Back in the day, the mouse had three buttons. A scroll wheel and 2 buttons for left and right click. Now, they have a button for everything it seems. Despite this, many users face an issue where they can’t click on anything on their Windows 10/11 desktop or open apps. Some common causes may include bugs, faulty drivers, and conflicting apps or accessories.
Table of Contents
Before You Begin
These are common solutions that you can and should try before moving on to more advanced troubleshooting steps.
- Someone close to you with access to your computer takes a screenshot of something and selects it as wallpaper. This can create an illusion. Set a new wallpaper if you suspect a prank.
- Reboot your Windows PC once.
- Check the keyboard and mouse USB cable. Try a different mouse with your PC or connect your mouse to another PC to eliminate the possibility of accessory-related issues.
- If you are using a Bluetooth mouse, check battery life or insert a new battery to make sure you are not out of juice.
- Also, make sure that the wireless mouse is connected to the PC via USB receiver or Bluetooth correctly.
If you are using a laptop, you can use the trackpad while figuring out and troubleshooting why you can’t click on your Windows computer. If you are using a desktop or even the trackpad is not working, here are some keyboard shortcuts.
- Tab – move to the next option/menu and Shift+Tab to move to the previous one
- Arrows – the four arrow keys are useful to navigate the menu, options, etc. in that direction
- Enter – select highlighted option
- Spacebar – tick the selected checkbox or select highlighted option
- Shift+F10 – simulate a right-click
Finally, you can turn your Android device into a temporary mouse and use that as a pointing device to get by.
1. Remove All Accessories
Do exactly what it says on the tin. Remove all third-party accessories like mouse, keyboard, writing pad, etc. Then reconnect your mouse and check if you can click somewhere. If yes, one of the accessories is resulting in a conflict.
2. Can’t Click in Specific App
Are you not able to click within a specific app like a game or a new browser? If you can click outside of that app, then that app is responsible. There could be a few reasons behind this.
Maybe the app is incompatible with the PC configuration that you are using. It is also possible that the app adds an overlay that can be navigated using a keyboard only, and hence, you can’t click using a mouse on your Windows 10/11 computer. Some gaming apps do this where they have an overlay to detect FPS, temperature, etc., or record your gameplay, for example.
You can also try relaunching or even reinstalling the app in question.
3. Restart Windows Explorer
Doing so will close all open apps on your Windows 10 and 11 computers. So be sure to save all open work.
1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Del on your keyboard to open the Task Manager. Under the Processes tab, right-click on Windows Explorer and select Restart.
This will take a few moments.
4. Run Troubleshooters
Every copy of Windows 10 and 11 OS comes with some default troubleshooter that helps users fix common problems such as the one you are facing where you can’t click on anything anywhere.
1. Press Windows+I to open Windows Settings. Search for Find and fix keyboard problems in the search bar on the left and click to open the same.
2. In the pop-up that follows, click on the Next button and follow the on-screen instructions. It will look for potential errors and try to fix them and let you know the results.
I know what you are thinking. I can’t click anywhere on my Windows computer using the mouse, then why is he recommending a keyboard troubleshooter? Because they are both input devices and are related and may help.
There is another one that we recommend. This one will look for issues in all hardware devices, however, Microsoft decided to make it harder to run.
1. Press Windows+S to open Windows Search and then search for CMD or Command Prompt. Click on Run as administrator option on the right to open the app with admin rights.
2. Copy and paste the command below and press Enter to execute Hardware and Devices troubleshooter.
msdt.exe -id DeviceDiagnostic
This command will run the troubleshooter.
3. In the pop-up that follows, click on Next and follow the on-screen instructions.
If you are still unable to click on anything anywhere on your Windows PC, continue reading.
5. Third-Party App Conflict
A third-party app may be responsible for the mouse acting erratically leading to missed clicks on your mouse. For example, I bought a gaming mouse once and it installed Logitech G Hub app. Then I bought another for work and that one installed Logitech Options. Now, fortunately, these two mice apps play well together but your case might be different.
Did you install any apps recently or changed mouse or even keyboard? Check for newly installed apps in Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall programs and sort results by date to find out.
6. Update/Rollback Drivers
Drivers are essentially what allows the Windows OS to communicate with hardware devices like mouse, keyboard, drives, etc. Like any other software component, they need to be updated and may cause errors of all sorts.
1. Press Windows+S to open the Windows Search. Search for the Device Manager and open it.
2. Double-click to expand Mice and other pointing devices. Here you should find your mouse model details. Right-click on the entry and select Update driver and follow the on-screen instructions.
3. A recent update to the driver may have broken functionality too. If that’s the case, click on Properties. In the pop-up menu that follows, under the Driver tab, you can Roll Back Driver which will remove recently installed driver updates.
If it is greyed out, the driver wasn’t recently updated.
Noticed Display adapters in the list? Some users found that it was not the mouse or the pointing device but the display adapter that was responsible for them not being able to click on-screen. See if updating the drivers or rolling them back helps.
7. Windows Update Issue
Try updating Windows to the latest version. These updates often contain patches for known bugs and also add new features. To update Windows:
1. Press Windows+I to open Windows Settings. Now click on Windows Update in the left sidebar and check for new updates in the right window-pane.
However, there is a flip side too. Sometimes, updating Windows to the latest version may break functionality. Yeah, I know. I just asked you to update. But if that doesn’t help, check recently installed updates to see if there is anything related to input devices. You can also search Google as these issues are frequently covered by Windows blogs and prominent tech sites.
The good news is that you can roll back updates too if you feel it is breaking functionality and causing the PC to not register mouse clicks.
1. Go back to Windows Settings > Windows Updates > Update history.
2. Here, you will see a list of all the updates recently installed. Scroll down to the bottom and select Uninstall updates.
3. Again, you will see a list of updates but this time, with Uninstall button on the right. Once you are sure which update was responsible for mouse click issue, uninstall that particular update.
4. Follow the on-screen prompts after that. You may have to reboot your computer once. Note that you may uninstall an update but eventually, they will be reinstalled sooner or later. Microsoft is usually quick at fixing bugs in subsequent updates.
8. Run SFC Scan
The SFC or System File Checker scan will look for corrupt or broken system files that are critical to the functioning of the Windows OS including accessories. It will then repair them.
1. Press Windows+S to open Windows Search and type CMD. Now open Command Prompt with administrator rights.
2. Copy-paste or type the command below and press Enter to execute it. Wait for the command to run its course. Then close CMD and check if you still can’t click on anything on Windows.
Is your mouse working fine now?
9. Clean Boot
Clean boot is not an app but a process that you can use to reboot Windows 10 or 11 with minimal apps and processes running in the background. Only the bare minimum where all 3rd-party apps are disabled. Helps in figuring out which app or process is responsible for the error. Microsoft has a detailed guide on how to do a clean boot.
10. Restore Point
Windows takes a backup of your entire system from time to time or when it detects some changes like a new update being installed or an app being uninstalled. If something breaks, you can restore your Windows OS to a point in time when everything was working as it should. No user data is deleted in the process. Neat, eh?
1. Press the Start button and type Create restore point and open it.
2. In the pop-up that follows, under the System Protection tab, click on System Restore. In the next pop-up, click on Next button.
3. You should now see a list of all the system restore points available with date and time. Choose the latest one and then click on Next to follow on-screen instructions.
Cannot Click on Anything on Windows
This is a weird issue. Not being able to click on anything anywhere within Windows OS leaves you unproductive. You can’t work and while keyboard shortcuts are well and good, you need a point-and-click device to be quick on your toes. If you think it is the left or right click mouse issue, we have a separate guide that you should read.