Home > Computer, Hardware > Fixing the scroll wheel on the Microsoft Arc Mouse

Fixing the scroll wheel on the Microsoft Arc Mouse

November 24, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

When I saw the Microsoft Arc Mouse in the retail store recently I just had to have it, the cool factor was high in my opinion. So I paid some $60 plus tax and took it home to play with.

After about one month of use the scroll wheel was intermittently working (it would click some of the time), then it stopped working (clicking) altogether in about 2 months.

When the wheel stopped working, I searched around the Internet and noticed many more people where having this exact same problem. Some had the mouse wheel stop within a couple weeks, and others in several days.

What follows is an account of how I fixed my mouse. I believe that this wheel problem is DESIGN related and here is what I did to fix it (for now).

*** START DISCLAIMER ***

If you are NOT TECHNICALLY INCLINED (or have the right tools) to fix your mouse please use the correct support procedures outlined by your retailer or Microsoft to get one that works or your money back for a different mouse. Following this procedure to fix your mouse will likely VOID the warranty!

*** END DISCLAIMER ***

Ok, now on with what I did … I could not take the mouse back to the retailer due to length of return time and I did not want to deal with MS support (more effort & energy than it’s worth) to get a replacement that will just break again.

Remove the skid pads on the front part of the mouse, they are held there with a bit of adhesive (like tape), I used a small screwdriver to pull up the edge of the skid pad then just pulled them off.  You can also use a small knife or hobby blade (think x-acto knife).  Keep them clean so you can reapply them later.  (Special thanks to sahil & Chuong for suggesting this part)

Once you remove the battery cover and batteries, there will be 3 screws under the label as shown in the pictures below. In addition, there are 4 screws under the black skid pads in the front part of the mouse.

The trick is removing the 3 screws under the label … the 2 side screws are of phillips type and the middle screw is different and requires a hex screwdriver. Not sure why MS decided to do this, but it makes taking apart the mouse harder since you need another tool.

After all screws are removed, the top cover will come off and you will see this:

The upper board just floats and is held down by the cover and wheel, to remove the wheel, just lift the upper board.

In my opinion, the problem with the mouse wheel lies in the material it is made of and the length of the hex shaped part of the shaft that fits into the mechanism that detects the wheel movement. My mouse wheel shaft was a little bit worn, but it was worn just enough and short enough to free spin and not turn the wheel mechanism.

I guess MS did not test the fact that people would be putting different pressures at different angles on this scroll wheel, hence the different failure rates with different people.

So what did I do to fix the problem?

I used some blue painter’s tape to provide a tighter fit and lengthen the end just slightly. This is a good enough fix to allow me to get more mileage out of the mouse and, as a side benefit, it gets rid of the loud plastic clicking sound the mouse made before.

To finish up … make sure the wheel spins freely, put the cover back on, put all the phillips screws back (not the hex one), replace the skid pads, add the batteries, and put the battery cover back on.

I hope this helps a lot of folks out there decide what to do with these cool yet dysfunctional mice!

Take care & be safe.

- Dom

*****

Additional Information on this post:

Matt wrote to me recently to tell me “I used superglue instead of tape, spin the tip around the part you taped and then once you have a thin but even coating around breathe (like a hot slow breath, not like blowing out candles) to help the glue set (super glue sets with water, the moisture in your breath will help speed things up). After a minute it should be dry and then just put the scroll wheel back in and its as good as new :)”. Thanks Matt.

  1. Tim
    November 20, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the procedure. My scroll failed after two weeks. I followed your procedure and used teflon tape. Scroll work perfectly now.

    • ArcOwner
      February 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks for the teflon tape tip.

  2. December 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    someone stole my laptop but left my ARC mouse. Unfortunately the wireless receiver dongle was still attached to the laptop. Microsoft said I couldn't get a replacement. If I found a broken ARC mouse would I be able to interchange the dongle, or should I just buy a new ARC mouse and use this one as parts?

  3. December 24, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Great fix. Works even better now! Thanks.

  4. December 29, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    i used my dads arc mouse and this happened to me,he wanted me to pay for it and i did this with him and it actually works thanks dude

  5. Dom
    January 29, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    RE: dongleGetting a new arc mouse MAY work but I would bet it would not. I'm guessing that the mouse and dongle are paired using a number of some sort when they both power on. Sorry to hear you lost the laptop, that sucks.- Dom

  6. August 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for the guide on pulling this mouse apart. My arc mouse scroll wheel never worked, at first I thought it was a driver issue with Ubuntu, but after borrowing a WinXP laptop and installing the drivers it still didn’t work.

