Mouse acting erratically or is not moving properly

Computer MouseThere are a lot of different reasons why a computer mouse may not move properly or act erratically. Below is a full list of all the different reasons as well as our recommended fixes.

Mouse is not clean

Users who have an opticalmechanical mouse (most common mouse for desktop computers) are likely experiencing erratic behavior because the mouse is not clean causing a bad signal.

  • See our computer cleaning page for steps on cleaning a mouse and all other computer hardware.

Optical portion of mouse is blocked

Bottom of optical-mechanical and optical computer mouseUsers who have an optical mouse are likely experiencing erratic behavior because a portion of the optical eye is blocked. Most commonly this is caused by a hair. If you have not already cleaned the mouse turn it over and make sure is nothing blocking the hole. We often will turn the mouse over and blow on the hole to make sure no hair sare in the hole causing problems. Even one hair can cause havoc with the sensor.

Bad surface

Although most mice will work with any computer surface if you're having issues we suggest trying a different mouse pad, a book, piece of paper, or something different to verify it's not the surface causing your issue. For example, many optical mice are notorious for not working on glass tables.

Moisture or other substance on finger

Users who are using a touchpad may experience erratic behavior because of moisture or other material on the finger such as a lotion.

Disconnect other external input devices

It may not be the mouse that's causing your issue, if you have other input devices such as another external mouse, graphics tablet, keypad, etc. Try disconnecting these devices to make sure they're not the cause of your issue.

Update drivers and uninstall older drivers

Because the drivers control how the mouse interfaces with the operating system if the drivers contain issues any number of problems can occur including the cursor moving improperly. Make sure you have the latest drivers from your mouse manufacturer.

We also highly suggest that you go into Add/Remove programs and uninstall all previous installations of previous mouse drivers that have been installed on the computer. This is very important when moving between mouse manufacturers such as going from a Logitech mouse to a Microsoft mouse.

Mouse has been cleaned and still has problems

If you've cleaned the mouse and continue to encounter issues and this mouse has worked in the past fine unfortunately your mouse is likely defective. One additional test that can be done to help determine if this is the case or not is to connect the mouse to another computer. Otherwise we suggest replacing the mouse.

Additional information

  • See our mouse and touchpad definitions for further information and related links on these terms.