If you have noticed, there is an option called Enhance Pointer Precision in Windows. It has been there since Windows XP, as far as I can recall. What is the Mouse Pointer Precision and what does it do? Many gamers turn off Pointer Precision when playing games on Windows. Why? This article talks about this feature in Windows 10/8/7 and why gamers prefer to turn it OFF while playing games.
What is Enhance Pointer Precision
The physical speed of your mouse pointer is under constant observation by the operating system. When the speed is regular, nothing happens. When the physical speed of mouse is faster or increased, the pointer speed too is increased so that you do not have to move mouse much on the mouse pad.
Mice work at a lower dpi compared to the screen resolution. To make it easier for users, Windows accelerates or increases the speed of pointer when the mouse is moved faster in a direction. It gains acceleration as you move the mouse from one point to other. Accordingly, when you move mouse slower than usual, the pointer speed is reduced so that you can point properly.
Enhanced Pointer Precision is basically mouse acceleration and changes the sensitivity of the mouse depending on the rate at which you are moving it. It calculates the velocity of the mouse and increases the DPI on the fly when high velocity is detected. It gives you more control over the pointer, especially when you move the pointer small distances on the screen. It also provides for quicker deceleration of the pointer when you slow down or stop the mouse.
A Pointer refers to the mouse pointer or the touchpad pointer. Both are same and indicate the pointer you can see on the screen. It is turned ON by default in Windows 8. Enhance Pointer Precision smoothens the movement of the mouse pointer. When it is enabled, the pointer moves smoothly without any visible breaks in motion. When disabled, you may see the pointer move a bit jerkily. This is very subtle, and to know the difference, you should disable/enable this and see.
If you make the pointer speed higher than the default speed, you may encounter erratic behavior. That is why its best to keep the default mouse speed and then have this enabled. Such erratic mouse behavior may be due to video card hardware acceleration and lowering the hardware acceleration may help.
In some cases, if you have enabled Enhance pointer precision, you may find that the mouse does not track as smoothly as it did before you enabled this feature. For instance, you may notice the problem specifically when you use the mouse to slowly draw a diagonal line. In such cases its best to disable this feature.
Should you turn off Enhance Pointer Precision while playing Games
The acceleration varies from mouse to mouse and also depends on the screen resolution. Games have their own resolutions that are different from the regular screen. These factors make it difficult for gamers to ascertain how fast or how slow to move their mouse on the mouse pad to gain the advantage of the options available to them via the game they intend to play.
Since Gamers need to need to make quick reactions for short mouse distance, many therefore prefer to disable the Enhance mouse pointer feature for precision purposes, since this feature makes slow mouse movements very smooth and that makes the pointer move too slow.
With pointer precision disabled, gamers can have more control on their mice and other pointing devices. It might throw you out of gear for a day, but you will soon get adjusted to the new, but constant speed of the mouse pointer. This is why gamers prefer to turn pointer precision Off when playing games, as this lets them completely control the mouse pointer and play the game better without allowing Windows to add its own calculations to the mouse pointers.
How to turn off Pointer Precision in Windows 8/10
Open Control Panel > Mouse. Under the Pointer Options tab, you will see the option Enhance pointer precision.
You can uncheck the box and click on Apply.
Enhance Pointer Precision keeps turning off or on
Please remember that there is no permanent solution to turn it on or off. If you see that the option is turning itself On or Off, again and again, the culprit could be the software related to your mouse. In that case, it is better to remove any mouse enhancing software you may have installed. For example, one such software is IntelliPoint that promises to improve the accuracy of your mouse.
If you wish, you may tweak your registry and see if it helps. Run regedit and navigate to the following key:
MouseSpeed, MouseThreshold1, and MouseThreshold2 determine when and to what extent cursor speed accelerates when the mouse moves rapidly.
When the mouse moves slowly, the system moves the cursor at a constant rate that is directly proportional to the rate at which the mouse moves. But if the mouse moves faster than the value of MouseThreshold1 or MouseThreshold2, the system can respond by accelerating the movement of the cursor, so that the cursor moves two or four times as fast as the mouse.
You can get more information on this on TechNet. Your comments and inputs on the subject would be most welcome.
Incidentally, PointerStick may interest you if you are looking for a Virtual Pointer Device tool for big screen presentations.