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IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0
Microsoft IntelliMouse with IntelliEye optical sensor mouse

IntelliMouse is a series of computer mice from Microsoft. The IntelliMouse series is credited with a number of innovations;[1] Microsoft was among the first mouse vendors to introduce a scroll wheel,[2] an optical mouse, and dedicated auxiliary buttons on the side of the mouse. They use IntelliPoint drivers and its main competitor through the years has been Logitech.


The original IntelliMouse was introduced on July 22, 1996, with its stand-out feature being a scroll wheel.[3] Its design was based on that of the Microsoft Mouse 2.0 from 1993.

In November 1997 Microsoft released the IntelliMouse TrackBall, using a finger-operated trackball to control the cursor and featuring the signature IntelliMouse scroll wheel.[4] In May 1998 the IntelliMouse Pro was released, a redesign of the original IntelliMouse that featured an asymmetrical shape (intended for right-hand use) with a more pronounced arch profile.[5]

The IntelliMouse Explorer was introduced on April 19, 1999, at COMDEX. This version featured IntelliEye optical tracking technology, eliminating the need for a mouse ball or mousepad.[6] It had five buttons (two on top, a scroll wheel that could be depressed, and two on the left side of the mouse).[6][7] It was asymmetrical and designed for right-handed users.[7] Microsoft called it the "most radical computer mouse technology and design advancement" since computer mice were introduced in the 1960s.[6] The Explorer was finished in silver, and featured a glowing red "taillight" to emphasize its optical sensor.[8] In May, the IntelliMouse Explorer was exhibited at E3 1999, touting the benefits of its optical sensor for accuracy and reliability.[9] It was released on October 4, 1999.[10] In 2005, PC World named the IntelliMouse Explorer to its list of "The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years" as the first mainstream optical mouse.[11]

The IntelliMouse Optical was announced in January 2000 ahead of its April release. The IntelliMouse Optical had similar styling and features as the 1999 IntelliMouse Explorer, but used a symmetric, ambidextrous design to accommodate use by the left hand.[12] It had five buttons – two on top, the scroll wheel, and one on each side of the mouse.[7] The optical sensor and the plug-and-play USB connection led Microsoft to tout the IntelliMouse Optical as an ideal travel companion for laptop users.[13] The IntelliMouse Optical received an Industrial Design Excellence Award in 2001, and was included in the "Workspheres" exhibit held at the New York MoMA in 2001.[14]

New versions of the IntelliMouse Explorer and Optical were introduced in September 2001 alongside the first wireless variant, the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer.[15] While the original IntelliEye sensor sampled images at 1500 frames per second (fps),[6] the new version sampled images at 6000 fps. In addition, finger grooves and an enhanced grip were added to the new IntelliMouse Explorer.[15]

The Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth was released in 2002, both as a separate product and with a wireless keyboard in the Wireless Optical Desktop for Bluetooth bundle.[16] Updated versions of the IntelliMouse Explorer and Wireless Explorer were released in September 2003, featuring a tilting scroll wheel to enable horizontal scrolling; the new mice were also available in a variety of colors.[17] Two additional finishes, Cobalt Basin and Crimson Fire, were released for the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer in July 2004.[18] The IntelliMouse Explorer was later discontinued, then re-released as the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 in August 2006 with a gaming emphasis, using a 9000 fps sensor.[19][20]

On October 17, 2017, Microsoft revived the series with the new Classic IntelliMouse, featuring a new dark look based on the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 design and featuring BlueTrack technology, allowing it to be used on glass surfaces.[21][22] The Classic IntelliMouse was released in June 2018 in the UK.[23] The ergonomic shape of the IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 influenced many later mice, particularly gaming-focused models. The Razer DeathAdder, SteelSeries Rival, ZOWIE EC2-A and many others.

In May 2019, Microsoft announced the Pro IntelliMouse, which put an upgraded sensor in the Classic IntelliMouse body.[24]

Microsoft IntelliMouse-branded pointing devices
Name Image Intro. Disc. Buttons Optical USB Serial Notes Refs.
IntelliMouse 1996 3 opt.[a] opt.[b] PS/2 or 9-pin First use of the IntelliMouse brand [27]
IntelliMouse Trackball 1997 2002 3 No No PS/2 or 9-pin Only IntelliMouse-branded trackball [28]
IntelliMouse Pro 1998 2001 3 No No PS/2 or 9-pin Intended to improve ergonomics with a refined shape and rubber side grips. [29]
IntelliMouse Explorer 1999 5 Yes Yes PS/2 Adds two left side buttons (for right hand thumb). Upgraded from 1500 to 6000 fps sensor in 2001. [30][31]
IntelliMouse Optical 2000 5 Yes Yes PS/2 Two side buttons, one on each side (ambidextrous). Upgraded from 1500 to 6000 fps sensor in 2001. [32][33]
Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer 2001 5 Yes Yes No 6000 fps sensor; automatically adjusts illumination based on surface. Bluetooth version added in 2002. [34][35]
IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 2006 5 Yes Yes No Re-release of the IntelliMouse Explorer branded as "3.0" with a 9000 fps sensor [19][20]
Classic IntelliMouse 2017 5 Yes Yes No 1000 reports/second, up to 3200 DPI. [36]
Pro IntelliMouse 2019 5 Yes Yes No 16000 DPI maximum; PixArt PASW3389PRO-MS sensor. [37]
  1. ^ A version with IntelliEye was later released.[25]
  2. ^ A dedicated USB version was later released.[26]



