How To Tell If Your Computer Mouse Is Dying?

Broken mouse with a how to tell if your mouse is dying caption on it

Everyone knows this feeling. You scroll through the news and you read an important article. You go through the comments to see others’ opinions and you click through replies, only to realize that you accidentally like or dislike a comment. Your mouse freezes and you wonder whether it is the computer or not. You press a few keys on your keyboard and you go down a page, meaning your computer is doing fine – it is the mouse.

Learning how to tell if your computer mouse is dying is not hard. While a freezing mouse is not always the main sign, it is a potential symptom – you better get ready for anything. The more frequent this issue becomes, the more you worry about. You do not want to end up rebooting your computer three times an hour, do you? All in all, here are the main signs that your mouse is about to leave you, as well as a few ideas about what you can do.

More problems that we solved:

Computer mouse problems that you should not worry about

Generally speaking, any sign of a malfunction could be a sign that your mouse is about to die. The mouse is jumpy or freezes, but it also moves frenetically across the screen while you try to work. What should you do then?

The cursor movement is not smooth at all

a hand holding a computer mouse

Whether you play a game or you try to get to the bottom of a long article, the movement is not smooth at all. You need to work and it takes forever to click a button or close a window. The situation is even worse if you work in an industry that involves lots of cursor movement – such as drawing with your mouse in design.

If the mouse movement is smooth, then slow and then smooth again, chances are its sensor is covered in dirt. The sensor has on and off moments because the dirt moves around – this is why your mouse works fine, then it slows down before recovering. You smack it against the desk, but this is not going to help anyway.

At this point, the best you can do is give it another chance – clean it. A computer mouse not working properly is not necessarily broken or ruined. It does not have to go to the bin. Instead, give it a cleanup. Use a microfiber cloth, as well as a bit of soapy water – make sure it is well dry before you put it back on. If you can open it and get rid of all the dust instead, it is even better – you would be surprised by the amount of dirt inside a mouse.

Now, pay attention to where you use the mouse too. Many mice fail to work properly with uneven surfaces or super glossy areas. If your desk is based on varnished wood, the mouse might act funny and drag – uneven movements. The mouse is jumpy too when the surface is based on glass. All in all, get a mouse pad and you will be surprised – problem solved.

Related article: My Mouse Is Stuttering In Games [SOLVED]

The cursor freezes

A mouse pointer over a blurry icey background

This is one of the most common computer mouse problems out there. Initially, you think it is the computer, but you press a few keys and everything seems to work. It is obviously the mouse, but you are not sure how to tell if your computer mouse is dying.

Just because your mouse freezes every now and then, it does not mean that you have to bin it. You do not necessarily need a new one. If you overwork your computer, the mouse is often taken out of the way. If you have 20 applications used and a few others running in the background, make sure you close anything that you do not use – see if the problem persists then.

Obviously, you would have to reboot the computer first – normally, it should restore the mouse. It will help things settle a bit, but the problem is the issue will occur when you need the mouse most. There are a few other things you could do, but generally speaking, rebooting the unit and keeping an eye on your background programs will sort it out.

So, now you know the issues that do not necessarily require replacement – yet, they might as well be signs that your mouse is dying. Now, here is how to tell if your computer mouse is dying.

Mouse stops working out of nowhere

A mouse and a stop sign

This one is pretty obvious. Your mouse stops working. Completely. Out of nowhere. You are in the middle of the best game of your life and it dies. You know it is not the computer because the game is still on – your enemies are still hunting you. You know it is the mouse and the best you can do is watch yourself get killed in the game.

The issue may just as well arise in the middle of an important project. While stopping completely is pretty common, it is not unusual for the mouse to switch on and off either. You move to the left to open a new program and it goes off. You move it to the right, tap it against the table and it works again. This issue is more common when the cable moves to one direction or another.

Practically, the issue is mostly related to the cable. The cable is not perfect. Sure, there are more types of cables and different manufacturers rely on different options in terms of durability. But overusing the mouse will wear out connections overtime – not the actual wire, but the connections. This is one of the most obvious signs that you need a new mouse.

