Mouse and WD My Passport Ultra-Conflict

Hi to all
This is my first thread so I hope I have chosen the right place to post.
At Xmas, I bought a new MyPassport Ultra 1TB external HDD with USB connection.
Since a few days after Xmas, I have plugged it in and have tried to update drivers/software etc but I have been unable to control the mouse - Microsoft Wireless Mouse 4000 model No1383 - which connects via USB.
I have researched this problem which does not appear to be very common. There is 1 thread within this forum - dated Feb 2013.

In addition I was able to find 1 discussion concerning this issue - date April 2013 -

Both the above are close to my problem. So far I have tried connecting the HDD and Mouse to the different USB2 and USB3 ports available to me, but the problem still exists every time I connect the HDD.

I was hoping to find a solution within the forum, but as yet not found one - even the first reference quoted above has nothing that helps.
I have another identical mouse I use with my laptop and tried that on the PC but had the same result.
When I plug the HDD into the laptop I have the same problem.

There appears at this time to be two solutions - wrap the hdd in tin foil[keep it warm] which freezes the mouse completely or buy a standard single jack-plug mouse - yet to try.

So I have a £60 piece of hardware that I am unable to setup and if I do I am not able to use it as a portable devise with my laptop.


The problem is actually more common than you think, and it’s not specific to WD.

USB 3.0’s frequency spectrum across the interface generates EM interference in the 2.4GHz wireless band.

If your mouse is using 2.4G GHz frequencies (bluetooth, etc) it can certainly be an issue.

One thing to try in the short term is to use a USB2 port or cable instead of USB3 port for the drive.

Hi Tony
Thank you for the reply - I had read similar to the Intel link you provided[copy and paste job from this article] but alas I dont fully get the technical details.
However, I am not sure if the mouse is Bluetooth - it is connected via a small ‘dongle’ to a front panel USB - not that sure if it is USB2 or 3.
However, the back panel does have further USBs - 2 USB3 and 4 USB2 - would have to check the MB layout diagram to make sure. But I have tried moving the HDD and the mouse from back to front panels keeping the two bits of hardware seperated as much as I can. I will try again.
At the moment I have uninstalled all the software for the HDD in order to do a fresh install.
I am not too sure what you mean by ‘in the short term’ - do you mean get an extension cable for the HDD to keep it well away from the computer?
It has been recently suggested elsewhere, that I get a cheap cable type connected mouse.

Cable length doesn’t seem to make much difference from what I’ve read – the major interference “leakage” is at the ports themselves. So if the primary leak is at the drive, yeah, a longer cable could help, but if it’s at the laptop, then it won’t.

The mouse doesn’t have to be bluetooth per se – it could be affected if it’s any form of 2.4GHz wireless (what’s known as the ISM band).

As a starting point, which way round might you suggest to connect the mouse and HDD and to which type of USB, that would provide the most likely working result?

I suppose I was lucky that my computer, which is two months old, at least recognised the HDD as soon as I plugged it in. From then on, things went downhill very quickly. There are 2 USB3 & 4 USB4 on the back panel. The diag is not clear as to what the 2 front panel USBs are. The directions only mention that they are connected to the MB - the USB3 to the 20-1 pin and the USB2 to the 10-1 pin.

Hi Tony
I have at last found a suitable set-up - which USB to use for the mouse and which for the HDD.
I found that the HDD was best plugged to a rear USB 2 input on the rear of the case. Plugging the mouse into any of the other USBs on the back panel, did not work. Strange as it may seem only 2 of the 4 USB 2 worked and that was with the mouse wireless dongle attached to one of the two USB front panel inputs.
I have had the HDD connected for some hours now and have had not mouse movement problems - still keeping fingers crossed.
Thanks for your help and the link you gave - a great help after I had some of the tech stuff ‘translated’.

Either that or get a USB extension cable for the mouse transmitter to move it out of the way. Or get a USB splitter. Plug one end into the USB2 port and the transmitter into the splitter end.or the extension end.

You’re just trying to get the transmitter away from the USB3 port from what I can see,

Hi gordo
Thanks for joining the thread. Yes - keeping both away from USB3 inputs seems to be the solution so I have not gone down the extension cable for the mouse - would have been the next choice as extending the HDD cable does not apparently work.
I also tried the foil method as per the Intel report - no good - and the HDD started to get warm as expected.
Plugging both into the back panel or front panel either produced a static mouse or one without any control.

I cannot begin to understand why Intel would suggest such a method. If you wrap metal foil around a hard drive you could short out the electronics on the printed circuit board.

I have heard all forms of crazy ideas regarding hard drives, like putting them in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator to revive the drive. That is absolutely crazy since frost will accumulate on the drive platters due to water vapour in the air and will most certainly crash the head.

If there is high frequency radiation leaking from the mouse transmitter to the USB3 port after a USB extension cable is installed, then you could wrap metal foil around the cable and connector near where it enters the USB2 port. Of course, metal foil by itself is no good, it must be connected to a good ground.

I tried all methods as per the Intel White Paper - if you have not seen/read it -

WD Support had no viable solution either. Trial and error seems the only solution.

