Many of us don’t think much about what a mouse is. It’s just a device we move to point and click on our computer, right? It can’t get any more complicated than that. But the truth is, the mouse is more than just that tool. High-level experts, especially pro-gamers, rely on the mouse to earn money. And because of this, the mouse must behave according to their preferred specifications.
One such way to do this is by turning off mouse acceleration. If you play video games or even use a computer, chances are you’ve come across this. It is often just a tick-box or option on the settings screen. And if you’re like the average gamer, you don’t know what its purpose is.
So, before we learn how to turn off mouse acceleration, let’s first figure out precisely what it is. What advantages and disadvantages mouse acceleration has. And learn why pro-gamers turn it off to achieve feats the average gamer can’t.
What Exactly Is Mouse Acceleration?
A typical dictionary defines acceleration as “an increase in speed over time by something.” Just like in a car, for example. Step on the gas pedal gradually, and the speed increases slowly. Step on the gas hard, and the car will speed up quicker.
Mouse acceleration is similar to that. It means that the quicker you move the actual mouse across the surface, the faster the mouse pointer moves on the computer screen. This is what allows regular computer work to be done more efficiently. Because the distance traveled by the pointer is not dependent on how far you move the mouse, instead, it’s how fast you do it. If you need to go from one end of the screen to another, all you need is to flick the mouse quickly.
This is why, by default, mouse acceleration is turned on in most operating systems. When you’re using your computer and have limited space for your mouse, it works in your favor. This is because, if you have to move your mouse cursor 24 inches across the screen, you don’t need to move your mouse 24 inches. All you need to do is to move it fast. It is a space and energy saver. Not to mention, repetitive but straightforward tasks become more manageable. Examples are surfing the net, moving single files from folder to folder, and using a photo or video editor for work.
But if it’s easier to move the mouse with less effort when mouse acceleration is turned on, why do pro-gamers turn it off?
The Disadvantages Of Mouse Acceleration
If you’ve ever seen someone (or been in a situation) move their mouse, lift it, then return it to where they started to shift it again, that’s probably a mouse with low sensitivity settings. Or with mouse acceleration turned off. It’s such a hassle to be in that situation. So why then would you ever turn mouse acceleration off?
The short answer is that mouse acceleration messes up how your brain processes movements. Quite a statement to make, yes?
The long answer is that when it comes to specific tasks, like pro-gaming, mouse acceleration has some disadvantages, like:
- Inconsistent and inaccurate movement – For many games, especially player vs. player games like first-person shooters, mouse acceleration can mess up aiming. How? Remember that mouse acceleration makes your mouse cursor move depending on the speed of the mouse. In a high-octane game, this could happen. Your brain only wants to move 5 inches to the right. But because of adrenaline, you jerk the mouse a little too much, and you find your aim to be 10 inches off. You get shot by your opponent, and you lose the match.
- This is how it messes up with how your brain processes movements. In the real world, you move your hand 5 inches; your hand moves 5 inches. In the digital world, with mouse acceleration on, your hand moves 5 inches, and the result is different. It doesn’t become about a specific location or distance anymore. It becomes just speed and direction. And that’s not how body movement in the real world works.
- The human brain can only process so much. In pro-gaming, it has to take into account the transition of physical movement to digital speed and distance of mouse acceleration, which takes away precious brain processing power from other, more critical tasks.
- It inhibits muscle memory development in gamers – Pro-gaming is now widely considered as a sport. Esports leagues and tournaments now some of the most significant sporting events in the world. With so much on the line, pro-gamers train their bodies, just like any other athlete in any pro-sport. And just like any sport, one key factor in cultivating the necessary skills in pro-gaming is muscle memory.
- What is muscle memory? Essentially, it is making constant movements automatic, requiring no significant critical thinking to execute. Not only that, but this movement also becomes accurate over time. And it allows the person who has developed the movement with muscle memory to keep repeating it over and over with the same result.
- Think of basketball players like Derrick Rose. He is famously known for spending the entire summer shooting 6,000 shots per week. 500 per practice session.
- The human body can do amazing things if it is trained with enough repetitions in very similar conditions.
