View Full Version : Wild Erratic Mouse Behaviour

04-20-2006, 08:47 AM
For a couple of years now, my computer has had a strange problem. This happens every few weeks, but occurs at random intervals, and is solved only by a hard reboot (power down cold reboot). It happens usually after an hour or so of use, but can happen only after only a couple of minutes of use. It may occur early in the morning after the box is cold from being off overnight, but may happen at the end of a day of use when the computer is warm. It usually follows periods of internet use, but may occur at other times.

The symptoms are: Mouse movement is suddenly accelerated (one cm movement produces a whole screen pointer movement) accompanied by random right clicks. Desktop context menus pop up at random locations unassociated with pointer position. It's as if the mouse ball and right click button wires were crossed. Right or left click buttons do not function however, nor is the keyboard active. I can sometimes, but usually not, do an alt-f4, or a control-alt-delete, but I usually do not have that option. If I do, that's as far as I can go.

Because some will ask, yes, I have replaced the mouse. The new mouse behaves the same way. It is a standard wired mouse. Because some will ask, the computer is a Pentium 166 desktop with 128 megs of memory running Windows 98SE. Another computer with similar configuration, running the same OS, has never had the problem.

Numerous Google searches have not turned up a solution. Any ideas?


04-20-2006, 09:02 AM
Any ideas?
Save up for a new computer?

Just kidding. While it is true that a new computer would solve the problem and would most like be what I would do after two years of a behavior you might try getting a new processor or adding memory. It is really the only thing I can think of off the top of my head. When I first started reading your post I thought perhaps it might be the video card but when you mentioned the keyboard sometimes gets locked out then that kind of ruled that out. I guess it could be possible that it is a problem with the mother board and in that case more then likely it would be cheaper to buy new then to try and replace it (if you could even find a replacement).

I assume you have virus protection and that you have kept it up to date. I have never heard of a virus that creates the symptoms you describe but it could be possible and sounds like the type of thing a virus would do. :)

04-20-2006, 09:30 AM
Well, yes, the first thing I thought of was a virus or other infection. I am reasonably sure all my software has that problem under control, though nobody is completely immune.

I should have mentioned that this problem has persisted beyond two complete reinstalls and hard drive replacements - rebuilds from scratch due to other problems. So I don't think it is a virus or other such - I have also not heard of a virus ever producing that kind of behaviour. The G-searches returned suggestions like "it's probably a virus" and "replace the mouse" so that's what I thought of first.

Sometimes obsure posts in obscure forums and usergroups have addressed this and other issues such as slow opening windows, which turned out to be a Sun Java runtime upgrade, in spite of some posters' insistence that this could have no effect, following the original poster's comment that the problem started after a Sun Java runtime upgrade.

A new computer is always an option. Still happy with this one, as it does everything I want, in spite of the (likely) motherboard problem. Monitoring my system resources, I appear to have plenty of overhead for the apps I use. Like my car, a 1987 Bronco II, I just don't feel the need to invest in new at this time. Yes, and of course, I am still on dialup, and don't have cable, although I do have a color television, and I did invest in a DVD player last year. :)

04-20-2006, 09:52 AM
Yea, I'd say that it's probably a motherboard problem. Given the availability of replacement parts from that era, you best bet probably is to buy a new computer.

Failing that . . .

1. Check the motherboard manufacturers website for bios updates.

2. Run a linux live CD and see if you have the same problem, if so, that's more evidence that it's a motherboard problem.

Wow, a 1987 Bronco II? Do you enjoy pain? :)

04-20-2006, 10:22 AM

The Linux on a CD idea sounds great. I probably won't do that, since I don't want to run the Linux for weeks until (maybe) a problem pops up (no pun intended). Bios upgrade. Now that's a thought... thank you!

As to the pain...

Before the Bronco II, I had a 1985 Ramcharger (full-size equivalent of the full-size Bronco). I considered the Bronco II an upgrade. It's smaller size is more suited to my needs, and the turning radius makes it as manuverable in a parking situation as a Volkswagen.

Yes, I read the Consumer Reports articles which showed four black circles for the breed, but I figured if I didn't abuse it, I wouldn't have those problems. So far, that's proven to be true. For Bronco II enthusiasts, it has the Mitsubishi tranny, with the extended fill tube, and is the fuel-injected V-6. Sweet.

You almost never see many on the road any more. When you do, they are either trashed, or pristine. Guess which mine is...


04-20-2006, 10:41 AM

You failed to mention what kind of mouse you're using. Is it serial, PS/2, or USB?

Assuming it's a serial mouse, and because you're using dial up and you said it generally happens during or after using the internet, it could possibly be an IRQ conflict between the modem and the port your mouse is connected to. Here's an old post (http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/win95/t1014044076) about a similar problem that should still be applicable to Win98.

Your hardware should be okay, and the RAM/CPU is sufficient for running Win98SE; even with a keyboard and mouse. ;) Even if the port were bad, you can always add more for a nominal cost.

04-20-2006, 12:25 PM

It's a PS/2 mouse. The "standard" on this system. I still have an older 486 machine, Win3.1, with serial mouse, so I know what you are talking about.

I suspected a conflict, however no conflicts are listed in the device manager. The modem is a standard 56k V90 in its own slot. The modem uses 01 and the mouse 12 interrupt request.

Thanks for the link to annoyances.org - I have used their advice often, as I have that on aumha.org.

Thanks for keeping me on my toes.