Fixing the scroll wheel on the Microsoft Arc Mouse

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.

117 thoughts on “Fixing the scroll wheel on the Microsoft Arc Mouse

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

  2. 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. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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).

  10. 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!

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!!!

  14. 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!

    1. 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.

  15. 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?

    1. 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.

  16. 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!!!

  17. 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!!!

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

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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..

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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. 🙂

  27. 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!!

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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!

  31. 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.

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

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

  34. 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!

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

  36. 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.

  37. Saw this article and fixed my Arc Mouse. I used Teflon tape and just used a flat head screwdriver and a bit force to unscrew the middle screw. Thanks.

  38. I am so pleased that i could fix the arc mouse which belongs to my mother in law and found it after she left life and found the scrolling not working at all, i followed your simple and professional steps and scrolling wheel is working now , but in fact scrolling up gives same action as down (all go down) !
    do you have any explanation for that ?
    however, i am happy with it now but if fix the scrolling up issue , it would be fantastic

    1. Sounds like you improved the mouse function, my guess is the switch that knows the direction of the wheel movement might be the problem and needs to be replaced (unfortunately).

  39. Thank you… Like a lot! My arc went crazy when you tried to scroll and now it’s fixed.

    Saludos desde México

  40. awesome..this painters tape trick fixed it for me aswell. your a legend. Think the middle hex screw is T6.

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