Ever since Apple “borrowed” the graphical interface concept from Xerox and Microsoft in turn “borrowed” it, the mouse pointer has become a central part of how we interact with our computers. So imagine the shock of starting your PC and discovering that there is no mouse pointer at all!
While it’s perfectly possible to use your computer without a mouse, you may want to get your pointer back. So, let’s take a look at what you can do when your mouse keeps disappearing.
Before trying anything, use some keyboard shortcuts to see if you can get the pointer back. Try Fn + F3, Fn + F5, Fn + F9 or Fn + F11 and see if that works. Basically, this will re-enable your mouse if it’s disabled for some reason. If this doesn’t help, keep reading.
1. Restart your computer
Well, we start with standard advice. Turn off your computer and then turn it back on. Sometimes it’s so obvious that people forget to do it at all. This eliminates any temporary glitches that may never happen again.
2. Check Connection & Battery
USB Technology very reliable these days, but it can still be complicated. So unplug your mouse, wait a second then plug it back in. You may also want to try a different port, this also solves the problem sometimes.
Alternatively, if your mouse is connected via a dock or hub, try connecting it directly to the computer, or unplug the hub and reconnect it.
Finally, about connectivity, try disconnecting all other devices except the mouse and see if that helps.
If you’re using a wireless mouse, the problem may simply be that you have to replace the battery. On Apple products, it usually gives you a message telling you that you need to replace the battery, but this doesn’t always happen in Windows.
3. Test the mouse on something else or try another mouse
If those two quick fixes don’t work, it’s important to determine if the problem is with the mouse or with the computer itself. The easiest way to do this is to try a different mouse from the computer in question or plug the problematic mouse into another mouse-enabled device.
If the mouse works elsewhere, you may have a software or hardware problem with your computer. If the mouse doesn’t work anywhere else, then the mystery of the disappearing mouse is solved.
4. On a laptop, check the mouse switch key
Most laptops have a large touchpad below the keyboard, and many users who use an external mouse or type a lot find it distracting. It may happen that you accidentally touch it with your thumb while using the keyboard, causing the pointer to jump.
This is why most laptops have a toggle to disable the touchpad. If you have not connected an external mouse and the touchpad is disabled, you may not be able to see your mouse pointer.
The good news is that this only takes a few seconds to fix. Consult your user manual for specific instructions, but in most cases the toggle will be one of the function keys.
You should see a small image of a trackpad or something similar on that key. To activate the conversion, you usually have to hold Fn First, this button changes the function of the keys on the function key row when the key is pressed.
5. Turn off “Hide cursor when typing”
Sometimes your mouse disappears as a result of a setting somewhere that was accidentally activated or enabled by another user. If you find your mouse pointer just disappears as you type, chances are the “Hide cursor while typing” option is enabled.
To check if this has happened:
- Open Start Menu.
- Type Mouse settings and select it when it appears.
- Option Additional mouse options.
- Choose Pointer Options Tab.
- Unchecked Hide cursor while typing.
6. Back to recent changes
If your problem occurs right after something on your computer changes, you should consider undoing those changes if possible. This includes recent Windows updates, mouse driver updates, or new software you’ve installed.
Of course, correlation is not synonymous with causality, but having a system change happen close to an issue increases the likelihood of the connection somewhat. Here’s how to restore drivers in Windows 10.
7. Update the firmware or mouse software
Even without installing proprietary software, all USB and Bluetooth The mouse follows interface standards common to both types of connections. Yes it is, but sometimes your mouse will only start working after installing the manufacturer’s configuration utility.
With some wireless mice, such as Logitech mice that use an indoor receiver, you may need to pair the receiver and mouse before using the utility.
8. Check if Mouse is convertible
Some Bluetooth mice, such as MX Master series, support multiple device configurations. So you can switch between different devices at the touch of a button. If your mouse has this feature, make sure it is set to the correct profile for the computer you want to use.
9. Do some driver maintenance
While Windows usually does a good job of keeping things up to date, you may want to manually check if your mouse drivers are up to date. Also, you should probably rollback the new mouse driver that might be causing the problem. It is also possible that your GPU driver needs to be updated for it to work well with the newer mouse driver.
10. If your cursor only disappears in certain apps
Sometimes the mouse pointer just disappears when it hovers over certain applications. Common examples include web browser and video player applications such as Chrome browser. This can happen because the application is trying to use hardware acceleration to render things faster and more smoothly.
Unfortunately, this sometimes means the pointer disappears because of compatibility issues. Updating your GPU drivers and apps should be your first action, but if that doesn’t work, check the software’s documentation to see where you can disable hardware acceleration.
11. Use Alt + Tab or Task Manager to release the captured cursor
Sometimes your mouse pointer keeps disappearing because an off-screen application captured it. This can happen when some applications do not close properly and do not bring the mouse back.
There are two quick ways to fix this. The first is to press Alt and Tab together on your keyboard. This will shift the app focus to another app and hopefully release the mouse. If that doesn’t work, use Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open Task Manager. Then, select the suspected application and end its process by right-clicking on it and selecting End Process.
If your mouse doesn’t release when you switch to Task Manager, you can simply press Alt + E to end a bookmarked application.
12. Check for Malware
The ultimate potential cause of missing pointers is a long shot, but if it happens to be it’s a serious problem. Some malware can take control of your system, including input devices like mouse and keyboard.
A missing pointer could be a sign of this, so make sure to disconnect your computer from the Internet and then run anti-malware software on it. You may have to do this from a bootable flash drive, but in most cases you should be fine just installing and running apps such as Malwarebytes.
Go to point (er)
There are many possible reasons why your mouse pointer is AWOL, but the solutions we have listed here are the ones with the highest probability of success as well as some of the fastest solutions to try.
If after all of this, you still don’t have a mouse pointer on the screen, you may have to consider installing or repairing Windows itself. You can try booting a live version of Linux from a flash drive or DVD to 100% confirm that Windows is the problem, but once you are sure Windows needs a new chance, go to 3 ways to remove and reinstall Windows 10.