PXImouse is a program that is often ignored until someone accuses it of being an insidious virus or keylogger that tracks your movements and reports back to a faceless corporation.
In truth, PXImouse is a helpful tool that makes sure your mouse operates properly on a day to day basis if you have a mouse that uses a sensor manufactured by the company PixArt.
PXImouse runs on startup and runs in the background of the computer unless it has reason to actively consume the system resource.
What is PXImouse
PXImouse, related to other names such as TiltWheelMouse.exe and PixArt Mouse Commander, is a program installed on your computer. You may see this program if you open the Task Manager to take a look at what is running on your computer at any given time.
PXImouse is one of the drivers necessary for certain mice to function, and is often an executable file that installs and runs on its own when you plug a compatible device into your machine.
For the most part, you shouldn’t even notice that PXImouse is there unless you run into an issue with your mouse and you need to uninstall and reinstall the drivers for it to work properly again.
PXImouse is an executable file that offers driver support to mice with PixArt sensors, that is, sensor chip technology produced by PixArt Imaging Inc. and will usually install automatically when you plug in a mouse that requires it.
PXImouse can sometimes cause an issue if you have an old or obsolete version of the software installed on your computer, a file also known as TiltWheelMouse.exe. If your computer is running slowly or your mouse is not working properly, it could be due to an issue with these driver files. In some cases, TiltWheelMouse.exe when it is out of date can cause error messages such as:
- pximouse has stopped working. Windows is checking for a solution to the problem… (Windows Operating System versions 10, 8, and 7)
- pximouse has stopped working. A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available. (Windows Operating System versions 10, 8, and 7)
- TiltWheelMouse.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close. (Windows Operating System version XP)
- Access violation at address FFFFFFFF in module TiltWheelMouse.exe. Read of address 00000000.
Another problem you can encounter if TiltWheelMouse.exe is out of date, is that there are several malware programs that have found a way to hide by impersonating this executable file and hiding in your machine. By making sure the software versions are always up to date, you can mitigate the chance that an unauthorized program is running on your computer.
The possibility that a malicious program is hiding in these driver sets brings us to our next point, whether or not PXImouse is a virus.
Is PXImouse a virus?
No, PXImouse is not a virus. PXImouse is simply a driver that helps the functionality of some of the mice available on the market, particularly with regard to the side buttons and other expanded functions of the mouse beyond simple point and click applications from the optical sensor.
There have been some concerns that PXImouse is a virus or a keylogger, but this is not the case. These concerns stem from a similar program called TiltWheelMouse.exe, which, when it is a legitimate file, will live in the System folder on your computer.
There are cases of malware hiding itself in the computer by masquerading as TiltWheelMouse.exe unrelated to the pximouse process and it can present itself in different locations around the computer.
If you find an instance of TiltWheelMouse.exe that is not under the System folder on your C drive (your main hard drive) then you should take a careful look at it because it may not be related to pximouse.exe and furthermore could contain malware harmful to your computer.
If you are concerned about the executable files on your computer related to the pximouse service or the TiltWheelMouse.exe, you can upload the .exe file to a website that will scan it for malware and report to you if the file is safe or not.
Many websites exist that offer this feature, like virustotal.com and they offer this service for free because when a new virus is found, that information is used to create patches and updates for operating systems, helping to protect other people from falling victim to the same malware again.
PixArt Imaging Startup
If you are using a mouse that requires PXImouse, more than likely your computer will run this program on startup so that you have the ability to use your mouse when you are logging in and on every screen thereafter.
If you disable the PXImouse application and you have a mouse with a sensor by PixArt, then there is a chance you will also disable your mouse’s ability to function. This could be a total loss of mouse function or only a few features could be gone. If your mouse stops working because you have disabled this program, there are only a couple of options to fix it:
- Plug in a different mouse that does not require the PXImouse process in order to work, then re-enable and/or reinstall PXImouse on your computer so that you can use your original mouse again.
- Use keystrokes until you can get into your computer, then reinstall and/or re-enable PXImouse so that you can use your original mouse again.
I highly recommend taking the first option. Having the ability to point and click, particularly when it comes to installing software, is an incredible benefit. Using keystrokes is slow and inefficient, not to mention the fact that there are some things that do not lend themselves well to working with keystrokes such as navigating the Windows menus with any sort of alacrity.
It is much better to use one of the other mice that are inevitably hanging around in your house somewhere and try to find one that does not use a PixArt sensor (bonus points if you still have a rollerball mouse and a motherboard with a port you can connect it to) because then you can simply log in, get the program going again, and go back to using the mouse you had in the first place before you started playing around with settings.
Pixart Imaging and PXImouse
PixArt Imaging Inc. is a manufacturer of various kinds of optics including CMOS image sensors, capacitive touch controllers, and sensor chip designs. It is currently one of the biggest suppliers of optical mouse sensors for conventional and high-end mice for both general computer use and high end gaming.
One of the features of PixArt and their sensors is that they use proprietary algorithms. This, paired with their short design cycles, requires that the sensor interacts with software on the computer in order to ensure that everything is working properly and the mouse operates smoothly during every use.
PXImouse software running in the background of my computer
If it is installed on your computer, the PXIMouse process is one that will run in the background every time your computer turns on. It will consume varying levels of memory, particularly if it is trying to reach out and detect whether or not there is a PixArtmouse attached to the system for which it needs to provide driver support.
If you notice significant slowing on your computer, or you see that it is taking up extra system resources that could be diverted elsewhere make sure that you do, in fact, use a mouse that requires PXImouse in order to operate properly.
If you know you have stopped using a mouse that requires this driver and doesn’t want it consuming system resources, uninstall it, but remember that if your mouse does require PXImouse then you could seriously break its functionality by disabling the program.
PXImouse is not a malicious program that records your keystrokes, nor is it a virus. For someone who has never seen this program name and does not know its intended function, it is understandable that software with a strange name like pximouse.exe would cause some suspicion and spark the question of whether or not it belongs on your machine.
Rest assured that this driver support for PixArt optical sensors is nothing to worry about. If your computer is experiencing slowness or you happen to find an older version of the program called TiltWheelMouse.exe and it is not where it is supposed to be under the system folder, go ahead and upload the file to a free virus-scanner you can find on the web to check if some malware is faking its identity, just in case. If it is malicious, go ahead and uninstall the program with a clear conscience.