I just read it and I am fully qualified electronics/computer tech. Their methods should work excepting the one using tin foil around a hard drive with an exposed printed circuit board…

Before I say more, the USB3 standard is very poorly thought out. They seem to be getting higher bandwidth the same way CAT 5 cable got it by fudging the technology.

USB3 technology is obviously trying to cram more data onto a base frequency that cannot support it by using modulation techniques that cause the interfering radiation patterns that affect cordless mice.

THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT. Anyone with basic electronics training would know that such interference would exist. It seems they went ahead with their scheme with the attitude that it’s too bad for people with cordless mice.

Intel is another matter. I have a high regard for Intel but that will no longer be the case if they come out with more absolutely stupid ideas such as urging people to wrap metallic foil around a hard drive. They have indicated that the foil is overlying electronics on the printed circuit board of the drive, inviting catastrophe.

There is no way an electronics tech worth his/her salt would bring metal foil anywhere near that electronics without ‘heavily’ insulating it first. Furthermore, the hard drive has breather holes and must radiate heat. Covering up those holes and preventing the escape of heat is courting hard drive failure.

About the methods. Number one solution is to use a corded mouse. Number two is the short extension cable plugged into the USB2 port adjacent to the USB3 port. With the mouse transmitter on the other end of the cable and close to the mouse, there should be no issues.

You could even build a small open-ended metal hood over the end of the cable end holding the mouse transmitter to allow it to transmit toward the mouse only. A hood built out of metal foil should work but it has to be grounded.

If the extension cable is shielded, you could cut away part of the insulation to reveal the shield and very carefully stick a sharp pin through the shield and into the foil. Be very careful not to damage the other conductors which run inside the shield.

Or, strip a half inch of insulation off a #24 gauge CAT5 or similar conductor and push under the cut in the outer insulator between the inner side of the insulation and the shield so it contacts the shield then strip an inch off the other end and wrap it around the foil.

Cheaper conductors use foil for a shield but better quality cable uses a wire mesh shield. In that case you could use a conductive epoxy to stick the conductor to the shield.

If the hood is grounded it will prevent radiation from the USB3 setup from reaching the mouse transmitter. Hopefully, the mouse receiver is more influenced by the proximity of it’s receiver than it is by USB3 interference.

Number 3 solution is the tin foil around the USB3 cable end where it mates with the USB3 connector. Be aware, as Intel has pointed out, that a wire is required from that foil to a good ground on the laptop or to the ground in the cable as described above. Also, a grounded USB3 cable is required.

Note: foil by itself is not a good insulator against EM interference. The foil must be grounded.

With regard to shielding the USB3 connector using tin foil, older do-it-yourself serial port connectors used a metal shield over the plug. Maybe there is such a metal covered shield for USB3 cables, or cables that come with them supplied and grounded.

There are kits for painting a conductive coating onto a device and the purpose is to prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI). It needs to be in contact with a ground, however.

DO NOT put tin foil around a hard drive. Locate the hard drive well away from the mouse transmitter and ignore the recommended length for a USB3 cable. Those recommendations for length are ballpark figures. Use as long a cable as you need to get the external drive far enough away so the mouse works and the hard drive shows no data errors.

Just use a high quality cable.

What Intel is claiming will void your warranty if you remove the hard drive from its case and put tin foil around it. It’s a very stupid suggestion.

You could sit the external drive inside a metal cage with plenty of ventilation provided the metal cage was connected to a good ground. A cage made of metal mesh should work if it is grounded.

It’s called a Faraday shield and it’s why lightning won’t get you in a lightning storm if you’re inside the metal body of a car. People are advised to stay away from glass windows in homes during lightning but the windshield on a vehicle is laminated and much thicker.

What you say is very interesting - but what a performance?
Re the solution regarding a corded mouse - I had considered this option and had looked at getting a simple old style roller-ball mouse - not easy to find these days - or even a PS/2 type optical, but most cabled/wired mouse are USB connected-not known if USB2 or USB3 as it is not indicated.
I can understand that the PS/2 connected mouse may not suffer from the interference from my external HDD - but would a wired USB type mouse be effected? I am just considering these options should I find problems when I get round to setting up the HDD for the uses I want to put it to.
I do understand Faraday - thin metal mess shielding is used with the construction of modern aircraft to avoid damage by lightening strikes as more and more are constructed with carbon fibre and plastic and not metal.

The radiation from the USB3 port should have no effect on the corded mouse. The problem with the cordless mouse is in the reception between the mouse and its transmitter/receiver plugged into a USB2 port with which USB3 radiation interferes.

There’s nothing inside a corded mouse but an optical device for sensing it’s position and possibly a chip for sending that position info along the cord.

Thank you for confirming that and all your help.

I just move the drive to a port on the other side of my laptop. I’ve been dealing with this on and off for 18 months with my wireless keyboard and mouse. Thought it was a bug in the mouse/keyboard driver or some other software until I unplugged my passport and everything worked fine (just now). It never occurred to me it was interference. Thank you!