I’ve fielded many calls, where someone is frustrated with their new wireless mouse and/or keyboard. It’s not always a simple affair to get such a device working.

For these calls, I have to go over the basics: Are the batteries installed and are they installed in the correct direction? Is there an insulator (paper tab) to remove, so that the battery can activate and power the device? Have you found the device’s On/Off switch and checked that?

After ruling those out, the sticking point is often finding the USB bud. Well, I call it a bud, and others call it a dongle but officially it’s the USB receiver or RF receiver. It looks like this, and you can’t operate the wireless mouse or keyboard without it:

If you’re having trouble finding this bud, here are some pointers:

  • Double-check your packing materials and cardboard inserts. The USB receiver is sometimes attached to its own piece of cardboard, alongside the keyboard. It may even be embedded in the opening tabs of the box itself!
  • Flip over the mouse and look at the underside. Is the bud there, waiting to be pulled out of its slot?
  • Open the battery compartment of the mouse and/or keyboard. Sometimes, the bud is shipped inside the device, in a hidden slot.

Once you find this bud and connect it to any USB port on your computer, I hope you’ll find your mouse or keyboard has come to life!