A USB Mouse That Stops Working in a Dell Docking Station
By Nicole Vulcan
Whether you have your laptop attached to a Dell docking station or it's just by itself, having your mouse malfunction in the middle of important work can be a real hassle. While the problems could stem from a problem with the docking station, any number of issues could be causing it. Therefore it's a good idea to go through a few basic checks, before you decide to chuck the mouse.
Before you resort to more involved methods of fixing your problem, you always want to start with the basics. In this case, that means undocking your computer and then unplugging the docking station. To undock, click the undock button on the dock; when the green light turns off, you are undocked. After a few seconds, turn your docking station back on and redock your computer. This may reset the connection and restore your mouse to working order.
Another tip on the basics: Check the USB ports. If you have more than one USB port on your computer, try plugging the mouse into another one. In some cases, you may have a failing USB port that is causing your mouse to stop working. Along the same lines, it's a good idea to swap out the mouse, if you can, to determine whether another mouse experiences the same problems with your docking station. Your computer may also have a Dell Diagnostics feature that will allow you to check your USB ports; refer to the Dell Diagnostics page for instructions on how to use it with your computer. (see resources )
If you find that a USB port is faulty -- or you just need to move on to other troubleshooting -- check the mouse's drivers to ensure they're still able to communicate properly with your computer. In some cases, the drivers need software updates, to continue allowing the computer to "talk" to external devices such as your keyboard and mouse. To do this in Windows, open the Start menu, and then select "Run." Then type "Devmgmt.msc," and select "OK." Then open the "Universal Serial Bus" controllers from the Device Manager. You will see a warning indicating if any drivers are not working. If your drivers are not working, note the brand and then consult the website of the driver's manufacturer for updates.
You may also need to update the drivers for your docking station itself; you can find documentation and updates for your particular model at the Dell Support site (see Resources).
Another item not to be overlooked is the proper care and cleaning of your USB mouse. At times, dust and gunk gets stuck in the parts and can cause the mouse to malfunction. The proper way to clean the mouse depends on whether you have an optical, rollerball or other type of mouse; but the general idea is to unplug the mouse and then wipe its parts gently with a damp rag. If you have an optical mouse, be sure to wipe gently and thoroughly around the laser -- where you see the light shining -- as that can get clogged and cause malfunctions. If you have a rollerball mouse, gently pop the ball out from the housing that surrounds it and give it a good wiping with the damp rag.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.