Why can't I rightclick aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahaaaargh!?
January 9, 2019 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Probably because my cheapO wireless mouse is dying, right? Is it possible to resuscitate it?

They got me a replacement for it, but it's corded. Is there a way to prolong the dying wireless one another month or so to put off the dreadful hour when I will have to crawl under the desk, find a free input on the tower, and jam the replacement mouse cord into it? I hate crawling under the desk because of all the dropped food under there plus I'm so out of shape it makes every muscle howl and causes me to become too uncomfortably aware of time's wing├ęd chariot hurrying near.

The problem I'm having is, I have to click fiftythousandbillion times on the right button to get it to register. If I take the top of it off and use an unbent paperclip to click the little button dealie, I hear it click, but it doesn't force it to register. Would it do me any good to scare up a Phillips-head and unscrew the tiny screws and, I dunno, blow on the contacts or something?
posted by Don Pepino to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have any ideas for fixing your mouse, but to limp along, remember that the "context menu" key on on your keyboard (usually on the right side between Ctrl and alt) will emulate a right click in some cases, or shift+F10 will trigger the same thing, if you don't have a special key.
posted by jcreigh at 1:05 PM on January 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you got a new wireless mouse you would still have to crawl to put the receiver dongle in a port, so perhaps that will help with the emotional coping?

I have had good luck resuscitating mice in the past by taking an alcohol wipe, gently nudging the corner into the mouse button cracks as far as it'll go, clicking down, then pulling the wipe around. If there's finger smooge gunk or cumbs in there gumming up the button it can help dislodge and loosen.
posted by phunniemee at 1:17 PM on January 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

Sounds like you have a broken contact switch under the RMB, and there's really no fixing it without replacement or some advanced (for a mouse at least) MacGyvering.

Do you have a Windows-ready keyboard? Because some of them have a "context menu" button on them-- my Logitech board I'm typing on right now has one between the WinKey and Ctrl buttons on the right side. That is a decent crutch.

I suggest you just head under the desk and do the needful right before lunch; lunch will get you out of the office right after the unpleasant experience of facing your mortality under a desk.

Plug it in, unplug the wireless transceiver for the current mouse, come back up for air and perspective, and then check your screen for windows recognition of the new device-- it might have you jump through one or two easy hoops. Then go eat something.

Okay, you want a practical answer that isn't, strictly speaking, free? Locate and pull aside the PFY, the pimply-faced youth in your IT department, give them a brief but candid reason (claustrophobia is a good one) why you don't want to go under your desk, and offer them a disproportionate bribe for them to do it for you: beer (check ID), cookies, brownies, or lunch. Just so there's no suggestion of weirdness on your part (past the part where you won't crawl under your own desk), feel free to wander away to talk to a witness, I mean coworker, while the PFY is in a less-than-dignified pose under your desk.
posted by Sunburnt at 1:30 PM on January 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

Do you have a Windows-ready keyboard? Because some of them have a "context menu" button on them-- my Logitech board I'm typing on right now has one between the WinKey and Ctrl buttons on the right side. That is a decent crutch.

This is good and useful and I'd been typing on keyboards with this key for years without ever bothering to figure out what it was for.
posted by asperity at 1:45 PM on January 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

What I'm wondering here is why you don't just buy your own new wireless mouse, if having a wireless mouse matters to you. They only cost about $10, or $20 if you want one from a known brand like Logitech.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:20 PM on January 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, thank you all so much! The context menu key is like a shiny new diamond in my life, as is the strategy for mitigating the pain of those inevitable underdesk forays by working them into the workday at the best possible time. (I couldn't possibly subject anyone, not even a PFY, had we one of those useful entities, to my peculiar underdesk microclimate.) I brought this struggle to my boyfriend last night and he rolled his eyes and wondered aloud why I didn't just plug the new corded mouse into one of the ports on my keyboard. I said, "Ports? On the... keyboard...?"
posted by Don Pepino at 7:44 AM on January 10, 2019

Solder in some new microswitches?

I had similar missing clicks on a number of Logtiech G100s mice. Replacing the stock Chinese Omron microswitches with new Japanese ones fixed the problem.
posted by genpfault at 8:19 AM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

And to stand on your boyfriend's shoulders: have you considered buying an inexpensive (powered!) USB hub? You would indeed have to go plug it in, but then you could put it somewhere that gave you easy, above-desk access for all future (un-)pluggings!
posted by wenestvedt at 8:04 AM on January 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

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