Mouse tracking: Mac OS vs. Windows

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by kirkbross, Mar 12, 2008.

  1. kirkbross macrumors 6502a


    Mar 6, 2007
    Los Angeles
    Is it just me or do any of you have a different tactile experience with laser mice on a Mac OS vs. Windows?

    I have both loaded operating systems on my new MP and it just feels like the mouse tracks better in Windows... like it's just snappier as if it had a higher refresh or sampling rate. I've actually always noticed this going back and forth between Macs and PCs for years -- the mouse just works better in Windows -- maybe Windows has better mouse drivers or something because it just feels more responsive.

    I know that seems weird -- I should try an old ball mouse to see if it's the optical factor. My mouse on the Mac just feels ever so slightly choppy. Maybe I need one of those special optical mouse pads(?)
  2. OlBlueHair macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    I've only noticed that the default tracking speed for mice in Windows is so fast that if you barely touch the mouse the cursor goes flying across the screen...compared to how it is usually set by default on the mac.

    This higher refresh rate/choppiness I have not experienced.
  3. GotPro macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2007
    Here are my mouse settings... works great.

    Give it a whirl!

    Attached Files:

  4. MikeL macrumors 6502

    Jan 22, 2003
    Bloomington, MN
    I work on dozens of different PCs and Macs each day, with all different types of mice.

    It's just you.
  5. kirkbross thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 6, 2007
    Los Angeles
    It's not so much the settings as a subjective "feel" -- I don't know how else to describe it. I only notice it because I'm using the same computer, mouse and monitor for both Windows and Leopard and the mouse behaves a little different. Again, this is not a malfunction or anything like that, just a subtle nuance thing. In Leopard, for example, if I put the pointer at the top of the screen and move the mouse toward me at an even pace (ie make the pointer go down the screen) my pointer won't move smoothly with the motion of my hand -- it will be aeven though my hand is moving the mouse perfectly evenly. The pointer will speed up and slow down.

    If anyone has both Windows and Leopard installed and has an optical mouse, boot back and forth and notice your "mouse experience". I just think Windows has a more nuanced algorithm for mouse control as it relates to tracking sensitivity. I've put way too much thought into this, I know.
  6. portent macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2004
    Yes, the tracking algorithm is different. The curve is much more pronounced on a Mac...slower movements are slowed down more and faster movements are sped up more, whereas Windows is more towards the center.

    You can download replacement drivers, or you can get used to them. I'm perfectly comfortable with the mouse tracking on both, to the point where I don't even notice it anymore (On the other hand, the mouse tracking for X11 on Linux drives me nuts!)
  7. kdb31 macrumors member

    Jan 23, 2008
    SF Bay Area
    I know what you're referring to, when I first made the switch from PC to mac with the same laser mouse it drove me insane. I tried tweaking speed options but like someone else mentioned, the curve was still off, since then its one of those things I've gotten used to and it doesn't seem as pronounced as it was before.
  8. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    At default settings, it's definately smoother in Windows.
  9. thenewguy macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    I have DEFINITELY noticed the same thing and it has always driven me crazy. Mice on macs just feel *off*, like they're not as smooth and not as accurate.
  10. beige matchbox macrumors 6502a

    beige matchbox

    Mar 16, 2005
    Oxfordshire, UK
    as portent said above,

    The mouse acceleration under MacOS and Windows is different, there are utilities around that will adjust one to the other, but if you just live with it for a while chances are it will become a non issue :)

    I personally like the MacOS feel and find the Windows default slightly odd, especially on a trackpad
  11. kirkbross thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 6, 2007
    Los Angeles
    This is exactly what I was trying to describe. I now know that I am not insane (or not for this reason anyway).

    I have always noticed this difference and although it doesn't bother me to the point of murder or suicide or even simple mayhem, I would LOVE to find that 3rd party driver or utility that someone referred to if anyone can point me there. I'll search to. I always thought it was the Apple mice, but now that I'm using the same machine and same mouse with both operating systems, the difference is pronounced and undeniable. It's not a big deal, but I love the feel of the mouse tracking in Windows and if I can emulate that in OS X, I'm definitely going to.

    Thanks so much for donating time to such a silly thread...
  12. killmoms macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I believe USB Overdrive allows you to tweak acceleration settings in OS X, but it's been a long time since I played with it.
  13. 41qser macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2007
    Get Steermouse.

    It has 2 adjustable parameters:

    - sensitivity

    - tracking speed

    Between the two, you can have a better mousing experience. Plus, you can go crazy with button and scroll assignments. Best $20 I've spent on shareware.
  14. Zel macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2007
    The acceleration formula is different, so no amount of moving sliders will fix this.

    If you are accustomed to Windows, then OSX feel so very slow, but if you are accustomed to OSX then windows seems unusably touchy.

    I came from windows, and this MBP felt weird for a long time, but now I really like OSX tracking better on a laptop trackpad. It works better with clumsy fingers, and when i try to use a Vista laptop I cant get the cursor to go where want it to.

    Now if there was a way to have it switch modes when I move my hand over to the external mouse...
  15. 41qser macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2007
    That's interesting...

    For a mouse, it does change sensitivity. I use it, and I use Windows at work. I can make my Mac Pro far more sensitive than a Windows mouse, to the point where it's unusable.
  16. sirris101 macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2008
    This drives me absolutely bonkers too. I've tried USB Overdrive, Steermouse and MouseFix. None did everything I wanted or did little to fix the acceleration.

    Then I found ControllerMate. It has a steep learning curve but it let's you create a custom acceleration curve!!! With some tweaking you can bet the Windows 'feel' back.
  17. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Yes, there is a difference.

    I prefer the Mac way. Probably because I never ever switched ;)

    Mac way works far better on the trackpads too
  18. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I actually find the opposite to be true, I find Mac OS X to be much more precise and windows to be spotty and harder to get the mouse exactly where I want it. I guess for a switcher it's just one of those things you get used to at first be find it exceedingly frustrating to use the windows way after a while.
  19. TheThirdMan macrumors regular


    Nov 14, 2007
    London, UK
    Ive got a super sensitive optical mouse and i had to reduce the tracking speed to the 2nd lowest setting, and it still tracks like windows :(. If i put it at the lowest setting, it slows down waaay too much. anyone got any ideas? Ive got a razer diamonback...
  20. youyesyou macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Paris, France
    Please do you have a profile or a screenshot of your settings ?

    Would be very appreciated:)
  21. pixeltarian macrumors member

    Mar 21, 2009
  22. sboerup macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2009
    First thing I hated about OSX, the mouse acceleration!

    USB Overdrive works great!
  23. Erick808 macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2009
    Honolulu, HI
    Don't forget about Microsoft IntelliPoint if you have a MS mouse. It uses a different acceleration algorithm, and feels noticably different.
  24. Glen Quagmire macrumors 6502a

    Jan 6, 2006
    Are all the other people on the thread wrong as well? Or is it just you who's wrong?

    Intellisense's mouse tracking is much better than OS X's. A rare example of Microsoft getting something right! ;)
  25. LostSprocket macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2012
    Mac vs Pc

    Hi , i just bought a New Mid 2011 Imac. Love it to bids. After installing Windows 7 on boot Camp i noticed that the mouse ran much smoother than the on the Mac,
    The biggest difference is when i was playing Starcraft 2 , the game runs 20 fps faster and the mouse is quicker,
    So its not the settings it is the operating System.

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