  1. ^ Miller, Paul (July 18, 2012). "Status Symbols: Microsoft IntelliMouse". The Verge. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  2. ^ Note however: "Mouse Systems ProAgio Scroll Mouse". oldmouse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-15. In 1995 Mouse Systems, owned by KYE since 1990, produced the world's first mouse with a scroll wheel. It sold as Mouse Systems ProAgio and Genius EasyScroll under Kye. [...] Microsoft seized the idea and marketed the concept as part of their IntelliMouse® in 1996.
  3. ^ "Microsoft announces Microsoft IntelliMouse" (Press release). Microsoft. 22 July 1996. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Microsoft Announces Availability of IntelliMouse TrackBall" (Press release). Microsoft. November 14, 1997. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Microsoft unveils Its Most Full-Featured Mouse Ever; Wheel-Equipped IntelliMouse Pro Offers Outstanding Comfort" (Press release). Microsoft. May 28, 1998. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d "Microsoft's Sleek New IntelliMouse Explorer and IntelliEye Technology Toss Out the Mouse Ball Today at COMDEX" (Press release). Microsoft. 19 April 1999. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b c Waring, Becky (30 March 2000). "Microsoft builds a magical mouse / new buttons, scroll wheel and no gummy ball". SFGate. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Microsoft Unveils Sleek, Innovative New Mouse" (Press release). Microsoft. April 19, 1999. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Microsoft SideWinder Devices Make PC Games More Fun" (Press release). Microsoft. May 10, 1999. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Microsoft announces availability of IntelliMouse Explorer" (Press release). Microsoft. 4 October 1999. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  11. ^ Tynan, Dan (December 24, 2005). "The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years". PC World. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Microsoft Lends a Hand to Lefties With Launch of First Ambidextrous Optical Mouse" (Press release). Microsoft. January 6, 2000. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical Helps Boost Productivity for Laptop Users" (Press release). Microsoft. April 3, 2000. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  14. ^ "Design Industry Leaders Honor the Art Behind Microsoft Hardware Designs" (Press release). Microsoft. October 29, 2001. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  15. ^ a b "New Microsoft Mouse Family Unleashes Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer" (Press release). Microsoft. September 25, 2001. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  16. ^ "Microsoft Makes History, Delivers Unprecedented Wireless Freedom With New Desktop Hardware Solution for Bluetooth" (Press release). Microsoft. October 15, 2002. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  17. ^ "Microsoft Hardware Puts New Spin on Innovation" (Press release). Microsoft. September 3, 2003. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Microsoft and Philippe Starck Unite to Create Performance Art" (Press release). Microsoft. July 8, 2004. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Microsoft on Top of Its Game With Launch of Exciting New Gaming Peripherals" (Press release). Microsoft. August 22, 2006. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  20. ^ a b jatkinson (September 22, 2006). "The Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0–Review". ExtremeTech. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  21. ^ Warren, Tom (October 17, 2017). "Microsoft is bringing the IntelliMouse Explorer back". The Verge. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  22. ^ Lopez, Napier (October 27, 2017). "Microsoft is selling the IntelliMouse Explorer again, but screws up the sensor choice". The Next Web. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  23. ^ "Iconic mouse that changed how we use the internet is relaunched by Microsoft" (Press release). Microsoft UK. June 29, 2018. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  24. ^ Lovelin, Eric (May 28, 2019). "Announcing the Microsoft Pro Intellimouse" (Press release). Microsoft | Windows Blogs. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse with IntelliEye". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 5 June 2001. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse (USB compatible)". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 24 April 1999.
  27. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 20 January 1998.
  28. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse Trackball". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 20 January 1998.
  29. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse Pro". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 17 April 1999.
  30. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 8 April 2000.
  31. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 21 February 2002. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  32. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 10 May 2000.
  33. ^ "Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 14 December 2001. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  34. ^ "Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Optical". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 8 October 2001. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  35. ^ "Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Optical for Bluetooth". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 22 December 2002. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  36. ^ "Microsoft Classic Intellimouse". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 19 October 2017.
  37. ^ "Microsoft Pro IntelliMouse". Microsoft. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019.