’ cursor is for the last frame and has to “predict” its location. In reality, this occurs even if fps drop to 45fps.

Let’s read: How it feels to chew 5 gum

How to change mouse polling rate?

Changing mouse polling rate should be done very carefully. You should start by lowering frequency slowly, maybe 5-10% at once and see how it feels to you – then adjust accordingly.

Windows 7/8:

1) Go to Control Panel -> Mouse / Keyboard and select the tab Pointer Options.

2) In that window click on Additional mouse options. (If you don’t have this tab, try searching for additional mouse settings .)

3) In the new window click on Device Settings and change the number in box under Report Rate.

4) Again go back to Control Panel -> Mouse / Keyboard -> Pointer Options, now your pointer speed can be adjusted with sliders again. Experiment until it feels right to you.

Windows XP:

1) Go to Control Panel -> Mouse and select the tab Pointer Options.

2) In that window click on Device Settings and change the number in box under Polling Rate.

3) Again go back to Control Panel -> Mouse, now your pointer speed can be adjusted with sliders again. Experiment until it feels right to you.

Keyboard keys for changing mouse polling rates: Yes, there are keyboard shortcuts that can help you adjust mouse hz without having to go through all those windows 🙂 Windows 7/8 – Ctrl + Shift+ D will lower mouse frequency, while Ctrl + Shift+ P will increase it! Ensure that Show Administrative Tools is enabled in Start menu > Control Panel.

Windows XP – Ctrl + Shift+ D will lower mouse frequency, while Ctrl + Shift+ P will increase it! Press those keys and type mmsys.cpl in Run dialog box that should show up for you to access Mouse Properties window directly (without going through Control Panel).

Mac OS X – Cmd key with +/- can change mouse polling rate 😀 Also there’s a tool called BetterTouchTool that allows keyboard control of almost every aspect of touchpad mouse, as well as creating macros etc. If you’ve never used it, download an app from its website and play around with available options – I’m sure you’ll find something useful.

Why change mouse polling rate?

The higher the frequency at which your mouse sends position data to operating system, faster it will move on screen – so it makes sense that higher mouse frequency is usually preferred, right? Wrong!

If a high polling rate has an impact on how quickly your mouse will move, why then is it not recommended to set mouse polling rate to max (100-500Hz) in all applications? Well, here’s the issue with high mouse hz: you lose precision. While playing FPS games your aim can suffer from too much movement of cursor as operating system still updates location based on previous data from mouse even though you haven’t moved it yet. The same thing happens in web browsing – if you’re scrolling down/up and suddenly change direction (left or right), computer will continue updating location based on first direction and before actual movement occurs. This sensitivity towards change of direction is also known as mouse acceleration.

And that’s not all – you can actually experience frame drops (polling rate slows down because the operating system has to process the information more often to compensate for increased frequency) while playing FPS, so your aim suffers even more – you’re probably familiar with “laggy mouse” if it happens to you.

How to check current mouse polling rate?

How to change mouse polling rate

You can find this value only in Windows XP, but not anymore in Windows 7/8:

1) Go to Control Panel -> Mouse and select the tab Pointer Options.

2) Find a line labelled Polling Rate and record its value (you may need to change your pointer speed to see it). That number is the mouse polling rate. You can then adjust it if you wish.

If you have other useful tips on how to improve your gameplay or want to share how mouse rate changed your experience, please leave them in the comments! 🙂 Good luck!

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