No Cursor in Steam In-Home Streaming

No cursor when streaming from your Windows 10 Steam box?

no cursor steam streamingI ran into this issue the other day. I recently moved to a completely headless gaming PC, streaming my games to my 1080p laptop from my Windows 10 gaming rig. It had actually been a while since I had re-purposed the monitor for another machine and ordered an HDMI loopback device to allow 1080p resolution without a monitor attached. I finally got around to testing the system out and ran into an unusual situation: while streaming from the desktop I had no cursor in-game.

This obviously made it difficult to use. I started down the troubleshooting path. I updated video drivers, chipset drivers, USB 3.0 drivers, Windows updates, you name it, I tried it. The only gotcha was that I was doing this all through the UltraVNC connection I use to manage the desktop system remotely. I wasn’t actually sitting down at the machine and doing any of this / testing streaming with a monitor, keyboard and mouse attached. The solution was one of those “I can’t believe it was that simple” things: Plug a mouse into the “source” PC! Windows 10 apparently disables the mouse cursor if there’s no physical mouse plugged in. Who knew? Apparently as part of its “touch enabled” UI it tries to get fancy and just gives you no cursor if there’s no USB pointing device plugged in.

It’s a crazy little thing, but having no cursor was driving me nuts until I was troubleshooting and plugged in a mouse in as part of the troubleshooting, left it attached and tried streaming again. It took me a few minutes to determine why it suddenly started working as expected when seemingly “nothing changed”.

I’m not quite out of the woods yet, though. I may have resolved my “no cursor” issue, but now I’m dealing with some screen flickering, which is apparently a new-ish issue that Valve introduced to AMD-card owners (which is me, for the first time in years) back in November of 2015. The frustrating thing on this one is that it appears to have no solution at this point, just a lot of waiting until a fix is issued.

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