Monday, October 14, 2013

Troubleshooting a Wireless Mouse

Mice have become an integral part of our daily computer usage, so much so, that you rarely ever have to explain to someone what the left click versus the right click accomplishes.  However, the one thing about wireless mice that often hangs people up is how to troubleshoot a wireless mouse once it stops working as expected.  Below are some tips for testing your wireless mouse to narrow down what might be causing the issue.

If the mouse suddenly stops responding:  
The easiest way to test the mouse in this situation is to remove the USB receiver the mouse connects to from the USB port on your computer / laptop and plug it back into the USB port.  Every wireless mouse connects to a receiver somehow.  Wireless means the mouse does not have a cord, but there has to be a receiver for the mouse to talk to or it will not work.  If you are unsure of what the receiver looks like, check all of your USB ports as it will be plugged into one of them.  

Make sure the volume on your computer / laptop is loud enough to hear system sounds then plug the USB receiver back into the USB port.  If the computer makes a sound it recognized the USB receiver was plugged back in.  Try using the mouse again to see if it works now.  Sometimes the USB receiver stops working without reason.  Normally, disconnecting and reconnecting the USB receiver to a USB port will connect it to your mouse again and begin working properly.  If your mouse does not start working after reconnecting the USB receiver, try plugging the USB receiver into a different USB port than the original one.

If the mouse jumps across the screen, jams up for a few seconds then starts working again, and then stops responding:
Most likely the batteries are going dead.  Usually when the mouse jumps around the screen it is because the connection between the wireless mouse and the USB receiver are not solid.  In some cases a mouse will react this way when a computer is overwhelmed but troubleshooting those issues are for another blog post.  Lastly, if you recently reorganized your desk, moved your computer or laptop further away or placed your mouse in a different location, it is possible the connection is either too far away or has too many obstacles between blocking the signal.  Try moving your mouse closer to your computer or laptop to see if it stabilizes itself.  

To replace the battery on your mouse flip it upside down and look for a button to push, or a panel to slide out.  Once you have done this, remove however many old batteries there are and replace them with new batteries.  Close the panel back and try using your mouse again.  If replacing the batteries does not fix your issue, put the old batteries back into your mouse, replace the panel, and try the troubleshooting step listed above.

NOTE:  Some older mice and keyboard mice combination packs have a receiver that you have to reconnect to.  These receivers have a button on them that says Connect, if you see this, press this and then press the corresponding Connect button on the bottom of your mouse.  You may need a sharp pencil, or paperclip to press this button as they are usually small on the backs of mice.  Be careful to only press if the language "Connect" is present or you may poke the laser of your mouse and damage the mouse.  

If the batteries and USB port check out fine but the mouse still does not work:
Try checking the properties of the mouse.  Go to Control Panel and double click on the Mouse icon.  Click on the Hardware tab and see if the device says it is working properly or not.  if it is not you can try updating the driver, or rolling it back if it was recently updated.  Also, click through the Buttons, Pointer, Pointer Options, and Wheel tabs to see if any of the options do not match up to how you want your mouse to behave.  It is possible one of the settings is behaving correctly but different than what you prefer.

If the mouse still does not work after all of the steps above:
If all else fails, try rebooting your computer.  If that still does not fix the issue, you might have a bad USB receiver, or a bad mouse.  Check to see if your mouse is still under warranty before purchasing a new one.  Most wireless mice last at least three and up to six years depending upon usage, storage, etc.

Good luck!

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