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Turbocharge your mouse tracking! System
Thanks to this thread on the ArsTechnica boards, one of my nagging criticisms of OS X can now be addressed. If, like me, you prefer a mouse that moves at warp speed, you can hack the speed in both 10.0.4 and 10.1.

Using a terminal, edit the .GlobalPreferences.plist file in your ~/Library/Preferences directory. If you're using Pico, for example, type:
pico ~/Library/Preference/.GlobalPreference.plist
Once the editor opens, use control-W to search for "scaling". You'll see a couple lines that look like:
Note that I've used square brackets instead of angle brackets, due to parsing issues with HTML. Change the number in the "[real]" line to a higher value. 1.7 is the maximum you get through the control panel; I'm using 3.2 now and like it on my 1600x1200 screen. Values over 10 may not work; I tried "15" and it became "1.5". Save your changes (control-O in Pico) and then quit the editor (control-X).

I'd actually tried this months ago, but the mouse didn't seem to change speeds at all. As the thread points out, the key to making it take effect is to simply (argh!) logout and login again. You should now have a turbocharged mouse. Note that if you use the Mouse preferences panel and change the speed slider at all, you'll (obviously) lose your hand-edited value and have to repeat this process to speed up your mouse.
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wrong name...
Authored by: Darkshadow on Oct 01, '01 08:06:24PM

Actually, that was my post on MacFixIt (the board vertigo got it from)...not Darkstranger2's. Easy to confuse us though, since my nick over there is Darkshadow2.

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wrong name...
Authored by: vertigo on Oct 08, '01 04:29:09PM

This is going to haunt me for the rest of my life, isn't it? ;o)

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Dont forget the defaults command!
Authored by: bhines on Oct 01, '01 08:42:15PM

Everyone seems to forget.. you shouldnt be editing plists by hand. "defaults" is nicer and does this work for you..

defaults write -globalDomain -float 3.0

has the same effect as the original tip.


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Doesn't Work that well
Authored by: jtsombakos on Oct 02, '01 08:46:45AM

I tried this tip as soon as I saw it. While it does seem to speed up the overall speed of the mouse, moving the mouse slowly (to select a menu item, or hilight some text, for example), is still glacially slow. The "acceleration curve" of the mouse, no matter what I set that value to, is still horrible. And, the value I set usually doesn't "stick". Change the value and go and look at the mouse control panel and the speed will be back in the middle. I've also noticed that the speed of the mouse will slow down after a while too.

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Call me greedy, but...
Authored by: seedy on Oct 02, '01 04:36:58PM

I'd like to see a hack that changes the range of the Preference Pane, so that 1.7 would be slow and 6 or 7 would be fast. but it does address one of the issues I have with X. Now we need a Finderpop equivalent and we can get some work done.

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Theoretically possible
Authored by: robg on Oct 02, '01 06:26:20PM

I have some info on where the table is stored - it's in the HID family Darwin source files. To change it, though, would require finding and modifying the table and then recompiling the sources. This is well beyond my area of expertise; if someone wants to look into it, drop me an email and I'll forward the info I have...


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consistent tracking
Authored by: azerak on Oct 02, '01 09:58:50PM

This tweak works great, however when the tracking is sped up past the ddefault maximum speed, I notice an inconsistency in its movement. The cursor seems to only move fast when you jerk your mouse around quickly, but when you move the mouse slowly, the tracking speed drops much lower than it should. In other words, you can move the mouse the same physical distance, but how far the cursor travels across the screen seems to depend on how fast you move your mouse, not how much. Is there any way to fix this?


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Re: consistent tracking
Authored by: Darkshadow on Oct 03, '01 10:14:13AM
No, because that's actually what you're changing. The "scaling" part should tip you off. ;)

Pretty much what this does is increase how far the mouse moves at a given speed (as a percentage), so if you're moving the mouse slow it's not going to go as far as when you move the mouse fast. IMO, this is exactly how it should work! I don't want the mouse to move an inch when I'm moving it slow - that's usually when I'm moving it to click on something very near where the cursor is already at.

I have something to ask - does defaults read -globalDomain come up with something for you guys? I think I actually added this one in when I was initially trying to increase the speed with 10.0.0, but that was so long ago I can't remember exactly. :D For me, it returns 5.2 (which is what my other one is set to), but it's a string and not a float, which is why I'm pretty sure I added that one in myself.

I'm only askin' cause I'll delete it out of my global domain if it's not needed.

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Authored by: robg on Oct 03, '01 11:12:13AM
Here's my output: defaults read -globalDomain
2001-10-03 08:07:09.233 defaults[1499] 
The domain/default pair of (kCFPreferencesAnyApplication, does not exist
So it looks like you can kill it ;-)

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Re: consistent tracking
Authored by: JPAnderson on Oct 05, '01 03:23:36AM

I have noticed that the mouse pointer spontaneously jumps away from buttons, text and such. I find this behavior really annoying.

So, I am wondering if anybody has experimented with tweaking from the default value of zero or if there is some other way of dealing with this problem?

- John Philip Anderson
Okemos, Michigan

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Re: consistent tracking
Authored by: osos10 on Nov 19, '01 01:25:26AM

This "acceleration" mode - where the movement is proportional to the
speed of the mouse and not to the amount which it moves is a very new
and a very BAD idea from apple.

if someone has an idea how to overcome this "slow" startup motion
(regardless of the final mouse's speed) I'll appreciate it a lot.

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Authored by: AkulaIX on Oct 03, '01 04:33:42PM

Thank you all who brought this up. I could not believe that Apple didn't address there pitiful slow mouse settings in MacOS X.

I have been playing around with this for a bit and noticed two things. First, when I edited the file with PICO, the settings would not stick after I unplugged the mouse, even after I logged off and back in. Just for kicks, I edited the file with BBEdit and found that the settings stayed, however if I unplugged the mouse and plugged it back in, the speed settings would be about half of Apple's mouse speed.

Again thanks for this excellent thread!


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Larger values
Authored by: xeroply on Oct 03, '01 10:16:28PM

It looks at though values larger than 10 should be possible as long as you enter them in "real" format, as the XML tag suggests. So 15 would be entered as 1.50000000000e+01. Unless you've already tried it that way (I don't actually have OS X in front of me to verify).

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Mouse speed
Authored by: osos10 on Nov 19, '01 01:08:07AM

This "acceleration" mode - where the movement is proportional to the
speed of the mouse and not to the amount which it moves is a very new
and a very BAD idea from apple.

if someone has an idea how to overcome this "slow" startup motion
(regardless of the final mouse's speed) I'll appreciate it a lot.

[ Reply to This | # ]