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How to Tame Your Mouse

Does your mouse work erratically, skip and jump across the screen, or freeze up? Most problems with the mouse are caused by dirt or miscalibration.

Clean Your Mouse

Most mouses (mice?) work by use of a rubber ball that moves three rollers. It is very common for the rubber ball to pick up dirt and feed it into the internal mechanism of the mouse. Tame your mouse by giving it a good cleaning.

To clean a mouse, turn it over and remove the cover that retains the rubber ball. The cover is usually circular with groves that let you turn the cover in a counter clockwise direction for removal. Remove the rubber ball from the housing, wipe it clean, and blow air into the mouse housing. Inspect the rollers to make sure they are free of dirt. Then reassemble the mouse.

Jerky mouse movement can also be caused by the mouse pad. Most plastic laminate covered mouse pads do not provide enough friction for the mouse to track reliably. Cloth covered mouse pads perform much better, although they don't last as long.

Calibrate Your Mouse

If your mouse still does not behave, check it's calibration. Select Start | Settings | Control Panel, and open the Mouse utility. In the Mouse Properties dialog box, select the Buttons tab and move the Double-click speed slider control to set the time between clicks that you want to be recognized as a double click.

Then select the Motion tab and adjust the Pointer Speed slider control to your preference. In the Acceleration section, set the None radio button, then click on the OK button.

Check The Mouse Driver

On startup, Windows loads a virtual PS2 mouse driver that is contained (along with other virtual device drivers) in the file C:\Windows\system\vmm32.vxd. If another mouse driver is located in the folder c:\windows\system\vmm32, Windows will load that one to replace the mouse driver in vmm32.vxd.

A second mouse driver, or other device driver may be interfering with the PS2 mouse driver. Use the Device Manager to troubleshoot errors. To access Device Manager select Start | Settings | Control Panel, then open the System utility. Select the Device Manager tab. In the list of devices, double-click on Mouse. If there is an exclamation mark (!) or a red "X" on the mouse icon, this means the mouse has a problem. A PS2 mouse uses IRQ 12. Make sure no other device is configured to use IRQ 12, causing a conflict.

A DOS mode mouse driver may be interfering with the Windows mouse driver. If the file autoexec.bat exists in the root directory of the C drive, open the file in Windows Notepad and look for entries like Device=mouse.sys. If the file config.sys exists in the root directory of the C drive, open the file in Windows Notepad and look for entries like c:\dos\mouse.com. To disable the statement type the letters REM (for remark) in front of the line.

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