Easy Fixes for Computer Mouse Issues

June 30, 2015

Your ability to use your computer rests depends on a well-functioning mouse. Keep your mouse running smoothly with the below tips and tricks.

Easy Fixes for Computer Mouse Issues

My computer mouse is jumpy

Take control over your pointing tool

There's little more as frustrating as trying to select a word or an image onscreen with a jumpy mouse. Skittish movement can come down to software or hardware, but it is usually easy to tame.

  • Always use a mouse pad on a solid, flat surface. Wipe the pad clean from time to time to remove grease and grime.
  • Most modern computer mice are "optical" — light is emitted from the base of the unit, allowing sensors to detect its movement relative to the surface. The sensors can be fooled by debris on the underside of the mouse, and the movement of the mouse can be impeded by dirt on the "running tracks." Clean the underside with a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol to get rid of the grime.
  • An older computer may have a "ball mouse" that contains a rubber ball that rolls against spring-loaded rollers as the mouse is moved. This, too, is easy to clean. Twist the retaining ring on the base of the mouse to release the ball. Use a pair of tweezers and a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol to clean the two rollers that make contact with the ball. Wash the ball in soapy water, then dry and reassemble.
  • Your mouse can appear jumpy if your computer's processor is busy doing other work in the background. Close any programs that you are not using and try again.

My mouse is moving really slowly

Tweak your system for extra speed

If you need to drag your mouse halfway across your desk to move the cursor by a very short distance, or if your cursor flies across the screen when you touch your mouse, follow a few simple steps to get back on track.

  • In Windows, go to Control panel -> Mouse -> Pointer speed and adjust the speed until it is comfortable.
  • Mac OS X users should go to System preferences -> Mouse -> Tracking speed to make the same adjustment.
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