Mouse stuttering is the last thing you want when playing a game.
It can negatively affect your experience and performance as seconds matter.
It can be due to a wide variety of reasons, either hardware-related or caused by Windows settings.
However, the good news is that by ruling out each possible underlying cause, you can resolve the stuttering mouse issue and start gaming with smooth mouse movements.
Mouse Stuttering In Games (Causes, Fixes)
1. Make Sure It’s Not The Mouse
You should first make sure the mouse is working properly and that it’s not a hardware issue.
That’s because stuttering issues are common among mice due to some internal defects.
Here’s what you can do:
A. Connect The Mouse To Another Port Or PC
Disconnect your current mouse and try another mouse to see if you still have the lag issue.
You could also change your mouse pad to rule out everything related to hardware and accessories outside the PC.
You may be surprised to learn that an old and worn-out mousepad can lead to mouse stuttering.
In addition, if you have a mousepad made of glass, stone, or other hard surface, you may experience mouse lags.
Another thing to check is the USB port you’ve connected the mouse to.
Connect the mouse to another USB port and see if that works.
That’s because the computer’s port version may not be the same as the mouse’s.
For example, your mouse may have a USB 2.0 connector, but you connected it to a USB 3.0 port.
However, when you try a different mouse, plug it into the same USB that you’d connected to the original mouse.
This way, you’ll make sure all the physical conditions are the same for the new mouse, and you can rule out the faulty factors one by one.
Another thing that can help you make sure the mouse is okay is to connect it to another PC and see if it lags.
B. Clean The Mouse
The next thing you should do is make sure the mouse is clean.
As strange as it may sound, built-up dirt on the mouse scroll wheel or infrared sensor can lead to mouse stuttering.
It may also lead to erratic movements, sudden spikes, or lags.
That’s why cleaning your mouse thoroughly and regularly can help ensure these problems don’t happen due to dirt buildup.
Clean all mouse parts with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or pure contact cleaner and wipe it off using a microfiber cloth.
This will help clean up any grime created by dust or hand sweat and prevent other issues, too.
Another thing that can help get rid of stubborn or hard-to-reach dust is canned air.
Hold it at a proper distance from the mouse and apply short bursts to get rid of any residue.
C. Resolve Connectivity Issues
If you have a wireless mouse, you may not have a strong connection all the time.
For example, if you’re not in the ideal position to receive the strongest Bluetooth signals, you’ll experience lags.
Make sure you’re as close to the Bluetooth receiver as possible to avoid weak signals.
Another possible issue with a wireless mouse could be power, so be sure to check your battery to see if it needs to be charged or replaced.
As for wired mice, you should make sure the cables are in the best condition.
Frayed or tangled cables and loose port connections can reduce the mouse’s performance and cause stuttering.
2. Update Drivers
Outdated or corrupt drivers are another common cause of mouse stuttering during games.
You need to check different drivers because different hardware can result in the poor performance of mice while gaming.
Here are the main drivers you need to check:
A. Mouse Drivers
For obvious reasons, your mouse will run into different issues, including stuttering, if its drivers aren’t updated.
That’s why you should always make sure you have the latest version of drivers.
Here’s how to update your mouse drivers:
Type “Device Manager” in the Windows search box on the left-hand corner of the taskbar and press “Enter.”
Scroll down the window and find “Mouse and other pointing devices.”
Expand the option and find your mouse.
Right-click on it and select the “Update driver” option.
Now, Windows automatically looks for new updates and installs them.
After the installation process is complete, restart your PC and check if the issue has gone away.
Alternatively, you could choose to uninstall the driver and reinstall it instead of updating it.
That’s because when you uninstall the driver and restart your computer, Windows will look for the latest version of the driver and automatically install it for you.
This way, it may do a better job of finding the best option.
To do so, repeat the above steps for updating the driver, and instead of “Update Driver,” choose “Uninstall device.”
B. Roll Back To A Previous Version
Surprisingly, updating the mouse driver may not always solve the issue.
