Wireless Mouse Issues on Windows Laptops

May 13, 2011, By Christian Cawley

There are loads of great ways to interface with your PC, from the standard mouse and keyboard combo to trackballs (my personal preference) and tablets. Some users even enjoy the experience of a laptop-style trackpad on their desktop computer, but for most the mouse and keyboard combo is king.

Of course there have been various revisions to this over the years, from the switch from a ball to optical mouse, and more recently the conversion from wired to wireless.

Fixing wireless mouse issues on a Windows laptop

In theory, using a wireless mouse and keyboard should be easier than their wired counterparts. After all, with fewer cables floating around there is less drag on the mouse, allowing for better precision, and no cables means less to carry if you’re using a wireless mouse with a laptop.

However, it isn’t always as simple as that. As with pretty much every other type of hardware around, users can run into problems with wireless mice, particularly on laptops. Before any troubleshooting, however, make sure that you have a fresh battery in your mouse, or that it is fully charged.

Checking Your Power Supply

If you are experiencing particularly frustrating issues trying to get a wireless mouse to work on your laptop, start off by finding a desktop computer to try it with. You will probably find that all is OK here – the most common cause of issues with any wireless mouse is a lack of power being routed to the device dongle (the receiver component) via the USB port that it is connected to.

Some laptop USB ports don’t offer the same amount of power to items that are connected, in which case you will either need to check the other USB ports for more power, disconnect any other USB devices, or use a USB splitter cable that will deliver power from two USB ports to your wireless mouse receiver.

If you’re still concerned about power management, right-click Computer and select Properties > Device Manager, and expand the Mice and other pointing devices entry. Here you should find the wireless dongle listed, along with various USB controllers further down. It is possible that the power management settings in Windows are causing problems with your mouse, so look for anything described as generic USB hub or similar. Open the item, select Power Management and deselect the Allow the computer to turn off the device to save power option, then click OK and reboot the laptop.

No doubt you will have been through all of the usual pairing exercises intended to get your wireless mouse and dongle connected, so the only other thing to consider is any wireless networking that you have nearby.

Wireless networks and even mobile phones can cause considerable interference with wireless mice, and the quickest way to check these possibilities is to switch off your phone and disable the wireless radio on your laptop. If you find that the mouse now works, you should investigate the possibility of changing channel on your wireless router (check the device documentation for more) and disabling data on your phone while you’re using your laptop.

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