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Troubleshooting Wireless Keyboards and Mice that are Slow, Jerky, or Locked Up

written by: R.L. Flowers•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 9/16/2010

Are your wireless keyboard and mouse giving you fits? Are they slow, jerky or locking up? Microsoft and other manufacturers have some troubleshooting tips, but this article goes into a few things you can try before contacting Microsoft or other manufacturers.

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    Wireless Keyboards and Mice: Why don't they work?

    Are your keyboard and mouse acting up? Perhaps the mouse is jerky. It works great sometimes, but other times it seems like you have to move it all over the place to get it working. Maybe the keyboard has the same problem. It types fine, but sometimes it misses keystrokes for no reason. For this article we'll talk about some basic troubleshooting steps. Be prepared to move things around a bit, and it will help if you have the documentation for your keyboard and mouse nearby.

    So let's get started. Follow along as we go through a number of basic steps to get your Microsoft (or any brand) keyboard and mouse working.

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    Wireless Keyboard and Mice: Basic Troubleshooting Steps

    There are some basic steps that you can take to make sure that your wireless keyboard and mouse have the best chances of working.

    First and foremost, replace your batteries. This is the leading cause of failure. Strong batteries are vital if your wireless keyboard and mouse, including Microsoft, Logitech, and other brands, are to work correctly. Weak batteries can be frustrating to deal with. Sometimes the mouse or keyboard will work fine, and sometimes they start acting odd. This is where the jerky and slow motion problems can show up. The problem is that Alkaline batteries can provide plenty of energy at first, even if they are worn down. After a few minutes or hours of use, however, they lose their capacity and the jerky problems can start up. You may even deal with it, then walk away from the computer for the rest of the day (such as leaving your office).

    While you are gone, the batteries regain some of their capacity. The cycle repeats itself until eventually the keyboard or mouse do not work at all.

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    Wireless Keyboard and Mice: More Troubleshooting Steps

    Another common problem is that the receiver for the wireless keyboard or mouse can be too far away for them to work. I have personally seen cases where the mouse works if used on one side of the mouse pad, and not the other. This was due to the distance of the mouse from the receiver being too great when on the far side of the mouse pad. The same can be true of a keyboard. This will also cause the same jerky motions to a mouse, and missed keys on a keyboard.

    The solution to this problem is to move the receiver closer to the keyboard and mouse. If the receiver is of the USB fob type (similar in shape to a USB memory stick) then you can buy a USB extension cable and place the fob closer. Perhaps placing it next to the monitor would work best. If the receiver has a tendency to fall behind your desk, a small, clear piece of scotch tape will hold it down, and will be one hundred percent removable if you decide to move it later.

    If your wireless keyboard or mouse have a desktop receiver, try moving it a little closer.

    You may also need to press the "connect" buttons on the receiver and also underneath the keyboard and mouse. If they have an on/off switch you should turn them on and off.

    Hopefully this article will help you to fix your Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse slow, jerk or lockup problems. If not, check with the technical support and Frequently Asked Questions sections of your manufacturer's support website.