Changing the Mouse Scroll Direction on Windows

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Person sitting at desk using a keyboard and mouse
Photo by Dell on Unsplash

Note: I originally wrote this article on my development website, but thought I’d share here for my writer friends who run into this problem.

In today’s world it is common to have many electronic devices. I have an iPhone, a Kindle, a MacBook Pro and a Dell XPS13 (Windows). On three devices, the scroll function works from bottom to top: when I move my finger up towards the top of the device, the page I’m viewing scrolls down. However, in Windows, it’s the opposite. When you move your finger down, the page scrolls down. It’s as if you are moving the scroll bar on the right than the actual page.

As a Windows user for most of my life, I never noticed the difference. But when I bought my MacBook, it jumped out at me like a rattlesnake. Every time I used my work computer (or switched over to the Windows 10 image I had installed on the MacBook), I would get frustrated when my mouse moved up instead of down and vice versa. Any time I accessed a document, website, or spreadsheet, I had to remember how to scroll again.

I did some research and discovered that changing the scroll direction for the MacBook was easy. It was a toggle box in the mouse settings. Click on or off. It doesn’t get any easier than that. And while it was tempting to take the quick fix and alter the MacBook, I decided I to embrace the Mac life and make it my home base. And really, when all but one device function the same, why wouldn’t you fix the oddball device?

As for Windows, it’s not so easy. It is necessary to edit the registry. (Insert scary music here.) And, I have found that sometimes a Microsoft update will reset this registry setting, so it’s necessary to keep the directions on hand. 

Below are the instructions for changing the direction the mouse scrolls. The information for Windows 10 came from an excellent article by Mauro Huculak which also details how to change the touchpad.

Change the Mouse Scroll in MacOS 

1. Open the System Preferences (click the Apple symbol in the upper left, select System Preferences).

2. Click the Mouse icon.

3. Uncheck the box for Scroll direction: Natural.

screenshot of MacOS mouse settings
Screenshot by Lancy McCall

(Yes, it’s that easy.)

Change the Mouse Scroll in Windows

Note: This method work for Windows 10 or Windows 11.

Get the mouse ID

  1. Open the Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Mice and other point devices branch.
  3. Right-click the mouse you’re using and select Properties.
  4. Click on the Details tab.
  5. In the Property drop-down box, select Device instance path.
  6. Make a note of the VID ID value for the mouse. This ID is what you will look for in the registry.

Change the Registry

  1. In the Run box (Windows key + R), type regedit and click OK to open the Registry.
  2. Expand the folders to the following path: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Enum\HID
  3. Expand the folder that matches the VID ID of your mouse.
  4. Expand the key shown.
  5. Select the Device Parameters folder.
  6. Double-click the FlipFlopWheel DWORD item in the right pane.
  7. Change the Value data from 0 to 1. (Adjust this back to a 0 if you want to reset it.)
  8. Click OK to save.
  9. Restart your computer.

For accompanying images, see original article: How to reverse mouse and touchpad scrolling direction on Windows 10

In fair warning, Microsoft updates sometimes undo custom settings. So far, I’ve only had it occur one time, but luckily, I keep useful information like this handy so I can reset my mouse as needed. 

Conclusion

Having all of my devices operate the same way cuts down on any frustration when moving from one operating system to another and helps me be productive.

Hope this helps make your world a little more sane. 


Happy Computing!


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