How to Tell if Your Computer Mouse is Dying

How to Tell if Your Computer Mouse is Dying

Your mouse is an essential part of your PC system. While a keyboard is responsible for entering commands in the PC, a mouse is your key source to navigate through your system. Safe to say, life would get very troublesome if your mouse is starting to die. 

There are a lot of mouse dying symptoms. These can range from some clicks being missed and may escalate to the intermittent connection before finally stopping working. If these symptoms are observed then are a few culprits that you can look out for and may be able to rectify.

In the following segments, we will look into the kind of issues that your mouse may be facing and are rectifiable by you. As to the question of how to tell if your mouse is going bad, there is a list of symptoms that you can compare to your situation. Finally, we look at some situations when to replace your computer mouse.   

Mouse Issues That Can Be Solved

Electronics today are quite complicated. A smack to the side of television doesn’t work on a standard LCD/LED screen television anymore. The same complexity is also applicable to the computer mice that we use today. However, there are a few situations regarding a malfunctioning mouse that you can handle on your own. 

1. Cursor Freezing on the Screen

You may have noticed your mouse cursor freezing on the screen at some point. Another thing that will follow is that your system stops responding or an “xyz has stopped responding” error will show up, ‘xyz’ being the application you have been trying to open. 

This problem is not uncommon and has nothing to do with a faulty mouse. In such situations, the problem is in the system and not the mouse. A PC that has been running all day may stop responding due to overheating. In such situations close all programs running and restart your PC. Some might even prefer keeping the PC off for a while and let it cool down. If the problem prevails and there is nothing visibly wrong with your mouse, you might need to reinstall your mouse driver.   

2. Cursor Movement isn’t Smooth

If while using your mouse you notice that your cursor is not mimicking the movement of your mouse or there is a delay in movement, then you have trouble. Unsmooth cursor response can be very frustrating, especially while conducting tasks like playing a video game or trying to draw. 

One reason for this problem is the mouse is not tracking the movement properly. In the early days with a roller mouse, you would have to remove the tracking ball and clean the internal system. Today with laser tracking mice, you only need a microfiber cloth or brush to clean the area.

Another problem could be the surface you are dragging your mouse across. A light-based mouse doesn’t work on glossy or too smooth surfaces. You require a surface with some friction on it. It is also preferable to just buy a decent mouse pad. 

Also read: What Is Mouse Smoothing? Is It Good For Gaming?

Mouse Dying Symptoms: How to Tell if Your Mouse is Dying

Every electronic device, irrespective of how good it is supposed to be, will eventually cough up and pass away. The same goes for your mouse. Like every failing device, there is a list of symptoms to look out for which will give you an idea that your mouse is failing.  

1. Random Cursor Movement

One of the early signs of how to tell if your mouse is dying is that your cursor starts to move randomly. You will notice that your cursor gets pushed to one of the corners. To eliminate false positives make sure that your mouse pad is clean because this may also cause this problem. 

If the problem prevails after cleaning the surface, then there might be an issue with your tracking laser. This is an annoying problem especially if you use your mouse for detailed work like 3D design or gaming. 

2. Stops Working Suddenly

A common sign of your mouse dying is that it stops working for brief periods. This will be visible as your cursor starts to stop moving and the laser light on your mouse goes out. This is a serious problem as the mouse can stop working during important work. Gamers will suffer dearly if this problem starts to show up in their mouse. 

Also read: Mouse Lift Off Distance | Best Lift Off Distance for Gaming

3. Issue with the Buttons

A standard mouse comes with three buttons; left, right and centre, the latter being a roller which is used for scrolling. A gaming mouse, on the other hand, may have anywhere from three to six programmable buttons. Any one of these buttons can go bad showing signs that your mouse is dying. 

Buttons don’t usually go bad all at once and will sputter to a stop. This makes you feel that the failure was a one-off thing and may happen again at an important point while using the mouse. 

Issue with Mouse Buttons

4. Torn Cord (Wired)

A wired mouse is prone to getting its cord damaged. This damage could be due to faulty material, bending in an abnormal way or rat bites. Most of the time the cord is damaged where it connects to the USB jack or the mouse. You could tape up and carry on with a damaged cord, but sooner or later your mouse will fail.  

5. Issue with the Bluetooth device (Wireless)

Wireless mouse is a fan favourite these days with everyone preferring to be freed from the constraint of wires. Though they come with their limitations. Even if you are in range for your wireless mouse to work there is a chance to lose network, very common with a mouse on low battery. This problem may also occur if the dedicated bluetooth receiver of your mouse begins to malfunction. 

Do I Need a New Mouse?

If by this point you are still wondering “do I need a new mouse”, there is a chance that you do. Now comes the question of choosing the right type of mouse for you. There are many options available out there, but the following is the most basic breakdown of mice available in the market.

1. Wireless or Wired

Wireless or Wired Mouse

A wired mouse is the standard model. They have a cord with a USB plug-in at the end which is compatible with every system out there. This kind of mouse is preferred by gamers and designers as there is minimum to no lag between mouse and cursor. They only restrict your range. 

Wireless mouse uses Bluetooth technology to maintain contact with the system. Some may come with a dedicated device that acts as a tether between mouse and PC. While they give a large area of movement, the signal becomes less reliable the further you go  

2. Optical or Laser

The optical mouse uses LED and an optical sensor to track the movement of your mouse. They are lighter than a mechanical mouse and more accurate as no moving pieces are required. 

As the name suggests, a laser mouse uses lasers to track how you move your mouse and mimic that with the cursor. This mouse is considered to be 20 times more accurate than any other optical mouse in the market.  

3. Grip Styles

There are different ways in which you can hold your mouse. Following are some of the common grips. 

> Palm Grip

This is the most common form of grip. In a palm grip, your entire palm rests on the mouse. It is a comfortable style, best fitted for a large mouse. You can check some of the best palm grip mouses in our separate article.

> Fingertip Grip

This type of grip is famous amongst gamers who play shooter games. You use your fingertips to move the mouse around. It is a tiresome grip but gives a competitive advantage. It is best suited for a flat and light mouse. Check our article on the best fingertip grip gaming mouse to get one of your self.

> Claw Grip

Claw grip is a combination of palm and fingertip grip. Most of your palm rests on the mouse while you arch your fingers to make a claw and use these to click the buttons. You can choose the best claw grip mouse from our in-depth review.

Mouse Grip Styles

Also read: Palm vs Claw vs Fingertip Grip: Which is the Best Mouse Grip Style?


A mouse seems like a fragile device but can take a surprising amount of abuse. However, a computer mouse lifespan can be anywhere from a year to 5 years. Whatever may be the reason, if your mouse is showing any of the above-mentioned symptoms then it’s time to go shopping for a new one. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *