Why Is My Mouse Moving on Its Own? 5 Causes and 4 Fixes

May 20, 2024 • Zachary Amos

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If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my mouse moving on its own?” you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you about potential causes, help you narrow down your issue and give you foolproof troubleshooting solutions you can try.

Possible Reasons Your Mouse Is Moving on Its Own 

To answer the question, “Why is my mouse moving on its own?” you need to know every potential cause. 

Your Drivers Are Outdated

You might not have realized you need to update your mouse’s drivers just like your graphics card or motherboard — they can cause technical issues if they’re outdated. While it should happen automatically, it sometimes doesn’t.

Your Mouse’s Battery Is Low

If you’re using a wireless mouse, it might be moving on its own because its battery is low or its connection is weak. You might see it jump around, twitch or move slowly across your screen. 

You’ve Been Hacked

Can hackers move your mouse? Suppose you’ve clicked on a suspicious executable, plugged in a sketchy USB stick or visited a website with embedded malware. In that case, there’s a chance malware — specifically a remote access program — got installed on your PC. 

A silhouette and computer screens
Hackers can use remote access software to move your mouse without physical access to your PC.

Your Mouse Is Grungy

Sweat, oil from your fingers and dust — not to mention crumbs and drink condensation — builds up over time and can create obstructions, causing your mouse to move on its own. Gunk can get in between your mouse buttons, underneath your scroll wheel or over your sensor.

You Forgot to Disable a Device

If you have more than one mouse, the culprit might be one of them — it’s easy to plug a USB or HDMI in and forget about it when you have so many other cords. Gaming controllers are common causes, too. 

Ways to Pinpoint Which One Is Affecting Your Mouse

We’re here to provide in-depth instructions on pinpointing your issue if you’re still asking yourself, “Why is my mouse moving on its own?” after checking out the possible causes.

Rule out Mouse Issues

Try a different mouse. If the issue persists, your mouse isn’t the issue. Double-check by going to Device Manager, selecting Mice and other pointing devices and double-clicking on your mouse to see its Device status. If everything’s fine, it’ll say, “This device is working properly.”

Alternatively, you can immediately rule out hardware issues related to your mouse if it’s opening files, navigating websites or clicking on links. Any intentional, systematic inputs are indicators of remote access — meaning you’ve been hacked or a connected device is acting up.

Rule out Driver Issues

You can visit your mouse manufacturer’s website to see if driver updates are available. To find your manufacturer, go into your settings and click Bluetooth & devices, Mouse and Additional mouse settings. Selecting the Hardware tab will tell you who your Manufacturer is.

A screenshot of the hardware tab.
What the Mouse Properties window looks like on Windows PCs.

If you update your drivers and your mouse is still moving on its own, it could be related to remote access, cleanliness, driver or hardware issues. You can only be sure if you rule out the other options.

Rule out Remote Access

Physically disconnect your PC from the internet by unplugging the LAN cable and turning off your wifi router. Remote access is only possible with a network connection, so if the issue persists after you’re offline, it’s probably not a hacker’s doing.

Just in case, you should check your PC activity. If you’re a Windows user, hit Ctrl + Shift + Esc. For MacOS, go to Finder and navigate through the Applications folder and Utilities folder to get to the Activity Monitor. Look for unfamiliar programs — keeping an eye out for popular remote access programs like TeamViewer, GoToMyPC and AnyDesk.

To be safe, even if you don’t see anything suspicious or unfamiliar, run an antivirus scan. If you’re using Windows, you have a built-in antivirus software called Microsoft Defender. MacOS users have on called XProtect antivirus. If those don’t flag anything, you should be in the clear.

Rule out Touchpad Issues

If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my mouse moving on its own on my laptop?” your first action should be to select Bluetooth & devices and Touchpad to be able to disable the touchpad. Click the drop-down arrow for the Leave touchpad on when a mouse is connected option. 

A screenshot of system settings.
Uncheck the “Leave touchpad on when a mouse is connected” box to prevent unintentional input.

If you’re a macOS user, click the Apple icon and then click Systems Settings, Accessibility and Pointer Control instead. Toggle the option to Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present off.

4 Solutions for When Your Mouse Moves on Its Own

If you’ve read this far, you’ve gone from “Why is my mouse moving on its own?” to “How can I stop my mouse moving on its own?” We can help with that — here are four foolproof solutions.

1. Clean Your Mouse Thoroughly

Clean your mouse with 70% isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth. It’s the best cleaning solution because it dissolves oil buildup and kills bacteria. You can use compressed air, tweezers or cotton swabs for the internal bits once you take your mouse apart. 

You should wash your mousepad to prevent grime buildup on your mouse’s sensor. Scrub it with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. After letting it soak for a while, air dry it in indirect sunlight. 

2. Backup Files and Reinstall OS

Reinstalling your OS stops remote access. On Windows, you can reset your PC — returning it to its factory state — by going into settings, scrolling to Recovery and clicking Reset PC

A screenshot of system settings.
The Reset PC button removes your files and reinstalls Windows, removing any malicious programs.

On macOS, click Shut Down or hold the power button for at least 10 seconds straight. Then, press and hold the power button until Options pops up. Click it, select your user, enter your password and follow the on-screen instructions. 

3. Update Your Mouse’s Drivers

Update your mouse’s drivers by pulling up Device Manager and clicking the drop-down arrow to the left of Mice and other pointing devices. Right-click the mouse to update. To see driver details, double-click the mouse and navigate to the Driver tab. 

4. Get Yourself a New Mouse

If all else fails, it might be time to get yourself a new mouse. Yours might keep acting up because it’s too old for updates, has a broken sensor or is too difficult to clean correctly. The consensus is brands like Logitech and Razer are the best you can get, so consider those.

Run Through This Checklist if Your Mouse Acts up Again

Just because a dirty sensor was the issue this time doesn’t mean it’ll always be. If your mouse starts acting up again and you can’t fix it, run through these causes to rule things out and pinpoint your problem.

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