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To change mouse settings in XP for left-handed users: Click Start and click Control Panel. Double click the Mouse applet. Verify that the Buttons tab is selected. Select the Switch primary and secondary buttons option is selected. Click OK.
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the buttons on the side of a 5 button mouse are forward and back when looking at web pages. that's what mine does. try looking at a web page and click on a link as normal, make sure it doesn't open in a new window. when the new page opens the back arrow in your browser bar, normally top left or right, should be highlighted. if the back arrow is highlighted try clicking one of the side buttons and see what happens. one should take you back to the previous page, and the other will bring you back.
Similar problem which I resolved today. I have a hp wireless mouse model no. 5189URF. I bought this in hp online in April 2009. It needs 2 x AA Alkaline batteries. Steps I did to resolve. 1. Removed battery cover. 2. Removed batteries below which 2 screws exist. 3. Remove 2 screws and remove the top casing of mouse. 4. You can see 2 very small square push button corresponding to left and right clicks in mouse. 5. try to press the left button and make sure its free. The issue seem to be that this button becomes rusty internally and lost contact. Therefore clicks are not recognized. You may need to press it repeatedly and also with a slight thrust circumferentially. 6. You can test your mouse in WIndows Help & support option linked with HP hardware diagnostics tool.
Check if the mouse has been aligned for to be used by Left-Handed or RIght Handed people. If the settings are correct try reinstalling the drivers for the mouse. If that doesnt help either, try replacin the mouse and see if that helps.