Two Mice Installed At Once

Fred, I have a Logitech Trackman Marble Wheel which I use for day-to-day work but when I do graphics work it’s not as sensitive as I need it to be. Is it possible to use two different pointing devices (mice) without unplugging one to plug in the other? —Riley Schropshier

Normally, you should be able to use both your trackball and another input device, such as a mouse— or two mice— at the same time, assuming you’re using Windows XP and USB peripherals (it may take some fiddling under Linux: ). Just plug them in and they should both work fine. Whenever this doesn’t work, it’s usually because the pointing device installation or your PC manufacturer, installs a proprietary mouse driver that prevents dual input device use.

Although rare, the use of both a general-purpose input device and a specialized one, plugged in at the same time for quick access, is probably a good idea. For most users, mice are generally better for everyday use, but trackballs or more exotic input devices can be great for specific types of work.

I assume you’re happy, however, using the trackball for normal, daily PC use, and are considering a more sensitive input device for graphics work. In that case, you might consider a second device more specialized than a standard mouse. Professional photo editors, artists, graphic designers and even architects often use graphics tablets— input devices with a flat surface and stylus— for maximum control. Wacom is the industry leader, but there are other vendors (see ) out there as well.


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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.