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Computer Mouse Help - A little guide on your Computer Mouse.

written by: Indu Priya•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 11/7/2008

Every computer user can identify the importance of a mouse in using a PC. Just imagine that your mouse simply dies in your hands and you don’t know how to save what you’ve done so far! Before you start to hyperventilate; take a look at this little guide.

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    A mouse is a device which is supplied with the computer to control a cursor and manipulate commands without the need for complex keyboard commands. The mouse was initially called as the X-Y Position Indicator for a given computer system. Each mouse has either two or three separate buttons which are the left button, right button, and an optional middle button or a mouse wheel which is located in the center of the right and left buttons. A few Apple models just come with a single button mouse. Problems can occur any where with the computer mouse and its operating parts, and this should help you in dealing with a few of the more common problems which creep in.

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    No Mouse Movement

    If your mouse has no movement, it's very common for the connection at the back at the computer to have come loose. Make sure it is plugged in completely and then check it again. If you still aren’t getting any computer movement then it's time to check the connector plug. During the time that you have been using the computer there is a chance that the connector pins may have come a little loose resulting in a wobbly connection. The pins might also be broken or bent. Usually connectors for the mouse are color coded with a beautiful bright green or with the same color as that of the mouse. If you are using the newer and better USB or Universal Serial Bus connector, then these are more delicate and can definitely get damaged much more easily than the mechanical mouse connectors.

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    The Mouse Simply Freezes During Operation

    If your mouse simply quits in the middle of your computer session there’s no need to panic. First start saving all the work you have been doing by using keyboard shortcuts and or press the ALT key to access the main program you have been working on to save it.

    • Once all your work is saved go on to check that the connection at the back of the computer is secure.
    • If the connection is tight then check the mouse itself for dirt accumulation which can cause the ball and track system to freeze in place.
    • Remove the ball and track system by going through the manual provided with the system and clean well with a mild soapy solution and cotton swab. Replace the ball and secure it in place with the retainer.
    • Again connect the mouse to the computer and then boot the computer again.
    • If the mouse works then well and good. If the mouse is still frozen in place then you will have to use the device driver to diagnose further problems. Or you can also try to reinstall the PC’s mouse drivers. Go to Windows, click on the "Control Panel" then "System." Select the option of "Device Driver" tab then scroll through your options and search out your mouse. Uninstall all of the drivers which are listed against your mouse and then disconnect your mouse. Wait for a few minutes and then reboot the computer. Plug the mouse back in, and then Windows will set up a prompt to reinstall the drivers.
    • For an optical mouse cleaning may be a little different; the only issue associated with Optical Mice is that the pads of the mouse get sticky as they collect surface dust and this jigs the mouse up. You can get weird and uncontrollable cursor movement as it jumps all over the computer screen or it might just freeze up on the screen. The easiest way deal with the problem is to remove the dust on mouse soft pads by scraping it off. Invert the mouse and slowly run your finger nail on the pads to remove gunk. Also make sure you have cleaned the pad on which you place the mouse. Do not use sharp instruments or pointed instruments to clean the mouse as you will permanently damage the soft movement pads. You can also try to wipe the pads with a clean wet cloth dipped in soap. When the pads are clean use a white sheet of paper and place the mouse on it to blot all excess moisture. The paper will also pick up dust or sticky grease.
    • A laser mouse does not need to be cleaned as much as a mechanical mouse but do keep it clean for the best efficiency. Use a Q tip dipped in alcohol to clean the lens about once a month.
    • If you have a wireless mouse then first remove the batteries. Gently ease the base from the top shell. The wheel unit can be gently eased out of its cradle. Disconnect the wheel unit from the circuit board by unhooking the small plug connector. Clean the wheel with something like a few drops of turpentine on a cloth.
    • Your mouse might freeze up due to bent or broken connector pins. In such a scenario it is better to replace the mouse as replacing the pins will work out to be dearer or the same price as a new mouse.

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    For most computer users, the computer mouse is a simple device which is not really that important. But to work well, we need to have a well maintained and hitch free mouse for the best productivity!

    You may also want to read Solving Common Mouse Problems.