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[ The PC Guide | Troubleshooting and Repair Guide | The Troubleshooting Expert | Troubleshooting Specific Components | Troubleshooting Mice ]

The mouse is recognized by the system and there are no error messages, but I cannot move the mouse pointer in one or both directions (horizontal or vertical axes)

Explanation: The mouse is recognized by the system and the cursor (or pointer) comes up on the screen, but there are problems trying to move the pointer. Either the pointer does not move at all, or it only moves up-and-down or left-and-right.

Diagnosis: One cause of this problem, especially if the pointer only moves in one axis, is physical obstruction of the rollers within the mouse that are moved by the mouse ball to cause the mouse to work. Driver problems can also cause this behavior, as can electrical failure of the mouse itself (which is unusual).


  • Check the mouse ball to make sure it is rolling, especially if the mouse is new. I have seen mice that come pre-packaged with a piece of foam tucked around the mouse ball to prevent it from moving around during shipment. You can't tell that it is in there when you try to move the mouse; the mouse glides around but the ball doesn't budge. Boy did I feel stupid when I saw that after boggling for ten minutes as to why this brand new mouse wouldn't work. :^)
  • Open the mouse up and remove the mouse ball. Inspect the metal rollers (there should be two of them, perpendicular to one another). Make sure that they are moving freely. Try moving them by hand and see if the motion registers by moving the pointer. This may fix the problem. If the inside of the mouse is dirty, clean it.
  • Try rebooting the system and see if the problem clears up. Occasionally glitches may cause the mouse not to work properly. If this happens a lot, I'd suspect a software installation or driver problem. You may want to update your mouse driver.

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