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A small, thin cord connected the device to its host computer. The device’s small size, long tail-like cord, and quick scurrying movements immediately earned it the label of mouse. Every mouse needs at least one button. By pressing the button, you indicate that a selection is being made at the current cursor location. Many mouse-compatible software packages only use a single mouse button even to this day. A two-button mouse is more popular (reflecting the endurance of the mouse design) because a second button can add more flexibility to the mouse. For example, one button can work to “select” an item; the second button can be used to “deselect” that item again or to activate other menus and options. And the three mouse buttons now that are used widely in web applications. Although our mouses generally run endlessly without problems we from time to time may run into problems with our mouse and need help in fixing the problem. That is the purpose of this page and hopefully it will contain information to help you get your mouse back up and running in no time with the minimum of delay.
Cleaning a Pointing Device
Pointing devices are perhaps the simplest peripheral available for your computer. Although they are reasonably forgiving to wear and tear, trackballs and mice can easily be fouled by dust, debris, and foreign matter introduced from the ball. Contamination of this sort is almost never damaging, but it can cause some maddening problems when using the pointing device. A regimen of routine cleaning will help to prevent contamination problems. You can use prefabricated mouse cleaning kits to speed the cleaning process. Turn your small-computer off before performing any cleaning procedures:
Do not use harsh solvents, wood alcohol, or chemicals inside the pointing device or on the ball. Chemicals can easily melt the plastic and result in permanent damage to the pointing device.
My mouse cursor appears, but it only moves erratically as the ball moves
(if at all)?
This symptom might occur in either the horizontal or vertical axis. This symptom suggests that an intermittent condition is occurring somewhere in the pointing device. You should not have to disassemble your computer during this procedure. Start your investigation by powering down the computer. Check the device’s cable connector at the computer. Be sure that the connector is tight and inserted properly. If you are in the habit of continually plugging and unplugging the mouse/trackball, excessive wear can develop in the connector pins over time. If the connector does not seem to fit tightly in the computer, try a new pointing device.
More likely, the device’s rollers are not turning, or are turning only intermittently. In most cases, roller stall is caused by a dirty or damaged ball, or an accumulation of dirt blocking one or both sensors. Clean the ball and blow out any dust or debris that might have settled into the mouse/trackball housing. Refer to the preceding section on cleaning and attempt to clean the device thoroughly. Never use harsh solvents or chemicals to clean the housings or ball.
If you have the mouse connected to a standard serial communication port (a COM port), you should check that no other devices are using the same interrupt (IRQ). For example, COM1 and COM3 use the same IRQ, while COM2 and COM4 share another IRQ. If you have a mouse on COM1 and a modem on COM3, there will almost invariably be a hardware conflict. If possible, switch the mouse (or conflicting device) to another port and try the system again.
If no hardware conflict occurs, and cleaning does not correct an intermittent condition, remove the device’s upper housing to expose the PC board, and use your multimeter to check continuity across each wire in the connecting cable. Because you probably will not know which connector pins correspond to which wires at the sensor PC board, place one meter probe on a device’s wire and “ring-out” each connector pin until you find continuity. Make a wiring chart as you go. Each time you find a wire path, wiggle the cable to stimulate any possible intermittent wiring. Repair any intermittent wiring, if possible. If you cannot find continuity or repair faulty wiring, simply replace the pointing device.
One or both buttons function erratically (if at all)?
Buttons are prone to problems from dust accumulation and general contact corrosion. Your first step should be power down your computer and disconnect the pointing device. Remove the ball and upper housing to expose the PC board and switches. Spray a small amount of electronics- grade contact cleaner into each switch, then work each switch to circulate the cleaner. If cleaning does not improve intermittent switch contacts, you might wish to check continuity across the connecting cable. With the ball and housing cover removed, use your multimeter to check continuity across each wire in the connecting cable. Because you probably do not know which connector pins correspond to which wires at the device, place one meter lead on a device wire and “ring-out” each connector pin until you find continuity. Once you find continuity, wiggle the cable to stimulate any possible intermittent wiring. Repair any intermittent wiring if you can, or simply replace the pointing device.
The screen cursor appears on the display, but it does not move?
If the cursor appears, the device driver has loaded correctly and the application program is communicating with the driver. Your first step should be to suspect the serial connection. If there is no serial connection, however, no pulses will modify the cursor’s position. If you find a bad connection, power down your computer before reattaching the device’s serial connector, then restore power and allow the system to reinitialize.
