Problem solve Get help with specific problems with your technologies, process and projects.

Partially Disconnected USB Cable Puts Mouse MIA

As the old saying goes: “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” Earlier this week, I sat down at my desk and awoke my production PC from its slumbers. Keyboard worked just fine, but the mouse was MIA. This put me into a more-or-less typical troubleshooting drill. Checked the mouse power switch: on. Replaced the mouse battery with a brand-new Energizer Lithium AA. No change. Unplugged and replugged the MS RF dongle for the Microsoft Wireless Mobile 3200 Mouse I’m using. Nothing doing. Then I started haring off into Device Manager (thanks to my backup wired Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse, which I had plugged into an available USB 2.0 port). Only eventually did it occur to me to check the USB cable(s) between the PC and the RF transceiver. And sure enough, as the Boss dusted my desk the night before, she’d bumped the cable enough to loosen its connection. Thus, a partially disconnected USB cable puts mouse MIA the next morning!

If the cable is bumped or tugged, the male and female fittings will disengage, ever so slightly.
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Easy Fix for Partially Disconnected USB Cable

After checking the drivers I found nothing amiss. Then, I swapped out the MS dongle and mouse for a Logitech Unifying Transceiver and an M325 mouse, and that didn’t help either. Only then did it occur to me: check the cable, bonehead! Sure enough, the two connectors shown in the photo had slipped apart a little bit. Just enough, it seems, to prevent the cable from ferrying wireless communications to/from the mouse to the USB port and into the PC. A quick shove in the right direction, and I was back in business.

It just goes to show that it pays to check the obvious stuff first and foremost. Upon reflection, a loose cable is a first-check kind of item when devices go MIA. I just wish I’d thought of it sooner, rather than being forced to recognize it (and my own lamebrainedness) later. And so it goes, here in Windows-world!