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On my other PC, the mouse pointer is bouncing around the screen. I've been away for a few days and it wasn't doing this before.

The pointer is hopping from spot to spot in what could be a chaotic motion i.e. I can't see a pattern. It hops several times per second and each hop is usually no more than a couple of inches across my (26") screen, usually in a different direction, but over time it's migrating around the whole screen. Both button clicks are also happening: whilst I was pondering on it, it managed to change to the High Contrast display theme.

I've never seen anything quit like it. The nearest thing was way back when I was playing with plotting mathematically chaotic equations.


I am not moving the mouse.


Although the symptoms appear similar, this is not an exact duplicate of "Why is my mouse pointer moving on its own?" - in that question, the pointer remains on the far right of the screen unless the mouse is moved. In this question, the pointer is flickering around across the whole screen but responds partially to mouse movements, by moving the centre of the flickering around the screen. The only similarity between these questions is that the pointer is not behaving as it should - the actual behaviours are entirely different.

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Sounds like an optical mouse on bad surface. Put a piece of white paper on your desk and try it on top of that. – ahmed Aug 4 '12 at 8:34
I failed to point out that I'm not moving the mouse. The pointer is bouncing from the moment it appears on the screen at startup and does not stop. Moving the mouse causes the hopping pointer to move across the screen but it does not entirely suppress the hopping and it resumes with the previous intensity as soon as I stop moving the mouse. – serialhobbyist Aug 4 '12 at 8:43
What happens if you unplug the mouse or plug the mouse into another computer? – Baarn Aug 4 '12 at 8:45
It wasn't the mouse. It was happening even when I unplugged it. – serialhobbyist Aug 4 '12 at 8:50
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've solved it. It's fair to say that my office is in a bit of a mess at the moment whilst we redecorate another room. I have a Wacom Bamboo tablet which I hardly use these days. It'd fallen down the back of the desk and my laptop PSU had landed on top of it.

I was going through the unplug-everything-one-by-one routine. I'd already tried unplugging the mouse as soon as the problem manifested itself but that didn't help. I was going through the USB cables, unplugged one and it stopped. When I plugged it back in, it started again. I followed the cable and found the long-forgotten tablet, with the PSU sat on top of it. As soon as I moved the PSU, it stopped. With a bit of trial-and-error I found that it didn't need to be in contact to cause the problem.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions.

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Wow, these are the best kinds of fixes. – ahmed Aug 4 '12 at 8:59

It appears that the surface I was mousing on was responsible for my mouse's jittering. I put my mouse inside an opaque shoebox lid, works perfectly now. Problem solved.

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This can happen with optical mice on very shiny surfaces. Nice low-tech solution. – Burgi Jan 14 at 9:18

Here's how I solved my problem with the mouse pointer. Windows 7 users. I went into Device Manager, clicked on Mouse and uninstalled the hardware. Then I rebooted the computer. When it came back up again the problem was fixed and I haven't had any trouble since then.

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