My Windows Scrolling Is Jumpy

By Jason Artman

Updated September 28, 2017

Troubleshoot jerky mouse or trackpad scrolling.
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Many computer mice have wheels that you can use to scroll quickly through documents and Web pages. In most cases, the scrolling is smooth. However, Windows has the ability to jump several lines at a time when you move the wheel. If this option is enabled, scrolling may become jumpy. Although there are several reasons why mouse or trackpad scrolling might perform poorly, nearly all of them are simple to resolve.


Scrolling movements may appear jumpy if the scrolling sensitivity is set too high. Open the Control Panel, and then click the "Mouse" icon. Click the "Wheel" tab, or if you have a laptop, click the tab with the name of the trackpad manufacturer such as "ELAN" or "Synaptic." Click the down-arrow button to reduce the number of lines that Windows scrolls when you turn the wheel, or lower the slider to adjust the scrolling speed for your trackpad.

Device Conflict

If you have two pointing devices connected to the same computer, the computer may accept input from both devices simultaneously, causing a conflict and leading to jerky movements. This is particularly likely when connecting an external mouse to a laptop. Look for an option such as "Disable Trackpad When USB Pointing Device is Present" on the settings menu for your laptop's trackpad to resolve this.

Driver Issue

A laptop trackpad generally relies on a device driver from the manufacturer for scrolling. Some trackpads allow you to scroll by swiping a finger down the side of the pad, while others require a two-finger gesture. If you use a laptop, check the computer manufacturer's website for an updated trackpad driver. This may resolve scrolling issues.

Smooth Scrolling

Some applications such as Internet Explorer have features to make scrolling smoother. If this feature is disabled, the scrolling may appear jumpy. To enable smooth scrolling in Internet Explorer 9, click the gear button in the upper-right corner of the window, and then click "Internet Options." Click the "Advanced" tab. Scroll down to the bottom of the "Browsing" sub-heading, and click to select the "Use Smooth Scrolling" box. If you experience a scrolling problem in one application, check its options for a setting that you can change to resolve this.


Some wireless mice use USB receivers to transmit data to the computer. A wireless mouse is susceptible to interference from other wireless devices, including Wi-Fi adapters and cordless phones. If this happens, you may also experience jerky mouse pointer movement. Try moving the USB receiver away from devices that could cause interference. The software included with the mouse may also give you the ability to change the broadcast frequency of the device.

Low Battery

A wireless mouse may have difficulty communicating reliably with the receiver when the battery is low. This may cause jumpy scrolling, as well as poor mouse pointer movement. If your wireless mouse begins performing poorly when it previously worked properly, try changing the battery.