On the contrary, updates can contain bugs that create problems in different components, including mice.
That’s why you should pay attention to see when the stuttering issue started.
If it appeared after a recent driver or Windows update, you could find the culprit.
The solution is to roll back to an older update and see if it helps.
Here’s how to roll back your mouse driver to an older version:
Type “Device Manager” in the Windows search box and hit “Enter.”
Find “Mouse and other pointer devices,” expand the menu, and double click on your mouse.
Go to the “Driver” tab and click on the “Roll Back” button.
This option isn’t available all the time, however, and you might have to install the older version by going to the manufacturer’s website.
To use this option, you need to know the current and the previous updated version of the mouse driver and download and install it on your system.
Windows may also install the latest version even if you want to install another version.
In such a case, you should turn off Windows automatic updates to avoid this issue.
C. Graphics Card Driver
Another piece of hardware closely related to mouse stuttering is the graphics card.
In such cases, the problem isn’t the mouse itself but lies in another place like the display.
It’s better to make sure the graphics card is the latest version.
You can update your graphics card through the same steps mentioned for the mouse driver; only instead of clicking on “mouse and other pointing devices,” select “Display adapters.”
Alternatively, if you have a branded GPU, you could look for the latest graphics card driver version on the manufacturer’s website.
Search the model of your graphics card and look for its latest version.
Download it from the website and install it according to the instruction given by the manufacturer.
3. Disable The Features That Slow Down Your Windows
Some Windows features, while originally intended to boost performance or work for other areas, can lead to stuttering or reduce mouse speed while gaming.
You should look for them, see if they’re on, and deactivate them to see if the issue is resolved.
If not, you can turn them back on to continue enjoying their benefits.
Here are some of these features:
A. Mouse Settings
Mouse settings play an important role in the mouse’s ability to move smoothly without stuttering.
The main mouse settings that need to be adjusted are cursor speed and mouse sensitivity.
Measured in DPI (dots per linear inch), mouse sensitivity means how fast the mouse moves across the display.
You could change mouse sensitivity using different methods depending on the mouse design.
Some mice, and almost all gaming mice, have buttons that allow you to change their sensitivity settings without accessing the utility software.
Press the button according to the manufacturer’s instructions and experiment with different sensitivity levels until the mouse doesn’t stutter anymore.
If your mouse doesn’t have this button, you can change its sensitivity through Windows 10 settings.
Open the Settings app and click on “Devices.”
Click on “Mouse” on the left pane and locate the “Additional mouse options” link on the right side of the window.
Click on it to open “Mouse properties.”
Go to “Pointer Options” and move the toggle under “Select a pointer speed” to get your desired sensitivity.
The option to change “cursor speed” is on the “Mouse” window of the “Settings” app.
Here, again, you have to move the toggle to get your desired cursor speed.
B. Scroll Inactive Windows
Windows 10 has a great feature that allows users to scroll through different windows even if they’re inactive (aren’t the first window on the screen).
While this feature allows for window-on-window operation and scrolling, it may slow down the performance and functionality of mice.
Conversely, if the feature is disabled, it may also cause mouse stuttering while playing games.
It’s better to check its status and change it to see if it resolves the issue.
To do so,
Press the Windows key and I together to open the Settings app.
Among the options, find the “Devices” option and click on it.
On the left pane, locate “Mouse” and click on it.
In the new window, you can see “Scroll inactive windows when I hover around them.”
If it’s on, turn it off, and if it’s off, turn it on.
Restart your computer and check if mouse stuttering stops.
C. No Delay For Touchpad
For those who use touchpad frequently, changing the touchpad settings and its sensitivity can help with the mouse stuttering.
One of the features that you can use to help with the issue is “No delay for the touchpad,” designed to stop the cursor from accidentally moving while you’re playing games.
However, it’s not that useful as it may create different problems such as mouse stuttering.
