Mouse acceleration is a default setting across Windows operating systems that can dramatically affect your performance in FPS games. You’ve likely heard different pro players, streamers, or friends mention that they turn it off, and for good reason. Rather than relying on how far you move your mouse to move your cursor – as is expected – mouse acceleration also takes into account how quickly the mouse was moved.
This can be highly beneficial for certain tasks like navigating spreadsheets, but for gaming, it’s a nightmare. The biggest effect it has is making shots inconsistent; depending on quickly you react, you could end up hampering yourself and missing key moments.
With a basic description out of the way, let’s move onto some specifics and how to turn it off.
What Is Mouse Acceleration?
Mouse acceleration changes the way that Windows detects your mouse movements. Instead of relying on distance – a consistent variable – for moving the onscreen mouse, this setting makes Windows detect speed and acceleration only. Because Windows devices have this on as a default, you may notice some severe changes when you turn it off. However, after a short adjustment period, you’ll appreciate the extra control you now have – especially in intense games.
Of course, you may occasionally miss the extra speed. This is likely going to be the case when you’re just browsing the internet or doing menial tasks on the computer. The effect is especially felt if you do not have a large mousepad – moving around large screens can quickly become a task in picking up and putting down the mouse.
Many people get around the differences by adjusting the DPI on their mouse – basically, the speed that your mouse “moves” across a surface (measured in dots per inch). However, this is only an option for people with gaming mouses or high-end models. Otherwise, you will either have to get used to no mouse acceleration or constantly switch between the settings.
Why To Turn Off Mouse Acceleration While Gaming
We’ve covered what mouse acceleration is, but you may still be wondering why you should turn it off while gaming. Put simply, it is to help you aim more consistently. It also comes with a few other benefits like improved muscle memory, more natural interaction with the computer, and higher trainability.
Your control over the speed of your mouse is lower than the distance you cover, especially in stressful situations. Because you’re often getting shot at in FPS games, these are often tense moments in time. Imagine it like when you get scared by a jump scare, or when you can’t quite warm up your hands. Your hands can move on their own with less control.
While that will still affect your gameplay regardless of mouse acceleration, the effect is severely reduced with it off. Rather than going off the speed – fast, in the case of a jump scare – Windows only reads the distance.
This leads into the next point; increased usability. Although other factors like sensitivity and DPI affect mouse movement on the screen, matching distance to distance is simply a more natural thing to do. Because you need to think less about mouse movement, you free up your focus for hitting the current shot and performing better.
The distance you need to cover will also stay the same. For instance, knowing that moving your mouse 1 inch on the mousepad results in turning however many degrees in game is more consistent than trying to match it to a speed. This allows muscle memory to develop, resulting in those beautiful flicks you commonly see pros hit.
All of these together lead to higher consistency in aiming and better performance in-game. Rather than missing shots due to moving too fast or slow, you can develop the necessary skills to outperform others.
Turning Off Mouse Acceleration in Windows 10
Taking advantage of the benefits of no mouse acceleration is, luckily, a simple process. There are a few different paths to turn off mouse acceleration in Windows 10 – for now, we’ll just focus on one to keep it simple.
- Click the Start Menu or tap the Windows key on your keyboard
- Type in “mouse” to bring up the “Mouse settings” option
- Hit “enter” to open the mouse settings
- On the left-most menu, click “additional mouse options”
- Navigate to the “pointer options” tab
- Uncheck the “enhance pointer precision” checkbox in the “motion” section
- Hit the “Apply” and “OK” buttons
You can take any path you see fit to the mouse settings area to continue with the process. When you hit apply, you can immediately test the difference by whipping your mouse as fast as you can – you’ll notice that it does not move nearly as far as it used to.
Turning Off Mouse Acceleration In Windows 7
Adjusting mouse acceleration settings in Windows 7 is also easy to do, with steps close to those of Windows 10.
- Open the Start Menu in the bottom left corner or tap the Windows key on your keyboard
- Navigate to the Control Panel by searching for “Control Panel” or clicking the icon
- Search for “mouse” in the top-right search field within Control Panel
- Select the Mouse option
- Navigate to the Pointer Options tab.
- Uncheck the “enhance pointer precision” checkbox
- Hit the “Apply” and “OK” buttons
That’s it! You can close out of everything and test out your new mouse settings. As stated above, this can take some time to get used to. We recommend hopping directly into a game (preferably unranked!) and messing about to build the new muscle memory. In no time, you should catch up to your previous skill level and even pass it.
Improved muscle memory, consistency, and accuracy are huge for first person shooters. With the effect that mouse acceleration has on how you interact with your computer, the change can take some getting used to, but is likely worth it. Afterall, almost every pro player out there has it off.
You can adjust your settings to your preference for navigating your computer vs. competing in-game. This is most easily done through DPI adjustments on your mouse, but there are plenty of options here – get creative! Otherwise, you will get used to having it off even while just navigating the web in no time.
Interested in upgrading your mouse to really notice the difference with mouse acceleration off? We have reviews and guides of the newest mouses out there:
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