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Weird mouse behavior

  1. Apr 11, 2015 #1

    Fredrik

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    My laptop has been driving me nuts for the past 28 hours. Weird things are happening when I try to use the mouse. For example, when I've just logged in (Windows 7), the mouse is always in one of these two modes:

    1. Mouse actions work on the desktop, but not on the taskbar.
    2. Mouse actions work on the taskbar, but not on the desktop.

    I can occasionally switch from mode 1 to mode 2 by clicking on the taskbar, and I can occasionally switch from mode 2 to mode 1 by clicking on the desktop, but most of the time, I'm just unable to switch.

    Things get more weird if I open browser. Typically the mouse only works inside the tabs. I can open and close tabs. I can type things in an input field on the active tab (after I've clicked inside it). I can't type anything in the address bar. I can't do things like move or resize the window. The only way to close the window is to close all the tabs.

    Occasionally, the computer appears to be thinking that I'm trying to drag something somewhere, when I have only clicked on a button or icon once and then moved the mouse away. This has happened both in a browser and on the taskbar.

    In Firefox, some weird alternative scrolling feature is often activated even though I haven't done anything to make this happen. The location of the mouse pointer determines the direction and speed of the scrolling. For example, if I want to scroll down, I just hold the pointer below this thing
    annoying.png
    when it shows up. If I want to scroll faster, I just move the mouse pointer down a bit and leave it there. Of course, I don't want to use this feature at all. I have no idea why it's switched on.

    I have tried obvious things like "turning it off and then on again". I tried uninstalling the mouse drivers and rebooted.

    Around the time when this started, I was having difficulties pushing down the 7 key. I vacuumed the keyboard and it seemed to solve the problem. But I at least considered the possibility that my current problem is related to this one. I thought that maybe the computer thinks that a key is being held down constantly, and that this is interfering with the operation of the mouse. But I ran some testing software that tells me what key is being held down, and I didn't find anything odd.

    If I just unplug the mouse and then try to use the touchpad, it behaves equally weird. The only way I know to stop the weird behavior is to unplug the mouse and reboot. When I log in again (mouse still unplugged), the touchpad is behaving OK.

    I don't really expect anyone to be able to tell me what's wrong and how to fix it, but I figured I should at least ask.

    I don't have another mouse that I can try. Maybe I'll buy one tomorrow.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 11, 2015 #2

    robphy

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    Are your mouse and keyboard wired or wireless?

    What happens in safe mode?
    What happens when you boot up a live-linux CD?

    What happens if you are not connected to the internet?
     
  4. Apr 11, 2015 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Restart. Fixes an embarrassment of gremlins like this.
     
  5. Apr 11, 2015 #4

    robphy

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    Do all of your keys work reliably?
    If not, you might have a loose cable inside that needs to be reseated.
     
  6. Apr 12, 2015 #5

    Borg

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    This is called caret browsing - turn it off with the F7 key.

    The address bar problem could be due to an Add-On. See this article - https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1038193.

    For the rest, I would double check your mouse settings (Control Panel -> Mouse). It sounds like some of may have been reset.
    I would also look around in the Firefox advanced settings for any odd.
     
  7. Apr 12, 2015 #6

    Fredrik

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    It's a laptop, so I'm using the laptop's own keyboard. The mouse is wired. It's plugged in to one of the USB ports. I've been having some issues with USB ports on this computer before (never with this one though), so I tried to move the mouse to one of the others. It made no difference.

    I haven't tried safe mode yet. I'll try that now. Preparing a linux CD sounds like more work than just buying a new mouse.

    That was obviously the first thing I tried.

    They do. I downloaded some software to test them.

    The F7 tip may come in handy. I don't think an add-on is the issue. I have similar problems (or the same problem) in different browsers. It's more like the operating system (or something) divides all the stuff on the screen into areas, and only one area at a time can handle mouse actions. When I can click the tabs, I can't click on anything on the background or on the taskbar. When I can click on things on the taskbar, I can't click on anything in the browser window. I have checked the settings now, and they look fine to me.
     
  8. Apr 12, 2015 #7

    Borg

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    Could you list your OS and browser versions?
     
  9. Apr 12, 2015 #8

    Borg

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    Another place that I would check is Control Panel -> Ease of Access Center. Some of those features can get turned on when certain keys are held for a long time. Make sure that the ones related to mouse actions are turned off.
     
  10. Apr 12, 2015 #9

    Fredrik

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    Windows 7 Home Premium, Service Pack 1, 64-bit version.

    Firefox 37.0.1 (this is the one I use)
    Chrome 41.0.2272.118 m (wow, I thought Firefox's version number was ridiculous)

    I haven't tried using Internet Explorer when the mouse is acting up. Note that the erratic behavior starts as soon as the operating system has been booted, before I have even had time to start a browser.

    I had a quick look at the ease of access settings. I don't see anything odd there. I doubt that this is something as simple as a setting that has been set to a non-default value. For example, the caret browsing feature isn't just "on". It seems to get switched on at random. Same thing with the ClickLock feature (drag without holding down the mouse button). It's off in the configuration, but sometimes the computer is acting as if it thinks I want to drag the thing I just clicked.

    Since I've been having so many hardware problems with this laptop (the wireless card is dead, the USB ports don't always recognize my memory sticks, the audio system is malfunctioning), I'm thinking that this may be a hardware issue too.
     
  11. Apr 12, 2015 #10

    Borg

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    I'm not as familiar with hardware issues but if you're having that many issues, I would think that the motherboard was failing. :oldfrown:
     
  12. Apr 12, 2015 #11
    If everything seems OK other than when using the mouse, maybe you could just borrow another mouse and see if the problem goes away.
    I've certainly had one case of a weirdly behaving mouse, and a new 5 euro mouse turned out to be the solution.
    Another time I discovered a similar problem it turned out that my 'alt' key was sticking, though it didn't look visually to be stuck.
    You say that you've tested for that possibility though, so it probably doesn't apply for this case.
     
  13. Apr 12, 2015 #12

    Fredrik

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    Thanks everyone who took some time to think about this. I'll buy a new mouse tomorrow to see if it works better.
     
  14. Apr 12, 2015 #13

    robphy

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    That's why checking with a Live Linux CD might be good.
    If it still fails, it's hardware. If not, then it's Windows.

    Get http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html and burn an image to a CD/DVD
    or make a bootable USB drive http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/
     
  15. Apr 13, 2015 #14

    Fredrik

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    I bought a cheap new mouse, and it's working fine.
     
  16. Apr 13, 2015 #15
    Clever those Chinese.
     
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