Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Your computer's BIOS will be set to look for boot devices in a certain order. If that is causing problems, you will need to reset your boot order.

My old mouse died, so I purchased another wireless mouse. Since then, when my computer boots up with the receiver inserted into the USB port, all I get is a blank screen after POST (the Power Up Self Test). If I remove the receiver and reboot, the computer starts as it should and the new mouse works properly. I'm guessing that the problem is with the BIOS, but don't know where to start looking to correct the problem. I've tried three different mice from the same company and my laptop does the same thing. I've also uninstalled the SetPoint software that was recommended by the mouse manufacturer. I'm running Windows XP and have kept up with all of the updates.

In this excerpt from Answercast #33, I look at a mouse that is confusing a computer into thinking it's a boot device; and of course, it isn't!

USB mouse receiver prevents boot

Your intuition is correct. This is actually a BIOS problem and has nothing to do with Windows or with the software you may have installed in Windows. In reality, I consider this to be a failing in the mouse. It should not cause the computer to do what it's doing.

To be clear, what it's doing (for whatever reason) is:

  • The computer thinks that the mouse adapter/ receiver is a hard disk that it should try to boot from.

  • Of course, it's not.

  • It's not a hard disk; it is not a bootable hard disk;

  • So the computer actually can't do anything.

That's what I believe is causing it to stop if the USB mouse receiver is installed.

Change the Boot Order

Now, the only way that I know to fix that (aside from getting a mouse from a different manufacturer) is to go into your computer's BIOS and change what's called the Boot Order.

The computer looks at different devices in a specific order that you can configure in your BIOS.

  • Normally, it will look at your hard disk first.

  • If there's nothing there, it might look at a CD-ROM.

We often change the boot order to look at things like a CD-ROM and USB, first, before it actually tries to boot from the hard disk, in case if you have something that you want to boot from temporarily.

  • For example, you're trying a Linux Live CD or something like that,

  • Then, just inserting the media and rebooting your machine will cause your BIOS to find it first.

In your case, clearly, that's getting in the way. So what I would recommend you do is:

  • Change the BIOS boot order to look at your hard disk before it looks at any USB devices,

  • Or perhaps not look at any USB devices at all.

Now, I know the first thing you're going to ask is, "How do I do that?" Unfortunately, I don't have an answer for you because the settings in the BIOS are different for different computers.

So what I would suggest you do is take a look at perhaps the documentation that came with your machine, or the documentation you might find on the website of your computer's manufacturer. See if they have instructions for exactly the keystrokes required to go into your BIOS and make that change.

That's basically what I think you're going to have to do – either:

  • Get a mouse that doesn't confuse your computer.

  • Change your computer's BIOS to stop looking at USB devices to boot from.

Article C5560 - July 9, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

July 9, 2012 9:05 AM

I think that this issue stems from companies attempting to do more with peripherals...
"The user is stuck with this USB 'dongle' to do whatever, so why not make it a memory stick too? We can put the driver software on it to be helpful :) "
I have a few items like this myself (including a mouse from Microsoft) and I can see where the confusion comes from. It IS a storage device, but the PC can't boot from it.
The simplest solution would be plug the receiver in after bootup.

Ron N.
July 10, 2012 11:01 AM

All my computers are set to boot from USB first. I use "Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000" exclusively. No computer sees it as a boot device, they then proceed to check the CD/DVD drives and the on to the hard drive for boot files.

I would not want to always have to unplug the mouse before booting. Just get a MS mouse on Amazon for about $16.00.

As a technician, I sell these at cost all the time. I just bought 3 from an Amazon seller for 14.68 and free shipping. Be sure to get the 4000 model. It has smooth and side scrolling. No need to install any software. These work in every brand of computer the comes across my bench. Plug it in and go.

That's about all I know about MS mice.
Cheers from Ohio

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