PC Accessories

How To Change Mouse Polling Rate

Gaming Mouse

It is pretty standard that your mouse feels slightly laggy after restarting your Windows machine. For example, the pointer’s movement is slower and delayed when selecting a window.

Many people think that some glitch causes this, and they start running around to fix it. But that is not true. This laggy feeling is normal, and the solution to it is straightforward — all it takes is adjusting the mouse polling rate. However, not everyone has an idea of the mouse polling rate.

This guide will help you understand the mouse polling rate and how you can change it according to your needs.

About Mouse Polling Rate

When the cursor does not immediately follow or there is a slight delay, this is because your mouse checks with your computer to see how far it is moved. The rate at which this happens is the polling rate, measured in Hz or reports per second.

Most mice come with a default polling rate of 125 Hz, meaning the cursor position is updated every 8 milliseconds. If you move your mouse slowly, you can get jittery movements because the mouse is not moving far enough between each report to make a smooth transition.

Why the Mouse Polling Rate Matters 

If you want your mouse movements to be as accurate as possible, you want a high polling rate. This means that the mouse will send reports to the computer more frequently, ensuring that even minimal movements will be detected and can be replicated precisely.

If your mouse has a low polling rate, you will notice that it does not register even slightly fast movements very well, sometimes causing it to miss them entirely.

By setting the mouse polling rate, you change how often the mouse reports its position to the computer. The higher the polling rate, the more often the mouse reports its status. This is important if you want an accurate reading of your mouse movements.

Most users will not notice the difference between mice with high polling rates and those with low polling rates as long as they are relatively low-latency. However, if you are trying to be competitive and shave off every millisecond possible in your play, you might be better off with a high-polling-rate gaming mouse.

Ways To Measure Mouse Polling Rate

There are two ways to measure the polling rate of a gaming mouse, and both require third-party software. The first one is using a USB protocol analyzer, software, or piece of hardware that displays data traffic over a USB. Most USB protocol analyzers will not come with a predefined profile for your mouse and thus can be challenging to use. 

The second and easiest way is to use a dedicated polling rate checker program. Polling rate checkers are miniature programs that test the polling rate of your mouse by measuring the time it takes between packets being sent from your computer to your mouse and back.

Methods To Change Mouse Polling Rate

There are two incredibly straightforward and quick ways to change your mouse polling rate. Take a look below.

Method #1: Through the Combination of Buttons

  1. Unplug your computer’s mouse.
  2. Reconnect your mouse and press buttons 4 and 5 simultaneously. The mouse polling rate is set to 125 Hz when you turn on the mouse.
  3. If you want to change your cursor frequency to 500 Hz, repeat this operation by pressing the number 5 key.
  4. The cursor frequency will be 1000 Hz if you repeat the cycle by pressing the number 4 key.

Method #2: Through Manufacturer’s Software

You must download and install the manufacturer’s software to change the mouse polling rate for your specific model. Once installed, open the software and look for a “Polling Rate” setting. By default, this will be set to “125 Hz“, which means your mouse reports its position to your PC 125 times per second.

To change this, select the desired frequency from the drop-down menu. You can choose from four different settings.

  • 125 Hz: Your mouse reports its position to your PC 125 times every second, the default setting.
  • 250 Hz: Your mouse reports its position to your PC 250 times every second. This is twice as often as the default setting, so it is likely more responsive.
  • 500 Hz: Your mouse reports its position to your PC 500 times every second, and this is four times as often as the default setting so that it may provide even more responsiveness than 250 Hz.
  • 1000 Hz: Your mouse reports its position to your PC 1000 times every second or once every millisecond (1 ms). This is eight times as often as the default setting so that it may provide more responsiveness than 500 Hz.

Important Things To Consider When Changing Mouse Polling Rate

Now that you know how to change your mouse polling rate, it’s time to discuss things to keep in mind. Read the following items.

Start With a Clean Slate

Before you begin, it is best to remove any custom drivers or software you have installed for your mouse. This will ensure that you are getting an accurate representation of how changing your settings affects your performance. Restart your machine once you have done this, so only the default software runs.

Take Note of What Is Already Working

Now that you have restarted, test out your mouse as it currently is and take note of anything that might be laggy or off about it — especially in games. If something feels wrong, it could result from changing other settings on your device, so those issues should go away if you go back to defaults.

Remember That a Higher Polling Rate Is Not Always Better

Increasing the polling rate too high can cause stuttering and other strange issues with your mouse movements and jittery cursor movements while playing games. It is generally best to leave this at either  125 Hz (8 ms), 250 Hz (4 ms), or 500 Hz (2 ms). If you play games that require accurate mouse movements and clicking, you might want to pick a higher setting, but that is not always necessary.

Most gamers agree that the ideal mouse polling rate is 500 Hz, as it gives the best performance without sacrificing any tracking accuracy. You can crank up your mouse polling rate to 1000 Hz for maximum responsiveness if you want to push your mouse to its limit. However, make sure that whatever you do, do not lower your mouse polling rate below 125 Hz.

Final Word

It is worth noting that testing one’s mouse polling rate is a straightforward affair, and if you are experiencing any problems with your mouse lag, there is no reason not to give it a try. You can test your mouse polling rate anywhere if you have a computer or laptop handy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many polling rates are available in a wireless mouse?

There are three polling rates available in wireless mice: 125Hz, 250Hz, and 500Hz.

What is jittering?

Jittering is the phenomenon where the polling rate of a mouse fluctuates. The most common cause of jittering is hardware-related, but other causes include incorrect drivers and incorrectly configured mice.

Jittering can be caused when the computer cannot detect the mouse USB at its full speed, and this causes it to run slower and be less accurate. This usually happens when the user has more than enough devices plugged into their USB ports, performing heavy tasks.

What are two advantages of a high mouse polling rate?

Two advantages of a high mouse polling rate are smooth movement and reduced input lag. The higher the mouse’s polling rate, the more sensitive it is to your actions, enabling you to move the cursor around the screen with greater precision. A higher polling rate also means that commands you issue using your mouse are registered by your computer faster, reducing input lag.

Which polling rate is the best?

As for the best polling rate, it depends on your needs. A higher polling rate is better because your computer detects mouse movement more quickly. However, this also means your CPU must work harder to keep up with the frequency of requests. Thus, you might find that some polling rates harm your system performance.

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