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How to add a mouse to a laptop

As convenient as a laptop is, using the tiny touchpad or "eraser tip" mouse on most notebook computers can be cumbersome. If you use your laptop for hours at a time, using the built-in mouse substitute can be tiring and make using the computer harder than it needs to be. To enjoy the comfort and ease of use of a full-size mouse with your laptop, add a standard, external mouse to the computer.

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  1. Insert the mouse cable connector into an empty USB port slot on the laptop.

  2. Wait for Windows to recognise the USB mouse and install the correct drivers to enable it. Windows should automatically configure the mouse and notify you that the new hardware is ready for use on your laptop. Look for the notification in the lower right-hand corner of your screen (near the time and date on the taskbar).

  3. Test the mouse by clicking different icons and links on your computer. Test right- and left-click buttons as well as the scroll wheel if the mouse is equipped with one.

  4. Install the software on the installation CD that was included with the USB mouse if applicable. The software is not required to use your mouse in Windows; however, the utility program allows you to customise settings for the mouse and create special button assignments and shortcuts.

  5. Power-off the laptop before installing a PS/2 mouse. Windows cannot detect PS/2 mice on the fly the way it can with USB models. Plug in the mouse before booting your laptop. If your laptop does not have a PS/2 port, connect the mouse to a PS/2 to USB adaptor. Then, insert the adaptor into a free USB port.

  6. Turn on the laptop and log on to Windows.

  7. Wait for Windows to detect your new PS/2 mouse and configure it for use. The "Add New Hardware Wizard" should configure the mouse automatically; however, in some cases, the system may prompt you to insert the installation CD. If prompted for the installation disc, insert it into the CD/DVD drive, close the tray and press the "Enter" key.

  8. Test the mouse after Windows completes the installation of the mouse driver software.

  9. Install the utilities from the installation CD to create custom settings for the buttons on the mouse or enable other special features, if the mouse supports these options.

  10. Tip

    In many cases, the touchpad or mouse pointer on your laptop continues to function after adding an external mouse. If you choose, you can switch between the external mouse and the laptop's. You can install a cordless or wireless mouse the same way as you'd install a standard USB mouse in most cases. However, instead of plugging the mouse into the USB port, plug the wireless receiver unit into an empty USB slot. Then, install the batteries and sync the mouse to the wireless receiver.


    Avoid using a wireless or optical mouse with your laptop while the computer is running on battery power. The addition of an external mouse may drain the battery in your laptop faster than usual.

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Things You'll Need

  • PS/2 or USB mouse
  • Installation CD (optional)

About the Author

Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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