Mouse hardware for Mouse Mischief

Summary

This article discusses mouse hardware that is suitable for use when playing multiple-mouse presentations using the PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 add-in, Mouse Mischief.

The Mouse Mischief add-in supports students working simultaneously, each with his or her own mouse, on multiple-mouse slides in a PowerPoint presentation. Many types of mice will work successfully with Mouse Mischief, but there are limitations to the types and number of mice that will provide optimum performance. The computer hardware also limits how many mice can function without reduced performance.

More Information

Mouse Types

Mouse Mischief recognizes the following devices as mice.

Mouse TypeSupport Detail
Wired USB miceBoth USB version 2.0 wired mice and USB version 1.1 wired mice can work with Mouse Mischief, but USB version 1.1 mice must be connected to the USB port by a fairly short cable. The cable length can limit the usefulness of a USB 1.1 mouse in a classroom layout; however, it can work well in a small group layout that accommodates 4-5 students.
Wireless miceWireless mice that operate on a frequency of 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) work well with Mouse Mischief, but wireless mice that operate on 27 megahertz (MHz) do not. Packaging and specifications of 2.4 GHz wireless mice usually state the operating frequency. If the specifications for a mouse do not state the operating frequency, assume the mouse is a 27 MHz mouse.
PS/2 micePS/2 mice work with Mouse Mischief, but computers typically cannot support more than one PS/2 mouse.
Laptop touchpadA laptop touchpad can also work with Mouse Mischief, and may in fact be the source of an extra mouse pointer that remains on the screen after all students have joined a presentation.

Connecting Multiple Mice to a Computer

Multiple mice can be connected to a single computer by using a USB hub. Powered USB hubs are recommended for Mouse Mischief, but an unpowered hub may be sufficient for small groups using five or fewer mice.

A powered USB hub, because it has its own power supply, can support more USB devices than an unpowered hub. The power available from each port on a powered USB hub may vary depending on the model, so you need to consult the specifications for the powered USB hub to determine how many devices you can connect to it. Generally, you can safely connect a powered hub to the computer, and then connect an unpowered hub to the powered hub.

Do not daisy chain unpowered USB hubs. Chaining unpowered USB hubs can cause more power to be drawn through a hub than the hub can safely provide, which can cause the USB hub to stop working and even damage it.

A standard USB port on a computer typically provides 500 milliamps (mA) of current and 5 volts for a total of 2.5 watts of power. If you connect an unpowered USB hub to that port, the current is split across the ports in the USB hub. Many wired USB mice draw approximately 100 mA (wireless mice typically draw less), but some mice draw more, so you need to look at the power requirements of each mouse to determine how many mice you can connect to a specific USB hub without damage or impacting performance.

Number of Mice Supported

The number of mice that a computer can support (independent of power requirements) depends on the computer hardware. Processor type, processor speed, memory, graphics device, and operating system all influence overall performance. Because there are so many different computers and components, you really won’t know exactly how many mice you can connect until you experiment with the computer you have. The following simplified guidelines provide an approximate basis for determining what a specific computer system will support.

Recommended system requirements

Recommended system requirements should support approximately 25 mice.

Operating SystemWindows 7 or Windows Vista
Processor1 GHz, dual-core, quad-core, or more
Memory (RAM)1 gigabyte (GB) (x86-based) or 2 GB (x64-based)
Display device (monitor or projector)Set to 1024 × 768 or higher
Graphics deviceDirectX 9 with WDDM 1.0 or later driver
Presentation softwarePowerPoint 2010 or PowerPoint 2007

Important: PowerPoint 2010 must not be installed using Click-to-Run. Mouse Mischief does not work with Click-to-Run installations.

Minimum system requirements

Minimum system requirements should support approximately 5 mice.

Operating systemWindows XP SP3
Processor1 GHz
Memory (RAM)1 GB
Display device (monitor or projector) resolution800 × 600
Presentation softwarePowerPoint 2010 or PowerPoint 2007

Important: PowerPoint 2010 must not be installed using Click-to-Run. Mouse Mischief does not work with Click-to-Run installations.

Other Considerations

If you have a shortage of mice, the teacher role, which includes the use of the presentation controls, can be accessed from the keyboard. The teacher can perform every teacher action by using a keyboard as when using a mouse, except to draw on a Drawing slide. For information about how to use the keyboard to perform the teacher’s role, see the topic “Accessibility Features” in Mouse Mischief online Help.

Mouse Mischief will sometimes recognize a wireless keyboard or a laptop trackpad as a mouse. If more mouse pointers appear on the screen at the beginning of a multiple-mouse presentation than there are student mice, a wireless keyboard or laptop trackpad might be the source.

If the computer has USB version 1.1 ports, a USB 2.0 mouse will provide only USB 1.1 performance.

When you connect a large number of mice to a computer, be prepared to provide time while the driver software for the mice and the USB hubs is installed. The time required for driver installation can be especially long if several different models of mice and USB hubs are connected to the computer. Plan for the delay by setting up the computer, display device, USB hubs, and mice before the class begins.
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