The Mouse Has Come a Long Way Since Its Invention 45 Years Ago

By: Sandra Prior

While the mouse is a very useful creature, it can bite back. If your arms ache after using a mouse for a while, don't ignore it. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and Tendinitis are just two nasty mouse related afflictions to which you can fall prey.

Quite simply, repetitive movements of the hand around the axis of the wrist while the forearm rests on a hard surface, are bad news. In short, don't hold the mouse too tightly, keep it close (don't stretch to use it), try not to rest your wrist on the edge of the desk and, if possible, switch hands as regularly as possible. And take frequent breaks. If all else fails, consider upgrading to a new, more ergonomically designed mouse.

Get Connected

If you're in the market for a new mouse, you'll no doubt be aware of the many versions out there. Although there are a number of mice suppliers, this article focuses on Microsoft and Microsoft compatible mice.

Microsoft alone ships more than a dozen types of mice, ranging from the classic two-button model to the plush IntelliMouse Pro with extra padding. Connection methods include serial ports, PS/2 (mini-DIN) ports, USB (Universal Serial Bus), and infrared.

While both personal choices and finances are likely to influence most mice buying decisions, a PS/2 IntelliMouse or compatible is a good choice if your computer has a PS/2 port. Why? Because it has a wheel and saves a COM port for other uses.

The Microsoft IntelliMouse was the first mouse to feature the wheel - a motion device that also serves as a third button and now is widely available on Microsoft-compatibles. Today, practically everything that was done on the old style three button mouse can be achieved with the new wheel mouse.

If you have a computer with USB ports, you might want to consider a USB IntelliMouse, but only if you running Windows 2000/2003/XP/VISTA.

Mouse Detection

The modern mouse really comes into its own in Windows 2000/2003/XP/VISTA. This is the best of the bunch as far as the level of built-in support is concerned. Regardless of which version of Windows you have, or the type of mouse you have, getting the most out of it depends largely on installing the correct drivers.

To start, make sure your mouse has been properly detected. In most cases, a Microsoft, Logitech, or Microsoft-compatible serial or PS/2 mouse will be correctly detected when Windows 2000/2003/XP/VISTA is installed or upgraded. However, the drivers for the specific mouse (if it's not Microsoft), may not have been installed. Open the system applet in Control Panel and look for the Mouse entry on the Device Manager panel. If your mouse isn't correctly listed, update the drivers.

Highlight the mouse entry, select Properties, and select the Driver page. Then click on the Update Driver button to trigger the Hardware Wizard. (You want to select, rather than detect, the driver from a list).

Once you get to the list of devices, choose Mouse and select your mouse by name. If you have a disk supplied by the mouse manufacturer use the 'Have Disk' button instead.

Mouse detection and driver updates will also come into play when you swap your old mouse for a new one. Although you can plug in a USB mouse at any time, you do need to power down if you're changing to a new PS/2 or serial mouse.

Open the Mouse applet in Control Panel. Here you can adjust the settings for the mouse depending on your unique requirements.

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