Cursor Lock FAQ and Future

Q. Cursor Lock doesn’t work for X program.

I understand that the underlying concepts involved in getting Cursor Lock to function correctly in Program Mode possibly exceed the capabilities of some users, e.g. casual teenage gamer.  So, if your eyes are glazing over at the prospect of having to figure out what is meant by a “Lock Program” and an “Open Program”, just skip Program Mode altogether and bask in the simplicity of User Mode.  In User Mode, Cursor Lock runs in the background and you control it with hotkeys.  There’s even a handy shortcut to User Mode in your Start Menu. Just don’t forget your hotkeys. 😉

However, if you’re more of the advanced sort, you’ll appreciate that Program Mode only runs when you need it and thus doesn’t waste resources.  Most people get hung up on the difference between the “Open Program” and the “Lock Program”, thus it is useful (and perhaps necessary) to understand the general execution flow, which is as follows.

Cursor Lock FlowchartBy separating the program that is executed from the one that is cursor-locked, it allows for launcher programs to be supported. Many programs (games) use launchers, which are executables that are separate from but are required to execute before the main program executable.  Steam can be considered a launcher.

Now if you’re grasping the operation of Program Mode but are still having problems, here’s what to do.

  1. You’ve got to select the appropriate executables for the Open/Lock Program fields, which can be tricky to figure out. Use Task Manager to help you see what processes go to what windows.
  2. If you’re having trouble finding the right launcher executable, you might try the forever-useful Procmon and setting it to monitor “Process and Thread Activity” before running the program in question.
  3. Next, try enabling the log file from Cursor Lock’s options.  Run a Cursor Lock shortcut or a “Test” and then read the log to help determine what happened.  You might find that Cursor Lock either closed before your desired program was locked or never locked at all, both of which suggest that the wrong executables were selected.
  4. Still not achieving a satisfactory cursor lock? Or something else weird happening?  At this point, I’d be glad to try to help you.  Leave a comment or send an email.

Q. The hotkeys won’t work.

This issue seems to be cropping up more and more, and I don’t really have a satisfactory answer as for why yet.  It also seems as though some programs will override all system hotkeys altogether, annoyingly enough.  The best advice I can give is as follows.

  1. Make sure Cursor Lock is actually running.  You should see cursorlock.exe in Task Manager.
  2. Try changing your hotkey combination to something else.  There may be conflicts with the current combination or perhaps it didn’t save correctly.
  3. If you’ve modified the hotkey combination used to toggle locking, make sure that change was saved to the configuration file, cursorlock.ini. If not, you may need to run Cursor Lock Setup with elevated permissions, i.e. Admin Mode, or try using the default hotkey combination of Ctrl-Alt-L instead.

Q. I can’t uninstall it.

That’s quite true.  There is no uninstall feature at present.  Although, there really isn’t much installed to be begin with, so I hope you’ll forgive my omission.  I do see the error in not including an uninstaller and will rectify this in future versions.  In the meantime, here’s how to uninstall Cursor Lock.

  1. Delete the directory that you installed Cursor Lock to.
  2. Delete the Start Menu folder for Cursor Lock (if enabled on installation).

Cursor Lock 3.0?

I’m frequently amazed that Cursor Lock is still relevant more than ten years after I first wrote it.  Although its focus was originally on correcting a multi-monitor support oversight, many users are now employing Cursor Lock for their windowed gaming needs instead.  This shift in audience from enthusiast gamers to gamers in general has had me thinking about how to further simplify Cursor Lock.

As mentioned in the FAQ above, Program Mode is great for efficiency but a pain for anyone but advanced users to figure out.  Personally, I loathe having yet another program running in the background on the off-chance that I might run a program that needed it.  But memory is cheap these days, so I must reluctantly deprecate Program Mode in favor of User Mode.  But, I’d like to make User Mode even better.  So that all the user would need to do is select the window to lock from a list of all open windows using a systray icon, and that window will always be locked whenever you use it.  I might even add support for the often-requested but niche use case of restricting the cursor to a user-defined area.

However, I would have done this already a year ago if it weren’t for my health being in such a dubious state the last several years.  But, if good health ever returns, believe me that an update to Cursor Lock will be the first thing I do.  In the meantime, I hope the FAQ helps.  Also, I’m sorry if I don’t answer your messages and comments promptly; there are a lot of days where I can’t even put together a cogent and well-thought-out response.  So again: FAQ.  And I’ll help when I can.

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