My mouse pointer is misbehaving, what should I do?

Depending on what kind of computer you are using you may have a mouse or a trackpad to control the cursor and sometimes it may stop working or behave erratically. Here we explain a few things you can try to either resolve the problem yourself or help narrow down the cause of the problem.

08 October 2012 Frequently Asked Questions  Apple Macs, Windows PCs

Keyboard Do Not Panic - Article

Depending on what kind of computer you are using you may have a mouse or a trackpad to control the cursor and sometimes for various reasons that may stop working or behave erratically. Here we show you a few things you can try to either resolve the problem yourself or help narrow down the cause of the problem.

Types of "mouse"

There are several different ways to get your pointer moving around the screen:

Using a Mouse Using a Trackpad Using a Trackpoint Using a Touchscreen
Traditional Mouse Trackpad Trackpoint Touchscreen
  1. The traditional "mouse" which is either wired or wireless.
  2. A trackpad which you slide your fingers over to move the cursor.
  3. A trackpoint - a small joystick in the middle of the keyboard.
  4. Touchscreen - you touch, tap, swipe to move the cursor.

Traditional mouse

If you have a wired mouse...

The first thing to check is that it is plugged in! Sounds obvious but it does happen.  In most cases when it is plugged in you should see a red light underneath the mouse though some mice use non-visible light.

If the mouse is plugged in and usually has a light underneath but no longer, unplug the mouse and try it in a different socket.  Usually your computer will indicate a new device has been plugged in and after a few moments the mouse will be recognised and start working.  If it does then it is possible there is a fault with the socket.

If the mouse still isn't working, see if you have a spare mouse you can try or try one of the sockets on the front of the computer.

If you have a wireless mouse...

The batteries, yes we know you have probably checked them but were the ones you put in really brand new or ones you found in the bottom of your drawer?

If you are sure the batteries are new check you have put them in the right way around?  I know I know but it is one of the most common reasons why a wireless mouse stops working.  Look inside the battery compartment for the graphic which shows how the batteries should go.

Most mice will also have a light (blue or red) underneath when they are working - if yours usually has such a light but no longer and the batteries are known to be good and in the right way around then the mouse may well be faulty.

Next check that the receiver is plugged in.  Older wireless mice/receivers need to be paired by pressing the Connect buttons on each (usually underneath the mouse).  Press and hold down the connect button on the receiver for a few seconds and then repeat the process on the mouse.  If your receiver doesn't have buttons, try moving the received into a different socket.

Also there are different kinds of "wireless" and some mice may work using "Bluetooth".  Usually the mouse will have Bluetooth symbol on it to indicate it is a Bluetooth mouse.  If it is then the first things to check (after the batteries) is that the Bluetooth function on your computer is switched on - usually there will be an icon to indicate this.  If not, check the Control Panel for the Bluetooth Device Manager and it should list devices there and provide an option to reconnect the mouse again.

Trackpad

Trackpads are very very sensitive and so one of the first things to do is make sure it is clean.  Switch the computer off and give the track pad a gentle clean with a slightly damp cloth is all that should be needed.

On some newer laptops there may also be a button which switches the trackpad off and on.  Look around the keyboard for a button with the symbol for a computer mouse (see below for an example).

Trackpad On/Off Button

If everything looks clean and the trackpad is switched on then the next step would be to connect up an external mouse.  If that moves around then it may indicate a fault with the trackpad and you should contact us for further assistance.

Trackpoint

Trackpoints are integrated into the keyboard and so susceptible to the presence of all those crumbs from muffins and toast that tend accumulate underneath the keys.  Blow gently around the area to clear out any debris and gently push the trackpoint stick up, down, left, right and through the diagonals.

If the pointer wanders off in one direction regularly than it is likely that the trackpoint hardware is faulty and the keyboard will need to be replaced.  Most laptop keyboards are usually around £25-£50+VAT and replacement doesn't take too long.

If the pointer remains in the centre of the screen but does response to movement using any trackpad then it is possible that the trackpoint has been switched off - in which case check the mouse control panel for the appropriate options.

If everything looks clean and the trackpoint is switched on then the next step would be to connect up an external mouse.  If that moves around then it may indicate a fault with the trackpoint and you should contact us for further assistance.

Touchscreen

Like trackpads, touchscreens need to be kept clean to ensure the best response however you shouldn't use water.  Get some screen cleaning or spectacle wipes or a computer screen cleaning spray.  If using a spray, always spray on to the cloth and then clean the screen - don't spray on the screen as the liquid may run into the screen electronics below the bottom edge of the screen.

Tags  erratic mouse pointer random

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