XDA Basics: Will my mouse and keyboard work with Windows 11?

XDA Basics: Will my mouse and keyboard work with Windows 11?

Whenever a big new update comes around, it’s natural to have questions about what it means for you. That goes for Windows 11, too. Whether it’s apps or devices, you want to know that things are going to work after the update. After all, you spent money on those devices and so you expect to be able to use them. That’s all the more important when those devices are essential parts of your PC. If you’re concerned about whether you’ll be able to use your current mouse and keyboard with Windows 11, there’s no reason to worry. Peripherals like that will almost certainly continue working just as before.

As you may have seen, Windows 11 recently leaked online, and official preview builds are on coming soon. We’ve been testing the new OS for a few days now on different configurations and with different devices, and we haven’t run into any compatibility issues. Of course, our testing represents a tiny fraction of possible devices, so it’s hardly a guarantee. But there are two key reasons why you shouldn’t worry.

The mouse and keyboard rarely need special drivers

Whether a device works with your PC or not is usually dependent on the drivers available for that device and for specific Windows versions. That’s why, after a few years, old devices may no longer work with the latest versions of Windows. Similarly, new devices may not work with older versions of Windows. This can happen with accessories like printers, or even internal components like graphics cards or CPUs.

Mice and keyboards are generally different though. These input devices will almost always work with generic Windows drivers. The chances are, if you have a decade-old mouse or keyboard with you right now, it’ll work with Windows 11, provided your computer hardware has the ports for it.

If it doesn’t have those ports, a Thunderbolt dock might solve that for you. Any mouse or keyboard you plug into your USB ports will usually work out of the box, with all the buttons working as intended. Windows has a built-in set of drivers for basic devices like this, so you don’t need to worry.

Windows 11 Device Manager showing a generic driver being used for a USB mouse

Generic Windows driver being used for a USB mouse

If you have specialized devices like certain gaming keyboards or mice, the situation might be different. RGB lighting effects, macro buttons, and other shortcuts may require dedicated software to be configured. If that software is old, it may not work on newer versions. But that’s where the second point comes into play.

Windows 11 shares a lot with Windows 10

Windows 11 brings a lot of great changes, but they’re mostly positive ones. There’s a new design philosophy that permeates the most prominent elements of the UI. You’ll see rounded corners and floating menus in more places, new transparent materials, a centered taskbar, and more. There are also new features like support for Android apps and a better Microsoft Store. But none of those changes are breaking changes. Microsoft says that you can expect all of your devices that work with Windows 10 to also work with Windows 11. Similarly, apps and programs that work with Windows 10 are also expected to work just as before.

These things can change at any time, but driver and app compatibility hasn’t been an issue for most devices for a while now. Windows 10 has received numerous feature updates since its original release in 2015, but basically all the software that worked with that version still works with version 21H1. At the end of the day, Windows 11 is just another feature update for Windows 10. Unless Microsoft announces any breaking changes in the future, you can expect your mouse and keyboard to work as they do on Windows 10 or even Windows 7 or 8.1.

In conclusion, yes your mouse and keyboard will almost certainly be compatible with Windows 11 when it launches, especially if it already works on Windows 10. Windows provides basic drivers for these types of devices, so they will always at least be usable out of the box. If you have older versions of Windows, some custom software may not be compatible with newer versions, but if it works with Windows 10, it’ll work with Windows 11.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.