    After dismantling the mouse, I could see that the middle leg on the rotation switch was not soldered to the circuit board at all. It was a bit tricky to solder, I had to wrap small wire onto the end of my soldering iron to make a super fine tip that would get into the small space. I’m happy to report that it working now.

    • August 9, 2010 at 10:18 am

      Awesome Bill! Glad the detailed pictures helped. I can only imagine trying to solder on something this small. Glad it worked out.

  7. Richard
    November 23, 2010 at 1:12 am

    Thank you very much! You are awesome! Much Thanks. Much Much Thanks. Continue being awesome.

    • November 24, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      You’re welcome, glad you found the information useful.

  8. Jodie
    February 17, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Great article with the pictures and everything. My problem is the red LED part that makes the mouse optical seems to have “burned out”. It’s possible! So this article got me started in the right direction. Thanks. Drat that hex type screw! My friend who is a ham radio collector is going to do the micro work for me. He’s been doing that for 30+ years.

    • February 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

      I’m glad the detail helped, it’s always good to have a friend that can do that kind of work, good luck!

  9. umazel
    June 26, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks for that awesome tips. The problem left for me now is to find a hex screw driver. More power to you.

    • June 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      Yes, finding the right hex/torx screwdriver will be the challenge.

  10. Stitch
    July 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Dominic,

    Excellent fix! My scroll wheel had been giving me fits. It scrolled down okay, but scrolling up I felt like a hamster on a wheel. I couldn’t go anywhere. Your fix made the difference!

    Like you said, the hard part was getting that cursed hex screw out. After a futile search for the right size hex wrench I managed to jam a 1.5 mm slotted screwdriver in and engage the head. That did the trick. I didn’t have painter’s tape, but some standard office scotch tape worked for me.

    The smooth (and quiet!) scrolling is a pleasure!

    Thanks again,

    Eric

    • July 15, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      Glad you found the post useful. My Arc Mouse is still kicking.

  11. August 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Excellent explanation, I repaired my 2nd arc mouse tonight – after removing the vasaline type lubricant from the shaft & the mechanism, I used my wifes jewellers adhisive, G-S Hypo Cement to make a permanant fix, it has a tiny precision nozzle & allows a minute drop of adhesive to be applied. A perfect repair. I would recommend the Am-Tech precision screwdriver set ( L0550 ) for anyone attempting small fiddly jobs it’s cheap and fits most mobile phones as well.

    Thanks again Domimic

    Tom

    • October 9, 2011 at 7:32 pm

      Tom, thanks for the jewelers adhesive tip, I was unaware of this type of glue.

  12. Wicho
    September 20, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Just fixed mine using your instructions. Thanks a lot!

  13. October 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    I`ve just fixed my Arc thanks to you. Thanks a lot for your detailed instructions,

    • October 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      You’re welcome, glad you found the instructions useful. I’m still using my Arc Mouse today.

  14. October 21, 2011 at 7:46 am

    perfect! great write-up! was getting very frustrating not having the scroll wheel…

    • October 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks for the feedback!

  15. skai
    October 22, 2011 at 9:50 am

    My Arc only started to show signs wheel-sickness.
    (scrolling up has no result or actualy scrolled down).

    Thank you, she’s good as new now !

    Note that the non-philips screw is not an hex in my case, but a torx. (size 6).

    • October 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm

      Ahh, thanks. I did not have any torx handy, so I made do with what I had. Glad you have a working mouse again.

  16. jeandm
    December 28, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Awesome!! It works!

    Thanks

    • December 29, 2011 at 7:40 am

      Glad you found the post useful.

  17. sahil
    January 16, 2012 at 11:10 am

    yo how do i take the skid pads off? :|

    • January 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      The skid pads are held on with some adhesive, so just pry them off with small screwdriver or exacto knife.

  18. Julia
    January 26, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Love fixing stuff :) I looked for a few days for a tutorial for taking my mouse apart. I was having problems with the left button not responding on the first click. I found your step by step directions absolutely wonderful!Seems my middle screw required a star key, but I used my Philips screwdriver to boar out the screw just enough to where i could use a small Allen wrench. I removed the top layer and blew on the small rubber buttons underneath. I suppose there was a bit of dirt or lent interfering with the button. It works perfectly now!! Thank you so much! I was really having a hard time finding those screws under the label. The blonde has shown through ^_^ Have a wonderful day!

  19. luis del castillo
    February 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Great great post dude, you saved many many years of life of my little kickin’ ass arc mouse, thanks again!

    • February 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Glad you found it useful. You’re welcome.

  20. Chuong
    March 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Thanks a lot! My arc mouse scroll is working now. Small suggestion: please add how to remove the skid pad to your post. It wasn’t obvious when I read to that part.
    Overall, great instruction. Love the photos too!

