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 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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17 Responses to Cursor Lock FAQ and Future

  1. Lusid USA says:

    Got program mode working with a little tinkering. I think the major reason it’s so hard for many to get is it’s not stated that making the shortcut is very important. The program (and this site) make it feel like that’s an optional step. It is not, or at least doesn’t seem to be. When making the shortcut, Open Program is the program you want to be opened when you click the new shortcut (skse loader for example). Lock program is the program that, when it loads, will have the cursor locked to it. You then just use the new shortcut to play the game.

    Suggest clarifying the importance of making the shortcut. That aside, great program, does what it says. Even unlocks when i minimise the game. Perfect.

    • Snake USA says:

      Making a shortcut is optional insofar as you have the option to use either program mode or user mode. Sorry if this confused you.

  2. Yorae USA says:

    How is Cursor Lock with anticheat programs? Is it just using the Windows ClipCursor function or is something more invasive invovled?

    • Snake USA says:

      Never heard of any reports of conflicts with anti-cheat software. Yes, only ClipCursor is used, the cursor isn’t moved at all, so it’d be quite the stretch to consider this a cheat.

  3. traha9 USA says:

    I was wondering if this program can do the inverse of its intended objective – i.e. lock a mouse cursor outside of a game window or trick the game in thinking the mouse is persistently active within its window or some combination of tricks. Let me explain my use case.

    I often times use a controller to game and thus there is no need for the mouse at all within the game window. In fact, I would like to use my mouse to multi-task on other monitors or computers (via KVM); however, I have found this extremely difficult to achieve with certain games like Apex Legends. Even in borderless window mode, Apex attempts to hijack the mouse or at the minimum will mirror mouse inputs that are occurring on another monitor or even a Slave systems’ monitor via Input Director.

    Would Cursor Lock be useful for this use case? I wanted to go to the Forums before I spent more time configuring and hacking around.

    Any help would be so greatly appreciated! This issue has really become such an inconvenience for multitasking.

    • Snake USA says:

      I think this would have to be hacked at the game input level for each game, maybe with a tweaked dxinput dll, to disable mouse capture. You might try googling around for a tool of that nature; it is well outside the scope of Cursor Lock.

  4. Geoffrey USA says:

    I’m unable to use the hotkeys that cursorlock used after uninstalling (deleting). Please help.

    • Snake USA says:

      That’s an unusual problem to have. I can’t imagine anything more than a restart would be required, though.

      • BadWolf GBR says:

        The fix for me was that I didn’t have write permission on the INI file, this is due to it being in Program FIles which defaults to only administrator access.
        The fix for it is to simply run Cursor Lock as administrator or go and change the permissions on the INI file in C:\Program Files (x86)\Cursor Lock

        Hope this helps.

  5. Hello again.

    A weird thing is, it didn’t charge me for international transfer even though it was clearly stated in terms and conditions. Please check: must be $5 exactly, marked as “taskbar popup”.

    • Snake USA says:

      Yes, I did get a notification to that effect. Thanks very much. Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner, wasn’t feeling well. I hope cursor lock continues to fulfill your mouse trapping needs. 😉

      • Good. I’m new to Paypal, so I’m not yet sure what fees apply and that’s why I’m asking so many questions. As for the software, 10/10, would recommend, etc. One suggestion: indicate active lock in User mode (with on-screen message or tray icon changing color).

        • Snake USA says:

          Yeh, will totally have some sort of indicator in any future versions. Thanks for your support. It’s a good motivator. 😉

  6. Greetings!

    PayPal does accept the currency and allows conversion on the fly. Thing is, the fares result in doubling the sum and making it quite tangible in my currency, so I’d prefer to do it via Steam if that won’t trouble you too much to reveal profile name.

  7. Greetings!

    The guy with Stalker problem here. Program mode with window lock worked as intented (tested for 15 hours at least – not a single taskbar pop-up), and I’d like to drop a bit of coin in return for saving me the frustration. Thing is, I’m in CIS region, and that’d involve creating new accounts and exchanging currency. So, maybe a gift on Steam would be a solution if you told me the exact profile name?

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