- This is where mouse acceleration becomes a disadvantage. Because mouse acceleration can have such an inconsistent movement every time you use the mouse, it doesn’t help develop muscle memory. Move the mouse at a certain speed in a specific direction, and the results will be slightly off every time. This means, as a gamer, it will be tough to instinctively act a certain way because you are not confident that the results will be as you want it to be. And when it comes to the pro-gaming scene, even a quarter-inch off-target could mean the difference between coming home with thousands of dollars of prize money, or empty-handed.
Picture this scenario:
You found yourself competing in a first-person shooter game with some friends. The stakes are high -whoever loses buys everyone a round of beer in the nearby bar- and you want to bring your A-game. When the game begins, you quickly run to your favorite sniping spot, with your favorite gun, and crouch in waiting. Your senses are heightened; you’re waiting for any subtle movement on the screen or some rustling on your headphones. And then, it happens. You hear footsteps. You know from which direction they’re coming from. And you’re primed and ready to shoot first.
You make your move; you move your mouse fast to catch your would-be attacker off guard. But all of a sudden, as time slows down in exciting moments like this, it hits you. The horrific fact that while you only intended to move the mouse precisely 6.2 inches to the right, your crosshairs moved so much more. You didn’t check before the game. You didn’t disable it before accepting the challenge. Your mouse acceleration is on, and now your aim is way off. You see your opponent raise their gun towards you, you try to correct your target, but it’s too late. You hear the bang, your view tilts at an angle, looking up from the floor. You just lost and are going to be down a couple of bucks to buy everyone a round of drinks.
If only you knew how to turn off mouse acceleration!
Difference Between Mouse Acceleration, Pointer Speed, and DPI
Before we get back to the brass and tacks of how to turn off mouse acceleration, there is one more topic you’ll want to review. This will allow you to make the most out of your mouse for your pro-gaming dreams. It will also give you the necessary insight to make the best decision possible when choosing a gaming mouse or when configuring your own.
Now that we know what mouse acceleration is, let’s take a look at two other mouse factors: pointer speed and DPI.
Mouse pointer speed – as the name implies, is the speed in which the mouse cursor will travel per inch of movement done with the physical mouse. This is different from mouse acceleration as the number of pixels per inch is fixed, depending on the setting. In Windows, making the setting less or higher than the middle option is not ideal for pro-gaming. Making it less means the OS throws away data. Making it more, and it extrapolates data from your input.
This is similar to how video downscaling or upscaling works. If you take a video and reduce its resolution, and then try to resize it back to the original, the quality will be lower. Similarly, if you take a low-resolution video and try to scale it high, the resolution will increase, but the quality will not.
So for pro-gaming, mouse speed should be left in the middle setting, or at 100% in Windows.
Mouse DPI – the acronym stands for “dots per inch,” which is similar in concept to image quality settings. This setting is quite tricky and confusing as many companies and mouse makers use DPI as a gimmick term to sell their stuff. Essentially, it is how many pixels the mouse cursor will move, per 1 inch moved by the physical mouse.
For example, a mouse set at 800 DPI moved 2 inches will see the cursor move by 1600 pixels. This is assuming that the mouse, as mentioned above, the pointer speed setting is at the default 100% or the middle setting.
How is this different from the mouse pointer speed setting then? The difference lies in the actual amount of data gathered. Remember that mouse pointer speed in OS’s are merely decreasing or extrapolation of data. Mouse DPI is often based on the type of hardware sensor inside the mouse, its real data gathering rate (or polling rate), and the correct drivers. A right gaming mouse will give accurate data of movement every time.
This is where it gets tricky. Most manufacturers are marketing the idea that the higher the maximum DPI of a mouse, the better it is. They made it appear that a mouse capable of handling higher DPI is more accurate and more top quality for gaming. In reality, it is very tricky to figure out if the maximum DPI is really gathered data, or just extrapolated. Similar to how an OS’s mouse pointer speed extrapolates data at higher settings.
For example, a cheaper affordable gaming mouse could show on the label that it can deliver 9000 DPI. Sounds quite high, and to the uninitiated, it seems like this is the mouse to buy. However, that 9000 DPI could be achieved by merely multiplying 400 DPI by 22.5. Data is extrapolated and multiplied.
