Knowledge Base

Why is My Mouse Pointer Moving Erratically?

Clean the Mouse Ball and Rollers

Through normal use, a mouse will accumulate dust, lint, and oils on vital operational parts. For a mouse that uses a ball, the internal rollers will become dirty. For an optical mouse, the optical lens and possibly the LED lens will become dirty. This will cause performance to slowly degrade. If the mouse pointer begins to move erratically or the mouse itself no longer moves smoothly, the mouse probably only needs to be cleaned.

  1. The rollers may have hair or lint wrapped around the axle points, carefully remove any lint with tweezers.

  2. Look in the center of the roller to see if there is any built-up residue.
    This can be easily dislodged with a pair of tweezers. A cotton swab with a drop of rubbing alcohol can be used to get the roller completely grime-free.

  3. Once you are sure the rollers are completely clean and that there is no more lint, hair, or grime in the roller ball cavity, put the mouse ball back in and put the ring back on.

  4. Turn the ring clockwise until it clicks into place.

Clean the Optical Mouse

  1. Turn the mouse over and check the lenses for dust and debris.

  2. With a dry cotton swab, clean the lenses.

  3. Clean the mouse pads or feet if needed so that the mouse slides as smoothly as possible.

  4. Test mouse and cursor movement.

Clean the Roller Ball and Roller Cavity on the Mechanical Mouse.
  1. On the bottom of the mouse is a ring that circles the ball. Twist the ring counter-clockwise (to the left) and remove it.
  2. With your hand under the ring and ball, flip the mouse back over.
    The ring and ball will fall out into your hand.
  3. Look inside the roller ball cavity and blow out hair or lint collected on the rollers.
    There are generally one small white roller and two long black rollers that are perpendicular to each other. The rollers may have hair or lint wrapped around the axle points.

  4. Carefully remove additional lint, hair, or other build up on the rollers with tweezers.
  5. Using cotton swabs and alcohol, gently clean the rollers and any other affected surfaces in the roller ball cavity until the cotton swab comes away clean.
  6. Clean the ball by blowing any lint off it and gently wiping it with a lint-free cloth.
  7. Wipe the ball down with a clean lint-free cloth dabbed in alcohol.
  8. Wait about five minutes for the ball and the roller cavity to dry.
  9. Put the mouse ball back in and put the ring back on.
  10. Turn the ring clockwise until it clicks into place.
  11. Clean the mouse pads or feet if needed so the mouse slides as smoothly as possible.

Mouse Pad Maintenance

Keeping your mouse pad as clean and dust-free as possible will slow down the build-up process. Plastic mouse pads are better than the cloth ones as the cloth mouse pads trap oil and coat the ball with oil and lint. In addition, optical mice may not operate properly on some surfaces. For more information on optical mice surfaces, refer to the Dell KB Article: What surfaces should I use with my optical mouse.

Reinstall the Mouse Drivers

To remove the mouse driver:
  1. Click the Start button and click Control Panel.

    For Windows 9x, Windows ME, or Windows 2000, you may have to click Start, highlight Settings, then click Control Panel.
  2. The Control Panel window appears.

  3. Double-click the System icon.

  4. If present, click the Hardware tab.

  5. Click Device Manager.

  6. Click the plus (+) sign next to the Mice and other pointing devices category.

  7. Right-click the name of the driver you want to uninstall and then left-click Uninstall or Remove.
To download and reinstall the mouse driver:
  1. Browse to Dell Support. If your system shipped prior to Sept. 2, 2004 or otherwise shipped with the legacy Dell Resource CD media, browse to the Software Reinstall Guide instead.

  2. Click Drivers and Downloads under the Option 1: Most Popular Selections section to display the Drivers and Downloads page.

  3. Input the Service Tag or Product Type and Product Model.

  4. Click Go to open the Drivers and Downloads Search Criteria page.

  5. Click the appropriate Edit button and select the operating system and language you want using the drop-down menu if the default values are not correct.

  6. Scroll down the list of available drivers until <component> is visible.

  7. Click the <component> that you want to select. You may have to specify an installation method or a specific operating system type.

  8. Click Download Now in the File Name section to display the File Download - Security Warning window.

  9. Click Save.

  10. Using the Save In: drop-down menu, select My Documents, then click Save.

  11. Click Open when the download completes.

  12. Click Continue to open the Select the folder where you want to unzip the files to window.

  13. Click OK to open the Folder does not exist. Do you want to create it? window.

  14. Click Yes to open the All files were successfully unzipped window.

  15. When the message appears asking to overwrite the folder, click the Yes to All button.

  16. Click OK and follow the onscreen instructions.

Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN51001

Last Date Modified: 04/05/2016 03:23 PM

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