How to Update Your Computer Mouse - dummies

By Andy Rathbone

Computer mice all tackle the same computing chore (moving a pointer around the computer screen), but not all mice are created equal. You can update your mouse to one that has features you find useful and a look that you like.

1Decide whether you want a mouse with a USB or PS/2 connector.

Like keyboards, mice come with one of two connectors: USB (Universal Serial Bus) or PS/2. Since most desktop computers come with both of those ports, both types of mouse are compatible. PS/2 mice cost less and often come with an adapter that also lets the mice work in USB ports, if needed.

Or, if you’re short on USB ports, a PS/2 mouse lets you save those versatile USB ports for other gadgets. If you choose USB, however, you have a better selection of wireless mice. Plus, USB mice are hot swappable, meaning you can unplug them and plug them back in while your computer is running. PS/2 mice must remain plugged in at all times.

2Figure out what features are worth your money.

A $10 mouse works fine for the basics. If you spend a little more, you can get an optical or touchpad mouse, a mouse that has a scroll wheel or trackball, or even a wireless mouse (just remember that wireless mice are battery hogs).

3If you’re installing a PS/2 mouse, turn off your computer. Be sure to exit any of your currently running programs, and then unplug your old mouse if it’s still plugged in.

Examine where you currently plug in your mouse, and make sure your replacement uses the same type of plug, either USB or PS/2.

4Push the plug from the new mouse (or from the wireless mouse’s receiving unit) into the correct port on your computer.

USB plugs slide into USB ports pretty easily. If it’s not fitting, turn it over; the connector fits only one way. PS/2 connectors plug into the PS/2 port with a little mouse icon next to it. (The adjacent keyboard PS/2 port won’t work.) Make sure the notches and pins line up and push firmly until it’s all the way in.

5Add batteries to the wireless mouse, if necessary.

Some wireless mice include batteries in the box, but you need to actually put them in your mouse to get things started.

6Run the mouse’s installation program by inserting the CD that came with the mouse in your computer.

Windows usually provides a basic driver for your newly installed mouse, but the installation CD allows you to use the mouse’s fancier features.

7If the installation program doesn’t start automatically, browse the drive’s contents for a program named Setup and double-click that program icon to start things rolling.

Follow the prompts that appear to install your mouse’s software.