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Is there a way to connect the 1983 Microsoft "Green-eyed" mouse to a modern PC or preferably Mac (running Windows on virtual machine)?

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    Are you after actual functionality from an original mouse, or a form that simply looks like the original mouse? The latter might be achievable by 3d printing a top-cover and some buttons to match the lower plate from a modern mouse. – Criggie Jun 24 at 11:39
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Is there a way to connect the 1983 Microsoft "Green-eyed" mouse to a modern PC or preferably Mac (running Windows on virtual machine)?

That depends a lot on the type of green-eyed mouse and OS to use it with (or not).

  • If it's a bus mouse (DB9 or mini-DIN connector (*1)): No - as that would need a way to plug in the controller card (*2), which was only available as 8 bit PC card (*3).

  • If it's a serial mouse (25 pin connector): Possibly Yes - as any USB/serial interface might be used to connect (eventually using a 25 to 9 dongle) (*4).

The 'yes' part depends on your ability to find a certified mouse driver for up-to-date Windows, as the serial driver is no longer supplied by default. There seem to be some on the net (like here and here), but I couldn't find any source on an MS site. I'd rather be careful when installing drivers from unknown sources.


*1 - Though the mini-DIN version no longer had green eyes, but greyish-brown ones.

*2 - Well, there are some ways to add an ISA slot via USB, but you'd still need to write your own custom drivers.

*3 - Janka presented a great idea if you're willing to do some hardware: The Bus-Mouse simply hands over the movement in quadrature encoding (see this PC Magazine article about principle of operation and the mini-DIN pinout). So get yourself a more modern, but still ball-based, mouse of the PS/2 or USB kind, rip out the electronics and add a plug to connect the appropriate signals of your bus mouse to the modern controller.

In addition, MS also offered some years later, the dove-bar mouse: a bus-mouse (mini-DIN only) to serial interface in form of a candy-bar like device.

And then there's always the possibility to go full hardware development and use some USB device carrying a micro-controller as translator. Atmel offers for their 32U4 series an example HID driver which needs just some tweaking.

All of these hacks can also be used to connect almost any old quadrature-encoding-based mouse to a modern PC - like Amiga or Atari :))

*4 - That is, if the PC doesn't have any built-in serial ports.

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    The bus mouse had quadrature outputs. One could tear apart a "modern" ball mouse and hook those outputs to the quadrature inputs of the modern mouse chip. – Janka Jun 23 at 23:15
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    @Janka Jau, that would be a nice hardware hack. I like the idea. Ofc, this would need the innards of an as well aged ball mouse (still to be found on fleamarkets and thrift stores), as all in one optical chips no longer have them. Or do they? – Raffzahn Jun 23 at 23:19
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    @Raffzahn yeah optical mouses principle is quite different both LASER and old LED are even different to each other so there is no hope for QUADRATURE input on those... Still USB MCU can be used for decoding in the same way ... there are quite a lot of MCU boards with USB that can be used for this .... Hooking up the 2 Quadrature nputs as a source of Interrupt and writing the IRC decoding routine + USB sending by HID class ... there might be some AVR example of exactly this out there too. I hate Arduino but the Arduine nano could fit into mouse directly ... – Spektre Jun 24 at 8:20
  • @Spektre yes they (Atmel) do - in fact, I just added that info myself. I already used it with a Bayduino to hook up an Atari mouse to a PC :)) Oh, and yes, I hate the Arduino - or more exact the Arduino hype as well. – Raffzahn Jun 24 at 8:33
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    If it is a serial version, you could create a user-mode “Driver” (well just a translator). You are using an existing serial to usb driver, read the serial-port, and translate the protocol to what ever new mice use, send this to a vertical serial device, and configure the windowing system to use this new serial device (all mice are, still, serial devices). I know I could do this is Gnu/Linux, but have no idea if it is possible in Microsoft's Windows. – ctrl-alt-delor Jun 27 at 9:50
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It it is a serial version, you could create a user-mode “Driver” (well just a translator).

Use a serial to usb device, read the serial-port, translate the protocol to what ever new mice use, send this to a vertical serial device, and configure the windowing system to use this new serial device (all mice are, still, serial devices).

This is working at a higher level of abstraction than some of the hardware hack suggestions: at the “up a bit, down a bit, left a bit, fire” level. It can be done in pure software, or in an Arduino/Raspberry-pi mid-cable device.

I know I could do this is Gnu/Linux, but have no idea if it is possible in Microsoft's Windows.

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    No need to do so in Windows, as the data format is still understood by the MS supplied drivers - and USB provided serial ports are presented exactly like standard serial to device drivers. – Raffzahn Jun 27 at 11:50
  • @Raffzahn so you can just plug it in. Have they made it easier? Last time I used a USB serial port, the instructions for MS-Windows were about 3 pages (just to get the serial port up). For Gnu/Linux and MacOS-X it was “Plug it in, it will appear as device …”. – ctrl-alt-delor Jun 27 at 13:18
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    That's the way it works on Win since quite some time. Plug and one more serial port shows up. No big deal. Works that way at least since 10 years. Looks like one of these cases where it's assumed the 'other' side never updates ... like Win-Lovers see Linux still as command line thingy with some wacky ugly looking UI cludge on top requiring to enter cryptic commands even for the most basic things. Isn't it? – Raffzahn Jun 27 at 13:27
  • Command line is an option, for when you want to expend less effort, at the expense of having to learn. And yes it is true that Unix is an OS with the windowing system added as an after thought. And MS is a windowing system with the OS added as an after thought. – ctrl-alt-delor Jun 27 at 13:40
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    I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt. But as you are accusing me of playing “My OS is better than yours”, when you started it. I decided to plug a USB serial cable into Windows 7. The result — USB serial controller: no driver found. – ctrl-alt-delor Jun 27 at 14:45

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