One of the buttons dies

A hand clicking on mouse button

This one is pretty obvious and it might happen, yet it is not the most common issue out there – one of your buttons goes bad. Mice usually come with a few buttons – left and right clicks, as well as a scrolling wheel. Even if you get one of those upright mice with more buttons – up to seven usually, one of the buttons may still die. In fact, there is an even higher chance simply because there are more buttons.

The most annoying part is that the button is less likely to die completely. Instead, it will stop working when you have a deadline to meet and it will work flawlessly when you barely need it. Open up the mouse and clean it – use an air tool to blow air under the buttons too. It might be just dirt. However, if cleaning the mouse does not fix the button, chances are you need a new one.

Mouse moves randomly when in use

You might be familiar with this one – the mouse is locked in a corner or by one of the sides of your screen. Sometimes, it goes there by itself – you type and you see the cursor moving slowly. You take a look at the mouse and it is not moving, so it must be an internal issue. Other times, the issue appears when you actually use it, causing a lot of frustration.

The problem is commonly caused by dust and dirt. If you have not cleaned your mouse pad in a long time, give it a try. Clean it thoroughly, make sure it is dry and see if the problem persists. The issue may also occur if you have an old mouse pad that lost its surface qualities and bent around the corners – no longer straight.

You can also clean the mouse – dirt is one of the most common issues in malfunctioning mice. If you can, get a small screwdriver and carefully open it up. Get rid of all the dirt and put it back together. If cleaning everything does not solve the problem, chances are the laser is faulty. There is no point in repairing it or paying for a new laser – it is more cost efficient to buy a new one instead.

The issue might be alright if you do not use the mouse too much. But if you do detailed work, such as working with documents or 3D design, the issue can seriously frustrate you. At the same time, a gaming mouse can be just as problematic if it starts moving by itself in the middle of action.

At this point, you know how to tell if your computer mouse is dying. Now, what do you do? When should I replace my mouse?

What to do when the computer mouse is dying?

question marks as an alternative to the question what to do when your mouse is dying

Make sure the mouse is actually dying, rather than facing some cleanliness issues. If you are not sure, take it to a friend and try it on another computer – after you cleaned it, of course. All in all, if it looks like a dead end, there is no point in reviving it because you cannot do it – instead, you will waste both time and money.

Computer mice are used quite often on a daily basis. Therefore, they are normally rated to work for a couple of years before showing signs of weakness. At this point, buying a new mouse is the best way to go. The good news is they are cost efficient and will not really cost you a fortune – sure, some upright models can be pricey, but they still provide value for money.

It helps buying a mouse from a reputable brand – at least you can count on greater quality and a longer lifespan. No name mice are more likely to die faster – sometimes, within months. Of course, they can be cheaper than a takeaway burger, but they are not worth it. Other than that, knowing how to take a mouse apart and cleaning it helps too – you mostly need a small screwdriver, lots of attention to small and fragile parts and a few tiny cleaning tools.

If your computer mouse is dying, you know it will happen when you least expect it – during an important project or a game. In other words, it is not worth living with the frustration. Simply give it up and get a new device straight away.

Helpful tips and tricks to diagnose the mouse

Useful tips and tricks that will help you to diagnose if your mouse is really dying

You may not be able to buy a mouse right away. You may know how to tell if your computer mouse is dying, but here are a few tips and tricks to help you out before buying a new one.

If you use a wireless mouse and it seems to die, try switching the battery positions. You might as well try some new batteries. If you switch their positions, you might be able to extend the lifespan a little. Get some new ones and the mouse might work like new for a bit.

Are you unsure about the mouse? Could it be your computer? If you are not sure, simply get the same mouse on another computer. In 90% of all cases, it is the mouse – however, it is still worth a try to convince yourself.

Are you using a Chromebook? Use the USB port or the Bluetooth to attach a mouse. Working without one can be annoying and frustrating. A Chromebook mouse is not always a standard, but it gives you some reliability.


As a short final conclusion, you do not necessarily need to be an expert to learn how to tell if your computer mouse is dying. There are more signs out there. Many of them could be temporary and might be fixed with nothing but a basic cleaning procedure – others will tell you that you need a new mouse.

Since it is too much hassle to fix a mouse, most technicians do not bother with it. It would also be more expensive than buying a new one, so a dying mouse should go straight to bin in order to make room for a new one. The good news is mice are relatively cheap and can provide a good value for money.

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