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For around a year I have had an issue with my USB mouse's middle button action whilst browsing the web. Essentially if I use the middle button to open any link, about 5% of the time it will open two new tabs instead of just one. Equally, if I use the middle button to close a tab, it can sometimes mistakenly close two tabs which I then have to restore with Control + Shift + T.

What might be causing this? Here's what I've tried so far, but with the same results:

  • Swapping the mouse with two other mice
  • Using Internet Explorer in place of Chrome
  • Running Windows in safe mode


I have now tried a spare PS/2 mouse I had, and so far I haven't been able to reproduce the behaviour after five hours (I normally see it at least once per 30 minutes). Could this really be a USB issue?

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Which mouse software are you using, and are you sure that your finger doesn't bounce ? – harrymc Apr 4 '11 at 12:53
Thanks for the comment @harrymc. I'm not using any special mouse software, just the normal driver that comes with Windows 7. I can't rule out my finger although I use other systems (and mice) at work and don't see this problem. – 8088 Apr 4 '11 at 13:58
Maybe you could try working at home in Safe mode for a short while, to verify if the problem comes from an installed product. – harrymc Apr 4 '11 at 14:02
The fact that it occurs in two independent programs would indicate a hardware or driver issue rather than a software one. – ChrisF Apr 4 '11 at 14:56
I'm in safe mode now - it took a long time to reproduce but unfortunately after browsing for a while I got some links that opened twice from a single middle click. Really curious what the problem is then... – 8088 Apr 9 '11 at 3:49
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Have you tried using a different mouse? If there is another mouse readily available, connect it and see if the issue persists.

When I've experienced this issue it has tended to be the mouse. Either a faulty sensor or click mechanism that sends two reports in quick succession. Thankfully mice are cheap and easy to test and replace.

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Unfortunately yes: I substituted for another (old) mouse and after browsing for a while I had a link open in two tabs. My other half has a new shiny mouse so I'll give that a try later just in case the old mouse is worn too! :) – 8088 Apr 5 '11 at 0:37
Tried a third mouse now and still have the problem - two are corded optical, one is cordless optical. – 8088 Apr 9 '11 at 3:50
I tried with a fourth mouse (PS/2 instead of USB this time) and haven't had the problem happen again, so I am satisfied and closing the question. I doubt I'll ever find the root cause (USB issue? USB driver issue? Three faulty mice?) mind... :) – 8088 Apr 12 '11 at 9:19
Normally USB polling issues are more evident in high-end gaming mice. However, if your USB controller were going, a mouse click would probably be relatively sensitive to modulations in the frequency of the USB as they are expecting to send information at regular intervals and when the controller isn't ready or the clock isn't synced properly, it could exhibit such behaviors. Do you know if there are more than one USB controller on your system? If so, would connecting to a port on a different controller make a difference? – music2myear Apr 12 '11 at 14:37

I would recommend trying to reinstall your mouse driver and see if that fixes your problem.

I found this that should guide you though the process if you are having trouble

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It's either your mouse or your driver. Try obtaining a new mouse or reinstalling your mouse driver software.

On the other hand your mouse could be configured to have a particular double click setting - explore your mouse software to try and revert these settings.

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Perhaps you assigned your middle button to a function like "2x click".

There was a similar function on my A4TECH mouse where you could assign 2x click to the middle button.

You can change its assigned function by installing and configuring your mouse software.

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Thanks, in the past I used nifty mice like that but the mice I use these days are very simple and don't have their own software or special drivers. I couldn't see anywhere with the standard Mouse Control Panel applet where I might have configured something like that, but thanks for the suggestion. – 8088 Apr 12 '11 at 3:27

If I understand your question correctly, you have this issue with both Chrome and Internet Explorer, right?

If I were to try to cast a wide net to hunt for a ghost bug like that, I would also run a scan against spyware or viruses (AdAware, SpyBot, Microsoft Security Essentials ...)

Is your mouse plugged into a USB port, or does it plug in to one of the PS/2 ports of a desktop PC?

In the latter case, I would try to exchange the keyboard and the mouse plug. If the bug vanishes, you probably have a hardware problem with your first PS/2 port.

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Thanks - I've done a full sweep of checking for any malicious apps including rootkits as well just in case. Nothing found. The mouse is plugged into USB. – 8088 Apr 12 '11 at 3:23

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