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PC Help for Dummies: Keyboard and Mouse

written by: KateG•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 12/1/2008

If you are having a problem with your keyboard or your mouse then this guide can help you get things back on track. DIY solutions for many common problems are in this article.

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    Common Computer and Mouse Problems

    Some of the most frustrating problems that you can have with your computer are not actually problems that you are having with your system; they are problems with your peripherals. The most frustrating problems can be with your keyboard and mouse. This is because of the simple fact that there are only a limited number of ways to get input into your system and when you are having a problem with your keyboard and mouse you are at a loss for one type of input that is normally available to you.

    A lot of people will, at the first sign of problems, chuck these generally low cost peripherals without even trying to repair them but those people are quitters so before you head out to the store lets go over some of the common problems that you may have with keyboards and mice.

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    My mouse drags

    If you have a ball style mouse turn the circular bottom plate to let out the ball. Wipe down the ball, the plate and the cavity in which the ball lives with a dry cloth. Never use a wet cloth as water and electricity never mix.

    If you have a wireless mouse you should check your wireless connection. This process varies by model so check your instructional manual.

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    My keyboard isn’t typing

    Ok this one is pretty simple:

    1. If you have a keyboard with a lock switch, as some newer models that are wireless do, make sure you are set to unlock.
    2. Check your connections to the PC. That’s right go check your cords and if you are in doubt completely unplug and replug it in.
    3. If you have a wireless keyboard you should check your connection. This process will vary by manufacturer and model so consult your manual for instructions on how to do this.
    4. Restart the machine. If you get through all of these and you still do not have a fix you may have to replace the keyboard.

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    I lost a key

    This is more common then you know. If you can find it then just turn the computer off and pop it back into the assigned spot. If you can’t find it then you should call the maker, they may be able to send you a new key for a nominal fee.

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    I spilled liquid on it.

    Immediately unplug the input device, then:

    Mouse: Ok, the odds are good here. Go get a paper towel and dry it off. Since a mouse has few cracks in the case you should be able to salvage it.

    Keyboard: Get a towel and double it over and flip the keyboard over to drain out the liquid. Give this a few minutes. Sadly here’s your chances are worse due to all of the spaces between the keys and the case. If after the toweling it is still wet use a blow drier on the cold setting. If the keys or case is sticky use screen wipes to fix that. If it does not work you will have to replace the keyboard.

    Once sure the device is COMPLETELY dry, reconnect it and hope for the best.

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    I’m stuck without a mouse!

    Ok don’t panic if you can’t get to the store right away you can use some basic keyboard shortcuts to get your work done.

    Switch Between Open Applications: Alt+Tab

    Bring up the Start menu: Ctrl + Esc

    Simulates a Right Click: Shift + F10

    Closes the Current Program: Alt + F4