Screen Too Bright, Speakers Too Loud? Don’t Despair: Use Volumouse For Windows!

Erez Zukerman 27-12-2012

volumouse reviewAh, the humble mouse wheel. If your pointing device of choice is a mouse (rather than a laptop trackpad), then you surely don’t just use its buttons – its scroll wheel must get quite a bit of use too. But what do you use it for, really? Wait, don’t tell me: For scrolling documents and webpages! If you’re an advanced user, you probably use it for zooming in and out, too, changing font size with a quick flick of the wheel.


That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of what your mouse wheel can do. It can change your volume levels, tweak your screen brightness (even if you’re not using a laptop!), and more. Want to know how? Read on and discover the classic free utility Volumouse.

Basic Functionality

volumouse review

The basic idea behind Volumouse is simple: Spin the mouse wheel while holding down certain keys or mouse buttons, and interesting things happen. This isn’t a new concept: Like I just said, holding down Ctrl or Shift while scrolling the wheel is a pretty common command which lots of applications will respond to by changing the font size or zooming in on the drawing canvas (when it comes to painting or image editing applications). It’s the desktop’s “pinch to zoom”, if you will – a ubiquitous gesture used by numerous users and applications without giving it too much thought. But Volumouse takes this concept and stretches it to its logical extremes, letting you hold down any key while scrolling the mouse wheel and making numerous changes to system settings.

Above you see the Volumouse configuration screen. It’s not exactly beautiful, but is clear and functional. The bulk of the window is taken up by a list with several columns. Each row on the list makes up one Volumouse “rule.” The first column is used for configuring the trigger: For the rule to activate, what should you be doing in addition to spinning the mouse wheel? Here are your options:

volumous windows 7


This is quite a list; in fact, it doesn’t all fit in a single screenshot. Still, the portion you see above gives a good idea: You can have a rule trigger when you spin the mouse wheel while holding Ctrl, Shift, Alt, or even specifically just the left Alt key or the right one (so you could have wheel + left Alt do one thing, and  wheel + right Alt do something entirely different). Volumouse can also watch for specific windows, letting you tweak what your mouse wheel does while VLC is active (for example).

Okay, so those are all triggers. Now let’s look at the components those triggers can control:

volumouse review

This is a somewhat shorter list, but it still packs quite a bit of power. Basically, this is the stuff Volumouse can do: Much of the list is dedicated to your system’s various audio devices, because controlling these is Volumouse’s bread and butter (it’s in the name, after all). Even though only a handful of the items on the list aren’t audio devices, each merits its own mention:


Tips and Tweaks

There aren’t that many nooks and crannies to Volumouse, which is a good thing, really. The only tip I’d like to mention has to do with the “Steps” parameter shown in the first screenshot above. Basically, Volumouse is all about the operations that happen bit by bit: Increasing or decreasing the sound volume, a window’s opacity, or the screen’s brightness.

The “Steps” parameter lets you set how gradually each operation is done: Just how much the volume changes with every notch of your mouse wheel, for example. The reason I mention this is that from my experience, the “Steps” value is often set too high by default, giving the whole program a frustrating feel. You turn the mouse wheel just a little bit, and the sound volume shoots up alarmingly. At the default Steps value, I found myself having to constantly fiddle with the mouse wheel until I got to the levels I wanted.

For me, the solution was to decrease the Steps value, making volume control much more fine-grained. Sure, you can’t send the volume up very quickly, but how often do you want to do that, really? Most of the time I just want to smoothly adjust it, raising  or lowering it according to the current song or ambient noise level. Having a low Steps value (100, for me) lets me finesse that with little effort and no frustration.

Final Thoughts

Volumouse isn’t very new, and it sure isn’t shiny. The UI is simple, even a bit clunky. But it’s free, powerful, lean on system resources, and gets the job done. For me, these are the qualities of a classic utility, one which I’ll definitely be putting to good use on my own system. Highly recommended.


Related topics: Computer Monitor, Computer Mouse Tips.

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  1. Darrell Thomas
    January 4, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    thanks ill give this ago thanks makeuseof

  2. Riya
    December 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Nirsoft really has some cool programs that too for free :)

  3. Junil Maharjan
    December 28, 2012 at 4:05 am

    I think the windows built in functionality is enough for me.

  4. Chew Jian Yue
    December 28, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Any GUI App for linux?

  5. Rajaa Chowdhury
    December 28, 2012 at 2:01 am

    BTW, you may not see much changes during the daytime with F.lux, but the magic starts as the sun sets. :)

  6. Rajaa Chowdhury
    December 28, 2012 at 1:59 am

    I do not use anything for the volume but I do use a very neat little freeware program called F.lux for screen resolution. It automatically adjusts the screen resolution and tinge as per the light outside and time. Very cool software and very soothing to my eyes. I use it on my Windows 7 Desktop but also available for Mac, Linix and iPhone/iPAD. Checkout :

    • Vinh
      December 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      I absolutely love F.lux. It makes the whole computing experience much easier on the eyes. I cringe whenever I have to use my friend's computer without F.lux.

    • Ashwin Divakaran
      January 8, 2013 at 8:08 am

      I m using F.lux too.Like you said it does not change the screen resolution but change the color temperature for the eye-soothing effect!