symptoms of mouse failure



mouse failure can sometimes prevent your pc from booting, or just be annoying. over the years of using them, here's what I've found that they do when they go bad. If you have a different story to tell about a case when your mouse failed, tell me. I may add it to this page.


  • mouse prevents pc from powering up (chip or circuitry has dead short)
  • when moving mouse, cursor jumps all over the place and possibly even clicks (data stream is mangled, onboard chip is probably toast or static-damaged)
  • when holding down the mouse button for 1/2 second, it double-clicks. (age or static damage)
  • when you click, sometimes it double-clicks. (age or static damage)

ball mice

aside from the symptoms above, Ball mice have one problem - the ball gets crusty with crud. it sticks to the ball and makes little bumps. sometimes, these little bumps stop the wheel axles inside that roll against the ball from turning. so you may see the following symptoms if the ball needs cleaning:

  • jumpy mouse cursor
  • mouse cursor gets stuck. workaround is to lightly slam the mouse down while moving it.

you remove the ball by pushing and twisting the ring on the bottom, usually in a counter-clockwise direction (to the left).

then you wash the ball free of gunk, if you have to, with detergent, and rinse with water, or use a cleaning wipe, and dry it with a lint-free cloth.

architecture of a ball mouse, how it works

inside are 3 little wheels: 2 long black axles, and 1 plastic or metal roller. the 2 black axles are attached to optical wheels which have holes in them which make/break a beam of light between an optical sensor on one side of the holes and an LED light on the other side of the holes.

If this cruft (hair, junk, dirt, etc) gets lodged in that optical path, it will cause problems with mouse movement.

scrape the wheels with your fingernail, rotating the wheels with your finger while you do this. then blow the junk out of the mouse with as hard a blow as you can, several blows, blowing the cruft out of the wheel wells.

My GE ball mouse comes with a 2-year warranty. I just had to replace my optical mouse with it.