Maybe Steve Jobs was on to something
November 24, 2005 5:40 AM   Subscribe

I need a way to turn off the right mouse button in Windows.

My son just turned three, and I have set up a computer in his room so that he can play educational games. He is able to use the mouse to move around, but he often clicks on the right mouse button, which just brings up a context sensitive menu.

I've thought about just getting him a one button Mac mouse, but since we have multiple computers in the house, I'd prefer he learn to only click on the left button. I have also thought about opening the mouse and disabling the right button, but I am hoping there is a simple software solution out there that will solve this problem.

Bonus points for software that does not turn the right mouse button into another left mouse button. More bonus points for a free and easy solution to this.

Sadly, all of these Windows games for kids seem to be poorly coded, and I have little chance of running them under Linux. What kind of crappy coder sets your screen size to 640x480 AFTER you exit the game???
posted by bh to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
You should try the Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit, I think it contains a tool to do this. It also makes it nearly impossible to fuck up your computer accidentally.
posted by Jairus at 5:44 AM on November 24, 2005

If you have XP and Service Pack 2 then there is a registry fix:
Details here

It's not perfect. It does work for the Windows desktop and in explorer, but when you load a program (for example, Internet Explorer) the right button comes back into play. I don't therefore know if this helps you much.

There's a free keyboard remapper which claims to be able to do just what you need, have a look here.
Good luck.
posted by grahamwell at 6:45 AM on November 24, 2005

Best answer: The Microsoft Intellimouse driver allows mouse buttons to be remapped. I believe it allows a mouse button to be mapped to do nothing.

Conveniently for you, the driver's a free download, and works with non-Microsoft mice too.

(Note that every week or so, the driver attempts to "phone home"; blocking this however causes no problems.)
posted by orthogonality at 6:52 AM on November 24, 2005

Mice are what, $10? Could you just buy an extra one and smash it? (I know you mention this but I'm taking exception to "the" mouse.) Better yet, decorate it so that it's his special mouse.
posted by Aknaton at 7:19 AM on November 24, 2005

Yeah, just install IntelliPoint and then map the right mouse button to "None".
posted by Rhomboid at 7:24 AM on November 24, 2005

control panel/mouse/button/[right button]/modify/unassigned
posted by Neiltupper at 8:32 AM on November 24, 2005

When our son started using our PC we put an Apple mouse on it, and it works great. It's extremely comfortable and natural for him. Much easier to click-hold-and drag with the Apple mouse -- you use your entire hand -- than with a two-button mouse because of his small hands and the finger dexterity required. I'd also be worried about RSI problems if he was using only his index finger to click the mouse button. I think your son will be alot less frustrated mousing around with an Apple-style mouse.
posted by ldenneau at 9:44 AM on November 24, 2005

I'd also be worried about RSI problems if he was using only his index finger to click the mouse button
I noticed my index finger was becoming curled-up from too much clicking. Which prompted me to switch buttons; using my middle finger to click the right button. Much better for me.
Also check out Tux Paint for your child.
posted by JohnR at 10:13 AM on November 24, 2005

Response by poster: Probably best to use the Apple mouse, but today is Thanksgiving. I'm going to give the Intellimouse drivers a try as soon as he lets me get near his computer again.
posted by bh at 10:13 AM on November 24, 2005

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