My Mouse Won't Work! How Do I Fix It?

Try these tips to fix a broken mouse

Broken mice
John Caezar Panelo / Contributor/Getty Images

We've all been there. You sit down at the computer, ready to undertake some task and your mouse isn't working.

Maybe the mouse cursor isn't as fluid as it used to be and it jumps all over the screen. Or, maybe the light at the bottom is out and it doesn't work at all.

How to Fix a Broken Mouse

There are several things you could try, but each depend on the specific problem you're having and the kind of mouse you have. Skip over any step that doesn't pertain to your situation.

Replace the Batteries

Yes, it seems simple, but you would be surprised at the number of people who don't think to try this first. Swap them out for a new set, especially if you're still using the batteries that came with the device. Likewise, make sure the batteries are properly installed. Sometimes, closing that door before the battery bounces out can be tricky.

Clean Your Mouse

If the pointer is moving in jerking motions or is less responsive than usual, clean your mouse to see if it improves the performance. Regular mouse maintenance is something you should do anyway. Read this article for how to clean a wireless mouse, and this one for how to clean a wired mouse with a roller ball.

Try a different USB port. There might be a problem with the one you're using, so unplug your mouse or the receiver and try an alternate USB port. Most desktop computers have ports on the front and back of the computer, so try all of them before jumping to a different step.

Connect to the Mouse Directly to the USB Port

If you're using a multi-card reader. There may be an issue with that device instead of the mouse or USB port.

Use the Mouse on an Appropriate Surface

Some mice can be used on (almost) any time of surface. Many can't -- know your device's limitations, and make sure you're working on the right surface. This may mean that you require a mouse pad, especially if you're using an older mouse.

Check the manufacturer's website for a driver, or use an automated tool like one of these driver updater tools. If your mouse won't do something the manufacturer promised it would do (side-to-side scrolling comes to mind), check their website to see if a driver is required. These are usually always free.

If You’re Using a Bluetooth Mouse, Make Sure It’s Been Paired Correctly

Read this article to learn how to pair a Bluetooth mouse.

If your mouse won't click anymore because it's been worn down, check out's cool fix using ordinary household items.

If the mouse's buttons have been swapped, as in the left clicker performs a right-click function and the right clicker does a left click when pressed, there's either a driver issue or a software problem. If you've already installed the correct driver, check the Mouse applet in Control Panel to see if the mouse buttons have been swapped.

None of These Tips Worked?

If your mouse doesn't work even after trying all of the relevant tips above, contact the manufacturer. You could have a defective cord, receiver, or device. Whether it's defective or simply old and requiring a replacement will vary depending on the company's definitions of defective...and old.

If you plan to replace your broken mouse, first read our guide on everything you need to know before buying a mouse. Once you know what you want, see our picks for the best wireless mice, best gaming mice, and best travel mice.