    • March 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

      Thanks, glad you found it useful. I’ll add more info how to remove the skid pads, great feedback!

  21. sixthchild09
    May 15, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I think you’re right…. the material it’s not the best for the response…. anyway.. you gave the life back to my mouse wheel! thank you!!!

    • May 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Glad your mouse has life again! Mine is still kicking as we type.

  22. Justin Brownell
    May 26, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Just figured i would give this a shot as my arc mouse has been finicky lately too. Tried everything else under the sun. After following your steps ( used a small flat head and a little force and got the hex screw out), problem solved! Amazing tutorial, thanks so much!

    • May 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      Great to hear the small flat head worked out. That tricky screw will keep a lot of people from opening up their Arc Mouse. Simple fix and your mouse is working again. Thanks for the feedback.

  23. June 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Helo, author. I like your article and I want to do the same here, but I’m software developer, not any hardware professional.
    What I have to do to be able to repair my own Microsoft Arc mouse, following your steps for example?

    • June 28, 2012 at 10:24 am

      Hi Rafael, this blog post provides a general guideline on how to disassemble the microsoft arc mouse. To reassemble, just reverse the actions to disassemble. Hope this help.

  24. July 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Like two weeks ago I got one Arc mouse, just yesterday my left click stop working, I got really mad, I went to the store and called Microsoft Hardware support, they told me that I must need the original box of my mouse to use the warranty, the box was the first thing that I dump to garbage when I opened my mouse hehehe so no one helped me :(

    Then I found this page, it is awesomeeee!!! the pictures and the way to explain makes easy to fix ur mouse :)

    I did exactly the same as Julia!!!! now my mouse is working fineee!!

    Thanks very much dompruitt for your tutorial, I was so mad for spent 60 dollars in a mouse, (well 699 Mexican Pesos) that was nor working, thanks Julia also for you comments.

    Thanks a lot!!!! greetings from Mexico City!!!

    • July 6, 2012 at 11:17 am

      Glad you found this page useful. Thanks for the feedback.

  25. AndreGustavo
    August 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Oww man.. I’m from Brasil and I have a mouse like that. It’s just like Jodie said, I felt like a hamster when I try to scroll up. I will try to do this on my mouse when I get home! But I don’t have the torx tool : /
    Thanks in advance!!!

    • August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      I found that a small flat screwdriver can fit in the torx hole enough to take the screw out. Good luck removing the torx screw.

  26. AndreGustavo
    August 28, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Great article, I did just like explain here and now my Arc mouse works really fine!!
    Thanks so much!!

  27. September 25, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I can’t believe this worked but it did, and it only took a few minutes. My mouse works perfectly now and the scroll now feels more solid. Thans so much for posting this!

  28. vini
    September 26, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Pretty cool, I managed to fix mine too. Thanks for sharing this. The wheel of my mouse was slow and sometimes it would scroll slightly to the opposite direction.

  29. Zee
    November 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    works perfect thx a million you cant believe how much i’ve suffered coz of that damn scroll…you rock man :)

  30. nithin
    December 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

    I have a small problem one small component has fallen our and im not sure wer it fits in… its like a small green chip fixed on a crooked golden brown tape could you please guide me to wer it should fit in….. my mouse isin working now because of this..

  31. Morgan Pierce
    January 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Excellent work! I was at work and had no painter’s tape. Fortunately cutting two pieces of scotch tape approximately 2mm wide and 7mm long did the trick as well. May not last as long as the painter’s but we will see. Thank you!

  32. Friend from Thailand
    February 7, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Million thks to yr helpful tip to fix it. I have two of these one for me and another for my wife. Love it due to the design and the ease to keep it. But almost give up due to the scroll prob.
    But now it works like new. Million thks once again.

  33. Saliva Lo
    February 28, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    THX!!! I use blu tack instead, work like a charm!

  34. Rana
    March 2, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Thank you for the help in fixing this issue. I was trying out all software options never realizing that it had such a simple fix

  35. March 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Excellent fix, already using it and it works like a charm! :D Thanks!

  36. sabo
    March 14, 2013 at 4:26 am

    ;) thankx, help me too !

  37. xy
    April 12, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    wow thanks it helps me

  38. Peregrina
    April 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    My problem is not that the hex slips, its ok, but the register slot is malfunctioning. If I press it with my finger it works better, but still goes down if I scroll up a couple of occasions.

  39. oneclearman
    June 4, 2013 at 4:45 am

    thanks it helps me, I can save the fix fee.

  40. Mozhde
    July 2, 2013 at 2:35 am

    I appreciate your useful post. Thanks a million!
    Mozhde from Iran. :)

    • September 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm

      Glad it helped! Nice to see a comment from Iran.

