At it’s simplest, a Windows mouse is a input device, usually with two keys and a ball in the bottom that inputs to the computer to allow you to move a cursor or select something that is being displayed on the monitor. A simple mouse like this is fully functional, usually very inexpensive and easy to find, though they do require periodic cleaning of the rollers that the ball moves on unless they are optical mice. Note that some mice have additional buttons, but this kind of mouse isn’t ‘simple’.
A little more advanced, though using the same principle, either plugged into the computer by a serial or USB cable, is the trackball mouse. A Trackball mouse, in addition to the features for the basic mouse, has a roller between the right and left buttons on the top, that will allow a person to scroll up and down without dragging the mouse up or down.
More advanced still is an infrared mouse. This mouse, both using a basic design and a trackball design, transmits signals via an infrared signal to the computer, which makes it wireless. This can have some great advantages, including the fact that it is highly portable. It also has a big disadvantage. Anything that will disrupt the infrared signal, such as overhead neon lights, can prevent the mouse from working properly.
Finally, there is the modern wireless optical mouse, which uses an amplifier to transmits the signal to the computer. This kind of mouse has the advantages of the infrared mouse, with very few of the disadvantages, since the signal isn’t as readily interrupted.
The good news is that with current technology, some of these mice are quite inexpensive, with the cost usually from just a few dollars to about $100. Different designs are also available, to either make the mouse fit the hand better, or to make it look “cute”. There are also mice that are specifically made for gamers, too. These are often substantially more expensive.
For most uses, a basic mouse will normally work quite well, so a person must simply decide just what they want from their mouse. It is very much a matter of want rather than need. It is recommended however, that whichever mouse you select, you also should have a basic mouse in reserve. The reason for this is that any mouse can fail and the more complex it is, the more likely it is for this to happen. By having a basic mouse, if the mouse stops working, it is a simple matter to plug the basic one in, restart the computer, then see if it works. Sometimes it isn’t even necessary to restart the computer. This can also help determine that the issue is indeed a mouse problem or not, as well as the fact that it will give you the means to potentially continue to use the computer until the mouse can be replaced.
Probably, the biggest tip for purchasing a mouse, besides having an idea of what kinds of mouse are on the market, is to get the mouse you want to get and that you are comfortable with. Working with computers can be intimidating and the more things that you can do to make it more comfortable, the better off you are likely to be.