This may all seem like it won’t matter much at all since the 9000 DPI mark is still achieved. However, for pro-gaming, where every half-inch is essential, the effect could be felt. Not to mention for unsuspecting buyers, they could be paying good money for a feature that is actually “cheated.”
It can be tough to figure out which gaming mouse products deliver what they say. But with the right reviews, it can make the process easier.
Now, what do these two factors have to do with how to turn off mouse acceleration, you might ask?
Setting Pointer Speed and DPI With Mouse Acceleration Off For Optimized Gaming
The mouse DPI and pointer speed are crucial factors in that they will determine how responsive your mouse will be. Given that you will learn how to turn off mouse acceleration, you have to make these two settings constant regularly. This is to develop the muscle memory necessary for competitive gaming prowess.
For mouse pointer speed, as stated above, it is commonly recommended to keep that setting at 100% for Windows. Or the default middle setting. This will ensure you don’t discard data and extrapolate information. Easy peasy.
The more personalized part is setting the DPI of the mouse. This will be different for each person, depending on preference.
A lower DPI means the mouse will move “slower,” in that it will travel a smaller amount of pixels per inch the physical mouse travels. The higher you go, the “faster” the mouse will move. The difference is that this value is fixed per set, and won’t “speed up” unpredictably with mouse acceleration turned off.
So which DPI setting should you pick?
As cliche as it sounds, it depends on you and your preference.
If you are a heavy-handed gamer and find yourself making large, aggressive movements with your hands, then a lower DPI works best for you. This will mean that, when aiming in an fps game, sudden significant jerky movements won’t move your crosshair away from the target that much.
If you’re a gamer that prefers and is capable of smaller, more precise movements that yield more significant results, then a higher DPI is for you. This way, a 2-inch action would be enough to move the crosshair to a target far to the right or left.
But if you still have no idea if you’re heavy-handed or a subtle gamer, a standard test is the “360 test.” To do this test, measure how much distance the mouse travels for your crosshair or your character to rotate 360 degrees around. Get the baseline of that, and see if you’re comfortable with it. If you feel the turn is too slow, then you need to set your DPI higher. If it’s too fast and you prefer more control, turn the DPI lower.
If you’re still undecided exactly what settings you should have, then you can always copy what the pros and champions use. You can easily find the settings that pro-gamers use depending on the game. There are websites like On-Winning.com that show this. You’ll see that while there is an average range for the pros at 800 to 1600 DPI, this isn’t always the case. Some pros use 400 DPI but adjust the sensitivity settings higher. Some use a higher DPI but set the sensitivity lower.
However, it all boils down to what feels best for you. You can take all the tests you want, copy all the settings of the champions. But if it doesn’t feel right, then it doesn’t feel right. The only way to have the right combination is to keep trying different mixes for yourself until you find the Goldilocks “just right” settings.
Different Settings For Different Roles
There is also no rule saying that your settings have to be the same the entire time you are playing games. It doesn’t even have to be the same while playing the same game too. You can use different settings for different games or different roles within a game.
For example, if you’re playing a character that snipes from afar, and requires exact aiming, a lower DPI setting might be what you need. This allows the highly sensitive nature of zooming in from far away to be much more controlled and less susceptible to sudden movements.
If your character is a front-line fighter that does the work by quickly turning and fighting, then a high DPI setting is better. It allows you to switch swiftly targets with minimal effort and keep the action going. With no mouse acceleration, you control exactly where the crosshair goes.
Modern gaming mouse options allow you to switch DPI at a literal click of a button. This allows you to quickly adapt to any role switch within the game and keep performing at the highest level possible.
Now, of course, your game will also determine your settings. FPS games will behave differently from MOBAs and will require a different level of control. 3rd person RPGs also have various controls that might need you to switch your settings.
But whatever the game is and whatever settings you may need. The one constant throughout all of it is that they will all work best without mouse acceleration.
How To Turn Off Mouse Acceleration
Now that we know what mouse acceleration does, its disadvantages, and how it works alongside mouse pointer speed and mouse DPI. As mentioned, how to turn off mouse acceleration is critical in playing like a pro.
