July's Windows 11 update could be the solution to your game stuttering woes

Razer Viper 8K Hz
(Image credit: Razer)

Microsoft released the July 2023 update to Windows 11 last week, and along with the option to have seconds noted in the taskbar clock and the PrtSc key opening the Snipping Tool by default, there's one other important improvement to note: reduced stuttering in-game.

A Microsoft developer talking to Windows Latest has stated that the update is partly designed to reduce any stuttering previously associated with high polling rate gaming mice. 

"Some of you will see better gaming performance with the July 2023 update. This [July 2023 Update] improves performance when you use a mouse with a high gaming report rate," the engineer is quoted as saying.

The issue apparently stems from a lot of competition on the Windows input stack. With a whole bunch of background processes caused by the myriad devices us gamers will often have plumbed into our machines the demand on the input stack results in a lot of system time dedicated to processing input and that can therefore heavily impact the in-game experience.

This can show up as regular stuttering, no matter how powerful your actual hardware is.

When you've got a high DPI mouse with a 1,000Hz+ polling rate your PC is having to keep tabs on what your rodent is up 1,000 times every second, and when it's also got a bunch of other inputs to deal with—other controllers, voice chat, streaming devices, etc—Windows can get a little tied up.

The solution is an optimisation within Windows that now takes these sorts of gaming mice into account. Given that we've had gaming mice with 1,000Hz polling rates since 2005, some would say that's a little late, but better than never, I guess.

This optimisation was first reported in a Windows Developer Blog post back in May, with the explanation being that the aim was to "reduce the amount of processing time it took to handle input requests by throttling and coalescing background raw mouse listeners and capping their message rate."

"Prior to these changes," continues the post, "we observed on a Surface Laptop Studio with a 1000 Hz mouse, a test bed of background listeners, and popular games that there was significant stutter. After the improvements, on the same setup, we now deliver a smooth, uninterrupted gaming experience and preserve the low latency, high precision input experience in games while being efficient with input for background listeners!"

So, if you're seeing regular stuttering with your gaming PC, there's a chance that a simple Windows update could fix that for you and your high performance gaming mouse. The update in question is Windows 11 KB5028185, and should be available from the Windows Update screen now. 

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.