PC Doctor March 2, 2011

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Dear PC Doctor,

My computer mouse doesn't seem to be working that well anymore. The cursor jumps all over the screen even when I'm barely moving my mouse on the mousepad. Is my mouse broken? Should I just buy a new one? My mouse has a little red light on the underside of it.



Dear Frederick,

As one of the most important piece of hardware that's always used with a computer, a working mouse is a must! Before purchasing a replacement mouse, I would suggest that you try cleaning the optical sensor on the bottom of your mouse. It's really easy and non-obtrusive, so put away that screwdriver.

First, be sure to unplug the mouse from your computer. It's always a good idea to unplug removable hardware from your computer before working on it. In the center of the underside of your mouse, you should see a small piece of clear plastic, where a red light usually emits (look before you unplug it as if your mouse isn't plugged in, it won’t light up.)  Grab a q-tip or a small tissue and wet it with window cleaner or some rubbing alcohol. Gently, clean the clear plastic to remove any dirt, dust or hair that might be messing up the mouse's light sensor. Before you plug your mouse in after cleaning it, take a close look to make sure there isn't any debris still remaining. Plug it in, and you should be ready to go!  If that doesn’t help then you will probably have to get a new one.  They aren’t very expensive.

            PC Doctor

The Doc’s tip - While I was cleaning my mouse, I realized that my keyboard could also use some TLC. Anything and everything falls between the keys on your keyboard to make a disgusting hodge podge. This can make your keys sticks— it can be really annoying to fill your page with rows of x's because of a stuck key. Canned air can be purchased to blow out debris from underneath your keys, but for a truly deep cleaning, you'll want to take your keyboard apart. First, unplug your keyboard since you'll be hitting every single key on your keyboard and you won't want to do anything unpleasant to your computer.

Each key is held onto the keyboard by a single peg, it's very easy to take a flat-head screwdriver and pry the edge-letters off first. As you go along, make sure you're aware where each and every key needs to go back, otherwise a headache will be in store for you! If you have another keyboard, use that as a reference. After you've removed every letter, pull out a vacuum if it's really bad. Otherwise, a soft, damp cloth works well in wiping up dirt and dust. After the cleaning stage is over, carefully replace each key— it'll just snap back into place.

Remember, keyboards aren't meant to be cupholders! Keep your food and drinks at a safe distance— you'll thank me later!


Until next time... happy computing!