There are several ways to do this, but the easiest way is to disable it in the OS. It is slightly different depending on which OS you are using, whether it is Windows 7, 8, or 10. Or if you’re a Mac gamer, how to turn it off on Mac OS. You can even learn how to turn off mouse acceleration on Linux if you are gaming on that OS.
How To Turn Off Mouse Acceleration on Windows 7/8
- Click Start Menu. From there, click on the Control Panel option. Inside, click Appearance, and Personalization.
- Click on Display, and then look for Advanced Settings. Click that.
- There should be a tab that says “Troubleshoot” located on the top right. Go to that tab.
- Once inside, you’ll see a meter that says, “Hardware Acceleration.” Drag the meter to the left to turn it off.
- Once done, click Apply. Click OK when prompted.
- To lock in the changes, click the Start button, and restart the computer.
How to turn off mouse acceleration on Windows 10
- Follow the same steps for Windows 7/8 to get to Control Panel.
- From Control Panel, click Hardware and Sound. Go to Devices and Printers.
- From the list that appears, choose “mouse.”
- From there, you will see Mouse Properties. Inside, you will see a tab called Pointer Options.
- There is an option called Enhance Pointer Precision. Uncheck that box.
- Click Apply. When prompted, click OK.
- Reboot the computer to lock in the changes.
How to turn off mouse acceleration on Mac OS X
Note that turning off the mouse acceleration in OS X for Mac gaming is a little trickier than turning it off in Windows. But if you follow this set of instructions, you will be able to do so correctly.
- Press “Command-Space.” This will open the Spotlight. From there, type “Terminal.” The Terminal icon will appear. Click that to launch the terminal command line window.
- Type (or copy and paste from here) the line “defaults write.GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling -1” without the quotation marks.
- Press Enter. The command will run if typed correctly, and you’ll feel the mouse not accelerate when you move it anymore.
How to turn off mouse acceleration in Linux
Turning off mouse acceleration in Linux is similar to how you do it in Mac OS X, but requires a little bit more coding and more steps. It requires you to create a file “50-mouse-acceleration.conf”. This file will be pathed, depending on the Linux type you’re using for gaming. For Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and the like, it will be /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/ and on Arch Linux it is /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/.
You will need to use a text editor like Nano, which should be present in all kinds of Linux anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
How to turn off mouse acceleration in games
Now just because your OS has mouse acceleration disabled already doesn’t mean you can’t turn it on depending on the program, you’re using. In some games, mouse acceleration is an option that is turned on by default. Fortnite is an infamous example of this. Fortnite forces mouse acceleration to turn back on even if your OS has already disabled it. It can be quite annoying, especially if you’re already used to acceleration turned off.
And there will be some other games that behave the same way. It will take too long a list to show how to turn off mouse acceleration in every game out there. But the method we will show you with Fortnite as an example will be very similar to how to turn off mouse acceleration in other games.
This is how to turn off mouse acceleration in Fortnite:
- Go to “%LOCALAPPDATA%FortniteGameSavedConfigWindowsClient. The %LOCALAPPDATA% part is the username folder, which in Windows looks something like C:users-your username-AppDataLocal.” If you cannot find this, it is probably hidden, and you have to enable the option for you to see it.
- To do this, go to a Windows Explorer window. Click “view,” and check the box for “hidden items” for Windows 10. For older versions of Windows, right-click on the folder window, click folder options, click view, and check “show hidden files.”
- Once inside the folder, look for the file GameUserSettings.ini. Right-click on this file, choose “Open With,” and select a text editor like notepad or Wordpad.
- Look for the line “bDisableMouseAcceleration=False” without quotation marks. You can easily do this by pressing Ctrl+f, which opens the “find” option. Copy-paste the line, press enter, and the editor should bring you to the line.
- Change bDisableMouseAcceleration=False to bDisableMouseAcceleration=True to disable mouse acceleration. Press Ctrl+s to save the file, or click “file” and save. Do not use “save as” and save it to a different file. Just override the old one.