To deactivate this feature:
Open the “Settings” app by typing it in the Windows search box and pressing “Enter.”
Click on “Device” and find “Touchpad” on the left pane of the opened window.
Go to the “Touchpad” section and find the “no delay” feature.
Choose “always On” and see if it changes anything.
D. Touchpad Sensitivity
Another touchpad feature that may help with the mouse stuttering issue is touchpad sensitivity which can improve your experience by boosting feedback.
You can adjust touchpad sensitivity through the same process described above for no delay touchpad.
However, instead of “No delay,” click on the dropdown menu under “touchpad sensitivity” and choose the best sensitivity level that matches your needs.
You could choose one level at a time and check if it solves your problem before trying the next option.
E. Fast Startup
As the name suggests, the fast startup feature can be a great feature that allows you to launch your PC faster than normal.
It can also make your mouse lag, so
you could try disabling this feature and see how it works:
Go to the Control Panel and click on “Power Options.”
Select “Choose what the power button does > Change settings that are currently unavailable.”
Uncheck “Turn on fast startup” to disable it.
Save changes and see if mouse stuttering stops.
Overlays are features that allow you to do other stuff while playing games, such as chatting with friends.
However, this feature may do more harm than good by draining your system and affecting performance.
AMD’s Radeon and Nvidia’s GeForce Experience software are more likely to have overlay enabled by default.
If you use Steam or Discord, you may also have this feature enabled.
Try disabling overlays if you have any of the above platforms or graphics cards and see if the stuttering issue disappears.
If it doesn’t, you can enable it again.
G. Windows Cortana
Cortana is Microsoft’s virtual assistant designed to improve our computing experience.
However, it can greatly reduce your computer’s performance because it runs in the background all the time and gathers information to respond to your commands.
This feature requires lots of resources, reducing your computer’s performance.
Disabling Cortana can give your computer’s performance a significant boost and solve the mouse stuttering issue.
To disable Cortana, tap on its icon on the Windows taskbar.
Go to “Settings” and find the “Talk to Cortana” menu.
Disable the Cortana option and click on “Hide Cortana” if you don’t want to see the Cortana icon in the taskbar.
H. Nvidia HD Audio
While Nvidia High-Definition Audio is a valuable feature to have in your GPU, it can affect your mouse’s performance.
So, try switching it off to see how it goes.
Open the Task Manager by pressing Alt + Ctrl + ESC or typing it in the Windows search box.
Go to the “Processes” tab.
Find Realtek Audio, right-click on it, and select “End Task.”
4. Change Game Settings
Every hardcore gamer loves to play games with the highest game settings enabled.
Those include display and graphic settings, which can greatly stress the system.
That’s particularly the case if your CPU and GPU aren’t strong enough to support these high settings.
The frame rates are one of the most important things you should adjust based on your system specs.
The values you set for your game’s frame rates must be something that your CPU and GPU can support.
Otherwise, you’ll experience stutters.
You can fix the stuttering issue by reducing the game’s frame rates through its software utility.
The best frame rate that most CPUs and GPUs can handle is 60.
Screen resolution is another display setting responsible for a large percentage of stuttering in games.
You could reduce screen resolution to make the cursor’s movement easier and smoother on the screen.
When the screen resolution is high, the computer takes longer to complete tasks, reducing productivity and leading to stuttering.
The solution is to make sure the game’s resolution and your monitor’s native resolution match.
If you play a game at a higher resolution than the monitor can handle, you’ll experience lags because the display can’t handle it.
Another thing you should do is check if the resolution of your display can handle the mouse movements.
If your PC has a high-resolution display, you can turn off display scaling to get the best mouse performance.
To do so, right-click anywhere on your desktop and choose “Display Settings.”
Reduce the values under “Scale and Layout” to the lowest values possible, and restart your computer.
Remember, this solution only works when you want to play a game, making your mouse move more smoothly inside the game.
When you close the game and want to do other computing stuff, repeat the same steps to bring back the scaling values to their normal sizes.