I initially thought the problem might be caused by the Windows 7 Advanced Power Setting "USB Selective suspend setting" being Enabled, which is apparently the default for Windows 7. This allows Windows to disable USB devices that are infrequently used, so it seemed this might be happening in my case, with a machine that frequently sleeps. This setting can be changed by navigating to:
- Control Panel;
- Hardware and Sound;
- Power Options;
- Change Plan Settings (for any power plan);
- Change advanced power settings;
- USB settings and set "USB selective suspend setting" to Disabled.
What I've found through experiment is that my problem is solved by using a newer mouse. Both the new mouse and the old mouse are supposedly identical, and were purchased as the Microsoft Optical Intellimouse. The freeze problem happens repeatably with my older mouse, whether USB selective suspend is enabled or disabled. The freeze problem does not happen with the newer mouse, whether USB selective suspend is enabled or disabled.
In all my tests, both mice have been used directly connected to the PC via the same USB connector. No mousepad was used -- both mice function ok on my desktop without a mousepad. There are no options in the BIOS for my PC to change USB settings for mice. The PC is relatively new, an HP Pavilion Slimline purchased about a year ago.
Remarkably, this answer (replacing with a new, apparently identical mouse) is the same as one of the answers given on the similar question.