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I just added a USB mouse to my laptop which is running Ubuntu 9.10. However, the mouse isn't automaticaly detected.

Do you know how I can make my USB mouse usable on an Ubuntu machine?

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To clarify, did you add this mouse before booting Ubuntu?

If you added the mouse while running (Ubuntu) and while logged in, it is possible the X setup does not handle "hot-plug" support for the pointer device. Historically X11 didn't tend to, but I don't know if this has been changed in newer X server ( versions.

Also please confirm that the mouse is functioning and is recognized by the Linux kernel, by running lsusb.

Here is a sample output (with a mouse detected):

Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 03f0:0024 Hewlett-Packard KU-0316 Keyboard
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 001 Device 004: ID 046d:c018 Logitech, Inc. Optical Wheel Mouse
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

You can also view the X server's log (/var/log/Xorg.0.log) files to see if there are any errors or warnings about the Mouse device. Check for (EE) or (WW) and look at the end of the file for output such as:

(II) evaluating device (<default pointer>)
(II) evaluating device (<default keyboard>)
(II) <default pointer>: ps2EnableDataReporting: succeeded
(II) 3rd Button detected: disabling emulate3Button

At the very least, you may need to "Logout" of the current session and "Restart X server" from the login / welcome screen.

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In your computer BIOS, you may need to enable what I call the "USB Legacy Support". I don't know how it may be called on your own system, but I was having problems with some USB devices in the past, and once the option was enabled, I had no more problem.

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From memory, I believe "USB Legacy Support" has to do with HID support, (Human Interface Devices). I thought the more common issue was being able to use USB keyboards to interrupt or interact during the OS boot process (i.e. bootloaders and boot menus such as GRUB, Windows Boot Menu) before a USB-aware OS is fully loaded. X does identify the mouse as HID so, possibly could help, should be little downside. – mctylr Mar 30 '10 at 17:37

Strangely, I had the same issue and rebooting did not solve the problem. I am using a Toshiba Satelite A135-S4527 with a Microsoft USB mouse. I plugged it in to a different USB port and that solved the problem. Whatever works...

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