How to Fix It When Your Mouse Scroll Is Not Working

Mouse wheel acting funny? These fixes will help

It's common for a mouse wheel to suddenly stop scrolling. Before you throw your mouse in the trash, there are a few troubleshooting tips you can follow to get it working again.

Causes of Mouse Wheel Not Scrolling

When the mouse won't scroll, there are two issues that most commonly cause it. The first is dust and dirt causing mechanical issues with the mouse wheel. The second is low battery issues on wireless mice.

However, these aren't always the root cause. Other issues include incorrect mouse settings in the OS system settings, corrupt system files, or using a mouse that's incompatible with your operating system.

How to Fix a Mouse Wheel That's Not Scrolling

The issues below apply to all computer systems that use mice, including Windows 10 or macOS. In most cases, the fix involves the mouse itself. In other cases, the instructions will include steps for each operating system.

Before you get too far, are you only experiencing an issue with the mouse wheel not scrolling in Excel (a common issue)? If so, make sure the cursor movement direction in Excel is set up properly.

  1. Reconnect the mouse. Before doing anything, make sure the issue isn't a temporary one. You can do this by disconnecting the mouse from the USB port and plugging it back in. Whenever you plug in a mouse, it restarts the mouse drivers and this alone could resolve the issue. You might even try using a different USB port. If you're using a wireless mouse, make sure you've connected it properly to your PC.

  2. Replace the batteries. If you're using a wireless mouse, low battery power is the most common cause of strange mouse behavior. Whether the mouse wheel isn't scrolling or the mouse is otherwise acting erratically, swapping the batteries is a very quick and inexpensive way to rule out this cause.

    You might also consider switching to rechargeable batteries so that you can always have fully charged batteries on hand that you swap out on a schedule. This way you don't have to wait until your mouse starts acting up before changing them.

  3. Clean the mouse. Most modern mice don't have rollers to clean anymore, but now the scroll wheel is the one mechanical part. This also means it's the part prone to attracting dirt, dust, and food particles. These slip in through the cracks on the side of the wheel and can lead to the mouse scroll wheel not working. If your mouse is wireless, there are some special wireless mouse cleaning considerations to keep in mind.

  4. Check the touchpad. Another common issue is mouse interference from something touching the touchpad on your laptop. This could be something as simple as water leaking from a cup nearby. You might even consider temporarily disabling your touchpad just to see if this fixes the problem.

  5. Check mouse wheel settings. Each OS has unique settings to control the mouse wheel. If these change you could experience the mouse wheel not scrolling. Look through your mouse settings on your Windows 10 or Mac to ensure wheel scrolling is actually enabled and configured properly. If you're using a Mac, also check that the scrolling direction is set up the way you want it to be.

  6. Update mouse drivers. The most effective way to update your mouse driver is to download and install the latest mouse driver from the manufacturer's website. On a Windows 10 PC, check the Device Manager to ensure there isn't an exclamation mark next to the mouse driver after you've updated. If there is, you'll want to roll back the mouse driver and try something else.

    Before moving on to the final step, try using a different mouse to make sure that the issue is actually with your system and not a mouse hardware failure. You wouldn't want to take more drastic measures with your computer if all you need is to buy a new mouse.

  7. Fix corrupt system files. At this point, it is possible your system files may be corrupt. Before you try anything drastic, make sure you've installed the latest system updates for Windows 10 or your Mac OS updates from the Apple App Store. Next, try to perform an automatic repair for Windows 10. If all else fails, you may need to do a full Windows 10 system restore or a clean install of Windows if you don't have a recovery backup. If you're using a Mac, you may need to do a full Mac OS re-install.