Windows 8.1 allows Windows to work better on high-DPI displays. As part of this, the way Windows deals with mice has changed. Games that don’t read raw mouse data may end up with laggy, freezing, or stuttering mouse movement.

This problem seems to primarily affect users with high-DPI or high-polling rate mice — in other words, gaming mice. Microsoft has only released a partial fix, but there’s a way to fix this problem in any affected game.

Install Microsoft’s Patch

Microsoft provides a patch that introduces a new compatibility option to fix this problem. As part of the patch, the compatibility option is applied to a variety of popular games, including games from the Call of Duty series, Counter Strike series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Hitman Absolution, Half-Life 2, Metro 2033, Portal, and Tomb Raider.

This patch is known as KB2908279. As of November 14, 2013, this patch has not been rolled out via Windows Update. To get the fix, you’ll have to download the patch from Microsoft’s website and install it manually.

Depending on the version of Windows 8.1 you’re using, you’ll need to download either the the 64-bit version of this patch or the 32-bit version.

If you’re not sure which version of Windows you’re using, press the Windows key to access the Start screen, type System, and click the System shortcut. Scroll down and look at the System type line.

tell if windows 8.1 is 64 bit or 32 bit

Fix Other Games via the Registry

The patch above does two things. One, it creates a new type of compatibility flag in Windows. Two, it applies that compatibility flag to some of the most popular games affected by this problem.

If you have a less-popular game with this problem, you’ll need to apply the compatibility option to the game on your own. Microsoft advises game developers to do this themselves so their users won’t have to, but many games may never be updated with this fix.

You can apply Microsoft’s fix to any affected game from the registry editor. Note that you must have the patch above installed for this to work.

To get started, press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog, type regedit, and press Enter.

Browse to the following registry key, or folder:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers

The Layers key may not exist. If it doesn’t, right-click the AppCompatFlags key, point to New, select Key, type Layers, and press Enter to create it.

You’ll now need to create a new registry entry for your game. Right-click the Layers key, point to New, click String Value, type the full path of the game’s executable file, and press Enter. For example, if the game was located at C:\Program Files (x86)\Game\Engine.exe, you’d just type the following value:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Game\Engine.exe

Next, right-click the value you just created and select Modify. Type the following text into the box and press Enter:


You can now repeat this process to add every affected game you have.

Next, we’ll need an elevated Command Prompt window. To do this, press the Windows key to access the Start screen, type Command Prompt, right-click the Command Prompt shortcut that appears, and select Run as administrator.

In the elevated Command Prompt window, type the following command and press Enter to apply your compatibility settings:

Rundll32 apphelp.dll,ShimFlushCache


Microsoft warns that this option will cause increased power usage, so you shouldn’t apply this option to unaffected games or other programs. In particular, they stress that this shouldn’t be applied to background processes that remain running, or your battery life will be noticeably affected.

There is another option Microsoft recommends — if the game In question has a “raw input” or DirectInput option, you can select it and the problem should be fixed.

For more information direct from Microsoft, read the KB2908279 knowledge base article.

Image Credit: Sam DeLong on Flickr

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
Read Full Bio »