If the device is attached correctly to its proper serial port, the problem probably exists in the pointing device’s wiring. Remove the ball and upper housing to expose the PC board, then use your multimeter to check continuity across each wire in the connecting cable. Because you probably do not know which connector pins correspond to which wires in the device, place one meter lead on a device wire and “ring-out” each connector pin until you find continuity. Once you find continuity, wiggle the cable to stimulate any possible intermittent wiring. Repair any intermittent or open wiring if you can, or simply replace the pointing device.
The mouse/trackball device driver fails to load?
The device driver is a short program that allows an application program to access information from a pointing device. Most computer users prefer to load their device drivers during system initialization by invoking the drivers in the CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT files. Most drivers are written to check for the presence of their respective device first—if the expected device does not respond, the driver will not be loaded into memory. Other drivers load blindly, regardless of whether the expected device is present or not.
If the device driver fails to load during initialization, your pointing device might not have been detected. Power down your computer and check the connection of your pointing device. Ensure the device is securely plugged into the proper serial port (or other mouse port). If the device is missing or incorrectly inserted, install or re-secure the pointing device and allow the system to reinitialize. If you see a “File not found” error message displayed at the point your device driver was supposed to load, the driver might have been accidentally erased, might be corrupted, or might be located in a sub-directory where the CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT files are not looking. Try reinstalling a valid copy of your mouse device driver and ensure that the driver is located where your calling batch file can access it. Reboot your system.
Most well-designed application programs check for the presence of a pointing device through the device driver during initial program execution. If the application program aborts or fails to execute because of a “No mouse found” or “No mouse driver” error, return to the preceding paragraphs and recheck the device and driver installation.
You see a “General protection fault” after installing a new mouse and
driver under Windows?
First, this is probably not a hardware fault (although it would be helpful to check any mouse driver command line switches in CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT). It is more likely that the new mouse driver is conflicting with one or more applications. Try several different applications—most will probably work just fine. Check with the mouse manufacturer to see if there are any other reported problems, and find if any patches are planned. If you have an older version of the mouse driver available, try replacing that one. An older driver might not work as well as a newer one, but it might not suffer from this kind of compatibility problem. If no patches or older drivers are available, you might be forced to change the mouse and mouse driver to something completely different to eliminate the problem.
You see an error: “This pointer device requires a newer version”?
In virtually all cases, you have the wrong driver installed on the system for your driver. Check the driver and be sure that the driver you are using is appropriate for the particular mouse. For example, a Logitech or Genius mouse selected in Windows setup can cause this kind of problem if you have a Microsoft mouse on the system. Change the mouse type under Windows. Under Windows 9x, you’ll need to remove the old mouse reference from the Device manager, then use the Add new hardware wizard to install the new mouse manually.
You see an error: “Mouse port disabled or mouse not present”?
This is almost always a connection or setup problem. Check the signal connector first. Be sure the mouse cable is not cut or damaged anywhere, and see that it is attached securely to the serial or PS/2 port. Many newer system BIOS versions now provide an option in the CMOS setup for a mouse port. Check the CMOS setup and see that any entries for your mouse are enabled properly.
You attempt a double-click but get quadrupleclick, or you attempt a singleclick
and get a double-click?
This is a phenomenon called “button bounce,” and is the result of a hardware defect (broken or poorly buffered mouse buttons). You might be able to clean the mouse buttons by spraying in some good-quality electronic-grade contact cleaner. Otherwise, you’ll need to replace the mouse outright.
A single mouse click works, but double-click doesn’t?
When this problem occurs, it is almost always because the “double-click speed” is set too high in the Windows 9x mouse control panel. Try setting it lower. Click Start, select Settings, then open the Control panel. Double-click the Mouse icon and adjust the Doubleclick speed slider under the Buttons tab.
The mouse pointer moves only vertically?
The mouse is connected to a PS/2 port under Windows 9x. If the mouse works along one axis but not the other, it’s usually because of a hardware problem—either the mouse needs to be cleaned or repaired. However, in some cases a software-configuration problem can occur when the mouse driver is installed on a system with Plug-and-Play BIOS running Windows 9x, and the mouse is connected to the PS/2-style mouse port. As soon as you touch the mouse, the pointer darts over the right edge of the screen, and then will move only up and down.
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