Over the past few years, many people have begun working from home who hadn't previously done so. Because of this, IT departments and management are looking for ways to keep track of people's activity on their computers. One way that some companies do this is by checking to see if the computer has gone idle. But, an idle computer does not mean that the person is inactive. They might be on a call. They might be taking notes from a meeting. They might simply have had to use the bathroom. To combat this, people have become interested in mouse jigglers.
Mouse jigglers are generally devices that plug into a computer's USB port and produce small, random movements - enough to keep the cursor moving. This prevents computers from registering as idle and keeps people's activity trackable.
Using a mouse jiggler ensures that your computer never goes idle, so you can make sure that your activity is recorded accurately throughout the day. It's an ideal tool for remote workers, freelancers, and anyone who needs to make sure they meet their daily activity goals. With a mouse jiggler, you can be confident that your productivity levels won't suffer because of an idle computer.
However, there are other reasons why you might need one of these tools. For example, if you are running a benchmark test or a better test, you need to keep the computer on and in a particular state. On some systems it is easy to make these changes, but on others it can be more of a challenge. As such, this would be a guaranteed way to keep the system on.
This can also be helpful if you are using dual computers and you need to keep the one you're not actively working on awake without changing power settings. For example, developers working on cross-platform technologies like Xamarin or MAUI might need to trick the build Mac into staying awake.
There are three distinct types of mouse jigglers. The first type is software-based. Simply run a small application on your computer and it will automate the process of moving the mouse pointer. This is a simple and inexpensive way to go. The most common application is Mouse Jiggler which requires no installation. However, if you are unable to run external software on your computer, this one is not going to work for you.
The second type is a hardware jiggler. This type come in wired and wireless models, and some have an adjustable sensitivity setting so you can customize the amount of random movement it produces. They are also relatively small and portable, making them easy to transport in a briefcase or backpack. Because they register with the computer as a mouse, it is unlikely that your computer will block it, so it is likely a solid option for most. However, because it is a hardware product drawing power from the computer, it can affect battery life.
The third type is a hardware plate. This looks like a raised mousepad and will physically move your existing mouse. This one is a little over the top for purchasing, but can easily be made at home using a Raspberry Pi and some simple hardware. So, for the makers out there, this one might be your go-to.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.