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I am using Windows XP on a desktop computer. I've got an optical mouse.

I got tired, it's so annoying!!! The computer mouse is stalled, but the cursor is slowly crawling to the upper-left corner of the screen. I doesn't happen all the time, but it seems to happen exactly at those times when it's least expected.

I bought another mouse, connected it and ... the same story! What should I do?

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What operating system? – studiohack Sep 17 '11 at 2:36
Is this a laptop? – William Jackson Sep 17 '11 at 2:41
@studiohack - Windows XP – brilliant Sep 17 '11 at 3:04
@William Jackson - It's a desktop. – brilliant Sep 17 '11 at 3:05
I once wrote a joke program that randomly moves the mouse across the screen, but unless you let a geek with a sense of humor use your computer lately, that's probably not the problem ;) – user98146 Sep 17 '11 at 4:17

I've seen this happen when my optical mouse was stationary on a surface with particular reflective properties. I don't know what those properties were, but changing the surface the mouse was on or nudging the mouse fixed it.

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Without being able to ask for clarification on your question for the surface on which you use your mouse, I would suggest replacing the mouse pad or not using one so long as the surface is a relatively uniform colour.

In older versions of Windows (I'm sure it'd been fixed in XP) there used to be a problem in which something would hook into the pointer and cause it to move as an adjustment or attempted fix to the pointing device's movements... As random programmer mentioned in his comment on the question, applications can modify the pointer position. There could be something installed (even a driver) which is causing this issue.

Have you installed any drivers or software specifically for your pointing device? A convenient way of checking whether there is any software causing this, is to boot into Safe Mode and see if the problem still exists.

Another suggestion is to plug the mouse into another computer or laptop and see if the problem recurs. If you can, use it on the same surface that you do on your computer. I know you've already mentioned that you have replaced your mouse and have seen no change in behaviour, but it would be good to eliminate your mice (computer mouses?) as being problematic.


  • Try a new mousing surface (such as a new mouse pad, none at all or a piece of white paper taped to the desk if necessary)
  • Boot into safe mode and see if it still happens
  • Uninstall or update any mouse drivers or software you have installed
  • Try the mice/mouses in a different computer/laptop but on the same surface/table/mouse-pad and see if the problem recurs

EDIT: Are the mice wireless? There could be interference from another wireless device such as a network router, wireless keyboard or naturally recurring radiation....

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Thank you, Ashley, for your help. My mice are not wireless. The problem doesn't recur on another computer (laptop) with the same mouse and same surface. How do I boot into Safe mode in order to see if any mouse-related drivers or software is installed? Can you please teach me how to do that? – brilliant Sep 24 '11 at 6:19
When rebooting, start tapping F8 before the Windows loading screen, ie, just after the BIOS screen(s) – Ashley Steel Sep 26 '11 at 23:18
Any luck @brilliant? – Ashley Steel Oct 2 '11 at 9:34
Not really. The problem is still there. At times disappearing, and at times again reoccurring. – brilliant Dec 19 '13 at 0:45
Did you try using the PC for a while within Safe Mode to see if the issues were occurring there? Failing that, now might be a good time to upgrade to Windows 8? :) – Ashley Steel Dec 19 '13 at 12:10

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