Mouse acting erratically or is not moving properly

Computer MouseThere are many reasons why a computer mouse may not be functioning properly. The following is a list of the more common reasons for erratic mouse movement, as well as our recommended fixes.

The mouse is not clean

An optical-mechanical mouse (mouse with a ball) may not work well because the inside of the mouse is not clean. See our computer cleaning page for steps to remedy this problem.

Optical portion of mouse is blocked

Bottom of optical-mechanical and optical computer mouseUsers who have an optical mouse (LED or laser) may have erratic behavior because a portion of the optical eye is blocked. A hair most commonly causes this problem; even one hair can cause an issue with the sensor. If you have not already cleaned the mouse, turn it over and make sure there is no debris blocking the hole. Blowing into the hole usually removes any hairs that could cause problems.

Bad surface

Although most mice work on any surface, if you are having problems with the cursor, we suggest trying a different mouse pad or surface, such as a book or piece of paper. For example, optical mice are notorious for not working on glossy surfaces. Putting a piece a paper under the mouse is a quick fix for this issue.

Moisture or other substance on finger

Users who are using a touchpad may experience erratic behavior because of moisture or another substance on the finger, such as a lotion or soap. Wash your hands and wipe them with a towel thoroughly to remove any lotion or soap from your fingers.  It may also help to wipe the touchpad itself off too, to remove any substances that are sticking to it.

Disconnect other external input devices

If you have other input devices, such as another external mouse, graphics tablet, or keypad connected to your machine, it may cause interference. Try disconnecting these devices to make sure they are not the cause of your problem.

Update drivers and uninstall older drivers

Because drivers control how the mouse interfaces with the operating system, if they're out of date or corrupt, the mouse is not going to work properly. Make sure you have the latest drivers from your mouse manufacturer.

We also recommend going into Add or Remove Programs and uninstalling all previous mouse drivers and software. This is important when moving between mouse manufacturers, like going from a Logitech to a Microsoft mouse.

The mouse has been cleaned and still has problems

If you have followed all of the steps listed above and continue to encounter problems, the mouse is likely defective. To determine if this is the case or not is, try connecting the mouse to another computer. You can also try connecting another mouse to your computer and testing it. If your mouse does not work on another computer or another mouse does work on your computer, we suggest replacing your mouse.

Corrupt operating system system files or Virus infection

If after trying everything above, you are still having problems with your mouse and even other mice on your computer, there may be corrupt operating system files on your computer. If one or more system files that interact with the mouse are corrupt, this can cause erratic mouse movement or failure to respond and click in various cases. If possible, restoring to a previous restore point could resolve the issue. However, you may have to perform an operating system repair install or full system recovery to resolve this type of issue.

There is also the possibility that your computer is infected with a virus or even spyware. A virus or spyware infection could cause problems with mouse movement and clicking actions, as well as a number of other problems. Scan your computer with an antivirus program to determine if it is infected.

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