  41. August 1, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you a lot! That helped me to figure how to fix my Arc mouse that was forgotten inside a box. Now, I can use it once again!

    • September 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      It’s a nice mouse, glad you are able to use it again! Mine is still going.

  42. whiteryder
    August 16, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Thank you thank you! All I was hoping for was a hint as to where the screws were hidden, your description was so much more. I even followed your advice not to put the hex screw back in – will be nice if I ever have to dissect this thing again. :)

    • September 7, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      You’re welcome. This post is pretty popular, glad it helped.

  43. Fátima
    August 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Thank you!!
    I fix mine too

  44. yuki
    October 1, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Thanks Dominic, I went ballistic looking for the right screwdriver for the center screw and finally found the correct size. Thanks to your very detailed instructions, my three (yes, 3!!) Arc mice thank you!!

    • November 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Wow, 3 arc mice, glad you got them working.

  45. nikidestoner
    October 8, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    I had problems with the optical sensor, it was going all crazy on the screen.
    I removed a couple more Phillips P00 screws below the floating board which held the scroll wheel and brushed off some dust, that did the trick!
    Thank you good Sir.

  46. bARRIE
    October 15, 2013 at 7:21 am

    why is it no magazine has taken up the issue of Microsoft ignoring the public.
    They don’t bother to answer emails or just ignore phone complaints. They are to big and greedy

    • November 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Who knows, I’m just glad I can crack into these things when they go south.

  47. pinck!
    November 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Thanks for the cure! I thought I had a dud as well, but ten minutes later I am scrolling away! Thanks for the well written post!

    • November 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Nice to hear your arc mouse is working again.

  48. November 9, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Just fixed my arc mouse. Thank you for all your help. – K

  49. John C
    December 5, 2013 at 7:59 am

    ROCK ON!!!!! you just saved me $50 by fixing my ARC and NOT buying another mouse!!!!! FYI…. I didn’t have painter tape and tried ELECTRIC tape..( too thick ) it wouldn’t fit back into the wheel receptacle… so i used regular ol’ scotch take and it worked GREAT!!!! THANKS AGAIN!!!!!! I found that the SMALLEST Hex wrench on my multi hex wrench tool worked OK not a perfect fit but it worked with a little extra TLC.

    • December 8, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Awesome! Glad the scotch tape worked.

  50. Justin
    January 25, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    Thanks for the repair tip! I used teflon tape to fix both mine and my sister’s mice. No more erratic scrolling!

    • January 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

      You’re welcome. Teflon is a good choice, can put on thin layers until it fits snug.

  51. Alex
    February 13, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Thanks fir this guide! It’s a real wheel saver :)

    • February 28, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks alot, love the pun!

  52. Nick
    February 21, 2014 at 8:05 am

    Thanks from Russia! My wife is happy now. It is her favourite mouse.

  53. Ibrahim Saad
    February 21, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks man! You saved my life!! :D

    • February 28, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      It’s only pictures of the inside of a mouse, but thanks! :-)

  54. Fabry
    March 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I just followed your guide: I love this mice and now it works even better than the first day.
    Thanks a lot from Italy!!

    • March 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

      You’re welcome, glad the information has helpful.

  55. April 13, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you man, without this guide maybe I would had broken it in pieces. I used blue painter’s tape as you suggested and the problem is gone, now mouse is working like new.
    I use this mouse at the office and I hated it when scrolling down was not working properly.
    Finding the hidden screws was the key, specially those under the adhesive label, fortunately I had a kit of mini thorx screwdrivers at home. Awesome tips.
    Thanks a lot from Panama, The Canal Zone!

    • April 24, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Glad it worked for you! Thanks for writing from Panama.

  56. April 13, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    :)

  57. ciprian Matasaru
    May 22, 2014 at 11:15 am

    You`re the best, man! My old Microsoft mouse it`s back now, thanks to you. Best regards form Romania!

    • June 1, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Glad to hear, thanks for the feedback.

  58. Frank
    July 27, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    So glad I found your fix, years after you’ve posted it :-)
    I’m using Arc mice for a long time now. Only recently I started hating the loud scroll noise, and also the middle click stopped working. I then ordered two Logitech mouses, because of their continously scrolling wheels – hated both: shakily behaviour, sent them back…
    When my first Arc developed the scroll problem – after 3 years – MS replaced it for free! I thought I could open that one and see if I could eliminate the scroll noise. So I found your web page and now I have a reanimated Arc mouse with not only a working but also very silent scroll wheel (used electric tape) and a working middle click (was just a matter of removing dust around the switch that forms the right bearing of the scroll wheel).
    Thanks from Germany.

    • July 29, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      Glad you fixed your Arc mouse and the info I posted is still relevant. Thanks.

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