- You’re not finished yet. The game might want to override your newly changed settings. So to prevent it, go to the file and right-click it. Go to the Properties tab and click the option “read-only.”
- Now go and launch the game. If you want to change your mouse sensitivity, select the option you want. Remember that option. Now go turn off the read-only option of the file one last time.
- Rerun the game, change the setting of the mouse sensitivity you want, and quit the game.
- Go back to the file and repeat step 4. Then for the last time, repeat step 5.
It is such a hassle to do this manually, but there are other tools out there that can help you. However, be careful as these tools could contain malicious software. We highly recommend that you change the .ini file manually.
As mentioned earlier, other games will have these types of files as well that you can easily change to disable mouse acceleration if the game turns it on.
What To Expect From Turning Off Mouse Acceleration For The First Time
If this is your first time turning off mouse acceleration, it will take some time getting used to the change, primarily since everyone has been used to mouse acceleration for a long time now. Here’s what to expect:
- The mouse feels sluggish – this is the first observation most people will make. It’s normal because we have gotten so used to the mouse accelerating and moving quick. You can get a better feel temporarily by adjusting the mouse DPI. Depending on the mouse, it can be by clicking a mouse button a few times and moving the mouse. Or by selecting it in a software window.
- Feels like your mousepad is smaller – this is because the mouse now needs more surface area to move at the desired distance. Adjusting the DPI will temporarily solve this feeling until you get used to it.
- It takes more effort for movements – Mouse acceleration is like training wheels on a bike, or a spotter helping you lift in the gym. Without assistance, it seems like you need more effort to do this. This is fine. Don’t be tempted to increase the mouse sensitivity higher naturally. Or worse, turn mouse acceleration back on. Just like riding a bike with no training wheels, it will only take a bit of time to get used to it. Don’t be stuck with training wheels.
- Feels like you can’t catch up to your opponents – when you finally do play a game, your reaction times will feel slower. Again, you will be tempted to raise the sensitivity or DPI to its highest naturally. Don’t do it yet. Not until you’ve gotten the hang of the mouse not accelerating. Play a few practice games to get used to the new sensation.
You will feel all of these things because you’ve gotten so used to the computer compensating for your efforts. Now that that’s not the case don’t be intimidated. It just means that now, the mouse will do what you tell it to do. Not the other way around.
How To Improve Gaming With No Mouse Acceleration
Just like any other skill that requires effort, practicing over time will improve your performance drastically. Here are some tips that can help you do this for gaming with no mouse acceleration.
- Play games at greater difficulty – most FPS games will allow AI opponents. Play a few games with the AI difficulty cranked up to the max. This will force your body to adjust to the new changes and will give you time to get used to it. Don’t get too frustrated. More often than not, you will lose a lot at the start. It’s fine.
- Set personal skill tasks – give yourself a list of goals you wish to achieve while playing with mouse acceleration off. For example, in your AI training games, have one session where you’re aiming to do just headshots. In another, snipe from far distances against running targets. In another, go into the fray and fight close quarters. Set and record all of your scores and see if, over time, it is improving. And it should.
- Try different settings – just because mouse acceleration is off doesn’t mean you can’t adjust the other settings to suit your needs. Try out the various combinations and see which ones give you the best results.
- Play different games – don’t just play one type of game. If you’re already used to FPS games, play a MOBA and see if you can increase your APM or actions per minute. Play an MMO and see if your new mouse settings will feel good there. In general, expose yourself to different games, so your body gets used to the mouse.
- Play online and compete – AI players can only do so much. The best way to get your skills up is by going online and competing with other players. They will behave unpredictably and will force your body and mind to improve to adapt. Sure, you might lose the first few games, but that’s part of the process. Even Michael Jordan lost a lot.
Our Final Thoughts
Just keep playing games with the mouse acceleration off, and you’ll eventually notice that you can pretty much put the mouse cursor exactly where you want it to be every single time. Leading shots on a running target will feel so much easier. Clicking to cast a spell on an opposing hero will be smoother. And so on.
For an aspiring pro-gamer, or just someone who wants to up the ante on their casual gaming, turning off mouse acceleration could be the best change you could make.