Slow Mouse Wheel Scrolling in Photoshop

I just bought a new fancy-pants computer running Windows 7 (I completely skipped Windows Vista and had been using XP up until now). While it’s mostly been a positive experience I ran into a few annoyances in making the switch from XP to 7.

One big problem was mouse wheel scrolling in Photoshop. When working with Photoshop documents I use the mouse wheel to scroll vertically and Ctrl-mouse wheel to scroll horizontally. While the mouse wheel works fine in my Web browser, it was excruciatingly slow in Photoshop. I’d spin the wheel multiple times and the document would barley move. (I guess I should point out that I’m using the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 2.0, also known as the Wireless Optical Mouse 5000.)

After some research it seems this is a problem not just with Photoshop but several other graphics programs in Windows 7 as well.

I read several different methods for dealing with the problem. What worked was telling Windows that I was using a different mouse than I actually was. Here are the steps I had to go through to get this to work:

  1. The current Microsoft mouse driver, IntelliPoint 8, automatically detects which mouse you are using. That’s nice, but it doesn’t let you choose any other mouse type; every other mouse type is missing and you only get one choice. To “fix” this I uninstalled IntelliPoint 8 and installed IntelliPoint 7 (available from Microsoft.com; search for IntelliPoint 7 and be careful to select the 32 or 64 bit version that corresponds with your operating system).
  2. The mouse I’m using has one of the newer style “large” mouse wheels. To get the scrolling to work correctly, you need to select a mouse that uses one of the older style “small” mouse wheels in the Mouse Properties section of the control panel. I selected the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 which seems to work well enough.

Other than some trial-and-error tweaking of the “scrolling” section of the mouse control panel that was pretty much it. No reboot was required.

I’m not sure what I’m giving up by using IntelliPoint 7 instead of 8, but everything works the way I want it and that’s all I care about.

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