How to Know If You Need to Replace Your Mouse

The mouse is a necessary component of your computer system and without one, it’s incredibly difficult to use your machine. Unfortunately, your mouse can stop working for any number of reasons and completely unexpectedly. Sometimes, the mouse is just malfunctioning and not completely beyond repair. Before you invest in a brand new one, rule out the most common problems.

Businesswoman using keyboard and computer mouse in office
credit: DeanDrobot/iStock/Getty Images

Step

Reboot your computer. Sometimes, the mouse will stop working during your current usage session for no apparent reason.

Step

Update the mouse drivers. In Windows, navigate to the “Device Manager,” found under Control Panel. Under “Mice and other pointing devices,” double click on your mouse’s listing. In the pop-up window, click on the “Driver” tab. Double check that you’re connected to the Internet, and click on “Update Driver.” Follow the prompts to search for a new driver.

Step

Clean the mouse. Using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol, remove any dirt or other foreign material from the bottom of the mouse. If you’re using a track ball, remove the ball and use small scissors to dislodge any lint that is attached to the internal rollers.

Step

Unplug the mouse and examine the plug. Your computer must be turned off when you unplug and plug in your mouse. A PS2 connector, a round connector, should have no bent pins. Use a pair of pliers to gently bend any pins back in place. Neither USB, a flat connector, nor PS2 connectors should have any corrosion or rust.

Step

Inspect the cord. Make sure the cord doesn’t have any frays, cuts or kinks.

Step

Try a different port. Plug a USB mouse into a different USB port to rule out the possibility that that port is faulty.

Step

Replace the mouse. If none of these steps solved your problem, you need to replace your mouse.