What to do when your mouse quits working - A basic guide to mouse troubleshooting

Page content

Few things are as annoying as when your mouse stops working the way that it should. In accordance with Murphy’s Law this always happens at the least opportune time. Say, midnight on a Sunday, when you have a major presentation due tomorrow. In order to spare you having to stop work we will look at ways to fix two common mouse models.

Wired Mouse Problems

If you have a ball style mouse here are some of your common problems with solutions.

Poor connection with the cable.

If you yank your mouse out too far you can loosen or disconnect the cable. Luckily for you if this is your problem it is a simple fix. Follow the cord from the mouse to computer. Simply unplug it and replug it in.

Poor Care

If you have a ball style mouse you should be cleaning it out at regular intervals. If you have neglected this your mouse may get clogged. To fix this problem simply follow these steps:

  1. Turn the mouse over.
  2. Find the balls cover panel. This is usually circular.
  3. Slide it in the direction of the indicator arrows.
  4. Remove the cover and ball.
  5. Clean out the cavity with a dry rag or cotton swab.
  6. Check the cavity for any sticky substances. Gently loosen and remove. When the cavity is clean replace the ball and cover. Try the mouse to see if performance improved.

Wireless or Infrared Mouse Problems

Dealing with your infrared mouse can be a bit more tricky so it is best to run down the whole range and see what works.

  1. Check the cord that connects the signal receiver to the computer the same way you would a standard mouse cord. When in doubt unplug and replug it anyway.
  2. Repair your device and hub. If you signal is weak or has lost its connection, re-pairing the device is the most simple way to do this. Consult your manual, as this is usually a button push.
  3. Calibrate the mouse. Some models have this, and some don’t; it depends on your software. Check the manual for your mouse.
  4. Look for blockage. If something like a dangling cord is blocking the signal’s path. If you find one, clear it up.
  5. Check your batteries. A wireless mouse that runs on batteries will show poor performance if it is low on power.

If Nothing Worked

If your mouse is still not working properly and you need to get work done now you can:

  • Scrounge around for a spare/borrow from another computer. Or…
  • Use keyboard shortcuts to duplicate the functions. You can find some common keyboard shortcuts here.