How to connect and install a computer mouse
Today, almost all wired and wireless mice use USB as the interface to the computer. However, older computers may utilize PS/2 or serial ports. If your mouse is wireless, it can be communicating over Bluetooth, RF (radio frequency), or IR (infrared). To proceed, select your connection type from the following list and follow the instructions to connect and install an external mouse on a Windows or Mac computer.
To disconnect a mouse from a computer, do the opposite of the steps provided on this page.
Connecting a wireless USB mouse
To connect a wireless USB mouse to your computer, you must have the USB receiver that comes with it. Without the receiver, there is no way to connect the wireless USB mouse to your computer.
- Find a USB port in the back or on the side of your computer and plug in the receiver.
If you are unsure what a USB port looks like, there is an example image in the next section.
- Once the wireless receiver is connected to the computer, Windows or macOS should automatically find and install the appropriate drivers. Depending on the mouse brand, your computer may need to connect to the Internet to install the drivers automatically.
- Make sure there are batteries in the mouse, or the internal battery is charged.
- Next, verify the mouse is turned on. Many wireless devices have an on and off switch on the bottom of them.
To change how any special buttons work on your mouse, additional software may need to be installed. If the mouse is not functioning, see our mouse troubleshooting section.
Connecting a wired USB mouse
Connect the USB cable coming from the mouse to one of the USB ports (shown right) on the back or side of your computer. If you are using a USB port hub, connect the mouse cable to that.
After the mouse is connected, the computer should automatically install the drivers and provide basic functionality. To change how any special buttons work on your mouse, additional software may need to be installed.
If the mouse is not functioning, see our mouse troubleshooting section.
Connecting a Bluetooth mouse
A Bluetooth mouse connects to a computer wirelessly using a Bluetooth signal. The computer must have built-in Bluetooth or have a Bluetooth adapter connected to it.
To connect a Bluetooth mouse to your computer, follow the steps below.
- Open the Bluetooth utility on your computer and make sure Bluetooth is enabled. The Bluetooth utility, if enabled, is in the notification area, with an icon that looks like the Bluetooth symbol.
- Turn on the mouse if it has an On/Off switch. Check the Bluetooth utility to see if it detects the Bluetooth mouse.
- When the Bluetooth utility finds the Bluetooth mouse, select the mouse in the Bluetooth device list and click the Pair button.
- If successful, the mouse connects to the computer.
If the Bluetooth utility does not detect the Bluetooth mouse, check the bottom of the mouse or inside the battery compartment for a small button. If found, press the button, as the computer may require the mouse to be discoverable. If no button is found and the mouse comes with a software installation disc, install the mouse software on the computer. After installing, check the Bluetooth utility to see if it detects the Bluetooth mouse.
Connecting a PS/2 mouse
Before connecting or disconnecting the PS/2 mouse, make sure the computer is turned off.
Connect the cable coming from the mouse to the green-colored PS/2 port (shown right) on the back of the computer. If your PS/2 ports are not color-coded, use the mouse port furthest from the left side of the computer chassis (when viewed from the back).
After the mouse is connected, the computer should automatically install the drivers and provide basic functionality. To change how any special buttons work on your mouse, additional software may need to be installed. If the mouse is not functioning, see our mouse troubleshooting section.
If you have a newer computer, you may need a PS/2-to-USB adapter to connect a PS/2 mouse to your computer's USB port.
Connecting a serial mouse
When connecting or disconnecting a serial mouse, make sure the computer is turned off.
Connect the mouse to the serial port on the back of the computer. If you have more than one serial port on the computer, we recommend connecting the mouse to the first port. Once connected, depending on your computer setup, you may need to configure the mouse COM ports in the BIOS setup.
Today, most computers no longer have serial ports. Most serial mice are specialized, so you need to install the software included with the mouse or from the mouse manufacturer's website.
If you're having problems connecting a serial mouse because the computer has no serial port or the port is not working, consider using a serial to USB adapter.
If using an older computer (2005 or earlier) with a serial or USB mouse, it may be necessary to configure the ports in the BIOS setup. If you have a newer computer, this section can be skipped.
Older computers with serial mice
If you're using a serial mouse and it's not detected, verify the serial ports or COM ports are enabled and assigned correctly in BIOS.
Older computers with USB
If the mouse connects via USB, make sure USB is enabled and, if available, also ensure the USB legacy support is enabled. USB legacy support allows the mouse to work in legacy mode, for example, DOS.
If your mouse is not working after following the steps above, additional troubleshooting may be required.