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

The mouse is not working: it is not recognized by the system or the mouse drivers

Explanation: The mouse is not working at all. The system is not recognizing its existence and its drivers are not loading.

Diagnosis: This is of course sometimes caused by physical problems: the mouse cannot be seen because it is not connected. Using the wrong driver can cause problems on occasion. For serial mice, the problem is often trouble with the serial port itself.

Recommendation:

  • Make sure that the mouse is connected physically to the correct port and that it is not loose.
  • Check the mouse wire to make sure it has not been excessively twisted, bent or damaged in any way.
  • If you have another mouse that you can try in place of this one, try swapping them and see if the problem goes away. Similarly, you might want to try your mouse on another PC and see if it works. (Remember that drivers are often specific to certain types of mice; you want to swap with another mouse of the same type, using the same interface, either serial or PS/2).
  • If this is a new PC, check this section for troubleshooting possible general problems. In particular, there may be a loose or incorrectly connected internal cable to the COM port that you are using for the mouse.
  • If you are using a PS/2 style mouse, make sure it is not connected to the (identically-sized) PS/2 keyboard connector. This of course will also make the keyboard not work properly.
  • If you are using a serial mouse, you may have a problem with the serial port itself. Resource conflicts and other problems with the serial port are fairly common. Look here.
  • If you just upgraded your motherboard and now your mouse is not visible, a likely cause is that you left the old cables that attached from the serial port connectors to the motherboard headers in place. These cables are not universal, and you might now have the wrong kind installed for your new motherboard.
  • If you are using a PS/2-style mouse, remember that the mouse uses IRQ12. In some situations, this may cause a resource conflict with another device. Check here for more on resource conflicts.
  • If you are trying to use a PS/2-style mouse on a serial port, or a serial mouse on a PS/2 port, you must use a so-called "combo" mouse. These are specially designed to be able to handle the different electrical signals that are used by the two different mice. Some mice will fit the adapters physically but will not function correctly because they cannot handle the different signaling levels required; this is described in much more detail here.

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