A+ Certification / Beginners

Catching the Mouse

The other popular input device found on computer systems today is the mouse. The mouse is one of the primary input devices due to the graphical user interface (GUI) features of today's operating systems. The following sections identify the different types of mice and how to install them.

Types of mice

You can find three types of mice on today's desktop computer systems: mechanical mice, opto-mechanical mice, and optical mice.

  • Mechanical: A mechanical mouse was the only type of mouse used with computers for many years. The mechanical mouse uses a rubber ball that moves a pair of wheels inside the mouse that control, or capture, the horizontal and vertical movements of the mouse and then send that information to the computer. The movement is then displayed on the screen.
  • Opto-mechanical: The opto-mechanical mouse is a very popular mouse today. It uses a rubber ball that moves rollers that control the movement of a disc, known as the encoding disc, which has holes along the side of it. The term "opto" comes from the fact that there are LEDs and sensors that use an infrared light beam to determine the movement of the mouse.
  • Optical: An optical mouse is different than an opto-mechanical mouse because the optical mouse has no moving parts. The rubber ball and wheels are replaced with an optical scanning system that works on pretty much any surface.
    The optical scanning system is made up of optical sensors and a Digital Signal Processor (DSP). The optical mouse captures images of the surface at a rate of 1500 images per second. The DSP then analyzes and compares the images to detect the mouse movement.

Installing a mouse

Installing a mouse is very similar and just as easy as installing a keyboard. You pretty much just plug the mouse in and the Windows mouse driver controls the device. The following is a list of the different types of interfaces you may use to connect a mouse to the system.

  • Serial: A serial mouse is a mouse that connects to the serial port on the computer. The serial port is the male 9-pin or 25-pin port on the back of the computer that sends data one bit at a time. Serial mice are not as popular today as they once were.
  • PS/2: One of the most popular interfaces for a mouse on desktop computers is the PS/2 connection. The PS/2 connection is also known as the Mini-DIN 6 connector.
  • USB: Becoming the most popular type of connection for mice today is the USB connector. Simply plug the mouse into the USB port and click away! USB is hot-swappable - meaning that you can plug and unplug a USB device without shutting down the system. USB can transfer data at 12 Mbps (USB 1.1) or 480 Mbps (USB 2.0).
[Previous] [Contents] [Next]