Troubleshooting: Errant Mouse

Alternate title: How many IT guys does it take to fix a mouse?

Things have been quiet here because I’ve been hustling at work. Normally the morning hours before I clock in are prime for busting out some nerdy blog materials, but this month we’ve been rolling out Windows 10 ahead of the free upgrade cutoff at the end of July. So I’ve been starting work an hour earlier and can’t bring myself to come into the office at 7:00 to write. Alas and alack, but tis only temporary, my friends.

An interesting thing happened yesterday morning – a user’s mouse decided to stop working. Now this happens on occasion, and normally unplugging the usb connector and replugging it into another port will do prompt the machine to come to its senses. This time, though, it just wasn’t doing it.


I tried another Microsoft mouse (our standard) and same thing. I’d get the little sound effect indicating the device was detected, and the underside LED would light up for a few seconds. But then it would go dark and the computer would continue to ignore the mouse’s presence.

Standard restart didn’t help. Device manager showed that the mouse driver was showing an error and also was being placed under “Other Devices” for some reason.

As I was juggling some upgrades with a limited timeframe, I escalated it to my boss and jumped back and forth between moving along the Windows 10 stuff and looking over his shoulder.

The mouse and keyboard software that he downloaded from Microsoft didn’t do the trick. Remoting into the affected system did allow for us to use mouse functionality, though, so didn’t have to navigate everything with the keyboard.

Eventually we ran to the server room and rummaged up an old Logitech trackball mouse we had leftover from a former left-handed user. It worked.

We tried a handful of other tactics to troubleshoot the regular mouse. Uninstalling the driver and letting it reinstall didn’t work. Nor did prompting the system to update the driver.

Eventually my colleague got in and took a look. He tried manually changing the driver from one of the Microsoft ones to the generic “HID – compliant mouse”¬†driver. Presto.


We then rotated the mouse to each USB port to associate them all with this driver. Not too glamorous, but seems to have gotten the job done for now.

Curious that the Microsoft mouse driver should be erroring out randomly. Perhaps a Windows update-related failure? If future issues arise or if we return to this sometime, perhaps I’ll try copying some healthy drivers from another machine to see if this was a case of corrupted files or some such.





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