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Dealing With Mouse Issues in Firefox

written by: Vasanth•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 7/22/2011

Find out why the mouse is not responding normally while using the Firefox web browser and discover ways to reduce Firefox mouse stutters.

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    The mouse is the main device used to navigate on a computer screen. It controls the location of the pointer or cursor. It is also the primary device used to interact with icons, windows and applications. With the mouse, you can click, double-click, drag, highlight and scroll. Sometimes, the mouse may not function normally. It may be difficult to copy text, drag a picture, or the pointer may not respond when you click on something. Some of these problems might appear while using the Firefox web browser. There could be many causes for an improperly functioning mouse. Here are a few tips to fix mouse problems that arise in Firefox.

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    Change the Scrolling Options in Firefox

    Scroll Options Firefox 

    If the mouse is not functioning the way you expect it to while using Firefox, try adjusting the scrolling features in Firefox. Depending on what options are enabled, the mouse may not function as it does on the desktop or within other applications. These options change how the scroll wheel on the mouse moves the pages up and down.

    One of the options is auto scrolling. This lets you scroll up or down continuously until the page reaches the top or bottom, without having to move the mouse. It works when you press the scroll wheel button once and nudge the mouse in the direction you want. The page will gradually descend or ascend without any further input from the mouse.

    Another feature is smooth scrolling. If this is not enabled, the page is broken into stops during scrolling. One turn of the scroll wheel causes the page to jump to the next stop. With smooth scrolling enabled, the spaces between the stops are merged together creating a smooth transition as you scroll.

    To changes these options, do the following:

    • Click Tools and select Options.
    • Click the Advanced tab.
    • In the browsing section, check the scrolling options you want enabled.
    • Click OK.

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    Check the Input Drivers

    Mouse Properties Control Panel 

    If the mouse isn't working the way it should after changing the scrolling options, then consider the input drivers. This software runs the mouse. If a virus or other malware damages the driver files, it will likely affect the function of the mouse. Downloading an updated driver is probably the best way to correct this. The manufacturer of the mouse will likely have the driver software online on their website. Search for the model number of your mouse and download the driver. Even if there isn't a new version, re-install the same one you currently have.

    After downloading the mouse driver, restart the computer, and then check the settings in the control panel. To access this area, click the Start icon and click Control Panel. Depending on how the panel is arranged, look directly for the Mouse icon, or click Hardware and Sound and find the Mouse Properties folder in there. Here you can set various mouse settings like double-click speed and pointer speed.

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    See if Extensions or Themes Are Conflicting With Mouse Functions

    Another reason that might cause Firefox mouse stutters is that the extensions or themes installed on Firefox is conflicting with the mouse. To see it this is the case, start Firefox in Safe Mode. In Firefox Safe Mode, all Firefox extensions are disabled and the default theme is used. To do this, follow these steps:

    • Click File and select Exit. This closes the Firefox web browser.
    • Open the Start icon and click All Programs.
    • Find the Mozilla Firefox folder and open it.
    • Click on Mozilla Firefox (Safe Mode).
    • In the Firefox Safe Mode dialogue box, click Continue in Safe Mode.

    In Safe Mode, if the mouse functions normally, then the cause of the problem was one of the extensions or themes. Disable the extensions and use the default theme when you restart Firefox normally.

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    Adjust Firefox Settings

    About:Config Mouse Scroll Wheel 

    If the problem persists while in safe mode, there is one other area to check before throwing out the mouse or switching browsers. In Firefox, there is a setting called mousewheel.withnokey. The values assigned to it may affect the function of the mouse. To access this setting and change it, do the following:

    • In the Location bar of the browser, type about:config and press Enter.
    • When the warning message appears, click I'll be careful, I promise!
    • In the Filter field, type mousewheel.withnokey.
    • Find this field - mousewheel.withnokey.action - It should have a value of zero. If not, double click it and set it to zero.
    • Find this field - mousewheel.withnokey.numlines - It should have a value of one. If not, double click it and set it to one.
    • If both of these fields were unchanged, double click mousewheel.withnokey.sysnumlines and change it from True to False.
    • If either of those fields were changed, check to see if the mouse still works. If the mouse doesn't work, double click mousewheel.withnokey.sysnumlines and change it from True to False.

    If your mouse is working normally, the value for mousewheel.withnokey.numlines can be changed to increase the speed of scrolling. The higher the value the quicker the scrolling.

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    Mozilla Support - Options Window Advanced Panel - Browsing -

    Windows Help and How To - Change Mouse Settings -

    Mozilla Support - Troubleshooting Extensions and Themes -

    PC World - Change the Speed of Mousewheel Scrolling in Firefox -

    MozillaZine Knowledge Base - Logitech Mouse -

    Firefox Help -

    Image Credit - Screenshot taken by author