I don't know if you've ever experienced such a behavior from your mouse pointer but it's happened to me several times.

The thing is, when I buy a brand new mouse, everything is fine for some time (a year or two) but after that, the mouse pointer starts twitching sometimes.

I first thought it's because of those old ball mice and due to their mechanical nature that this happens. But it keeps happening to the optical mouses too. I wonder what might cause this problem and how to avoid it?

This happens when the mouse is idle. I mean I'm not touching it at all and I use a standard mouse pad.

  • 2
    Have you considered that they might just be dirty? – Shinrai Jul 26 '12 at 20:17
  • Read the update please. – Hamed Momeni Jul 26 '12 at 20:20
  • Try disabling "Enhance pointer precision" under Mouse settings in Control Panel, and try lowering the pointer speed. I would also try a Mouse Pad. – amiregelz Jul 26 '12 at 20:21
  • I'm on linux (although it happens in Windows too). I also use a mouse pad. – Hamed Momeni Jul 26 '12 at 20:23

Whenever a mouse doesn’t work correctly and the pointer skips or jumps, the first thing you should do is to clean it. The rollers on ball mice accumulate dirt and oil and need to be cleaned, but even optical mice need to be cleaned, especially ones that are particularly sensitive and have high resolutions.

Check both the optical sensor and light closely for hair, particularly if you have a pet with very fine hair. These are small an light enough to remain stuck in there, unnoticed for quite a while, but are still visible to the optical sensor. This is a common cause of phantom optical mouse movements.

One way to prevent this is to place a small strip of clear, Scotch tape over the area.

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  • Seems legit. But I can't find anything which interferes with the light. – Hamed Momeni Jul 27 '12 at 6:33
  • I get cat hair in the hole and it makes my mouse do random crap... I tried tape, but it wasnt clear enough... I wonder if clearer tape would work – Keltari Jun 24 '13 at 20:53
  • @Keltari, maybe, just make sure to avoid getting fingerprints on the tape. ;-) – Synetech Jun 25 '13 at 17:27
  • (I’d rather have hair stuck in my mouse than in my eye; even those micro-thin cat hairs that are almost invisible feel like tree trunks! Argh!!!) – Synetech Nov 29 '13 at 19:52
  • i had the same problem with my the most expensive mouse, I've ever bought (x7 -anti vibrant). I through that in my drawer. After about 3 year I took that out, but vibration made my annoyed. After reading this post.. I just made a tissue wet from a corner, and rubbed the lens in front of sensor. and wow.. it worked superb . – MFarooqi Apr 15 '16 at 11:00

Sometimes I'll see "phantom" mouse movemement with optical mice (perhaps the pointer is travelling slowly even if it's not being touched, or the pointer motion is jerky in general) if the mouse is sitting on a surface with certain reflective properties, or if the surface is dusty.

An optical mouse uses the reflection of light off of your desk to track the motion of the mouse. If the surface of your desk has particles causing the light to reflect in odd ways, or if it is a very reflective surface, it will not be able to get a clear idea of its motion. Think of looking across a very clean window or mirror and trying to see the glass itself travel across your line of sight. It's the same problem.

Basically, the solution is to find something to put down on the under the mouse (like a piece of printer paper), or get a mousepad (they still are useful for this purpose). Or simply wipe any dust off your desk, and make sure there isn't a buildup of dust under the mouse itself, near the lens.

  • 2
    +1 for bad surface, inaccurate sensors and the like. I had this problem with an old optical mouse on a bad surface and putting a sheet of paper under the mouse was enough to give it a consistant surface without jitters. – Mokubai Jul 26 '12 at 20:30
  • As I said in the comments, I use a standard mouse pad. And the problem is only when I'm not touching the mouse. – Hamed Momeni Jul 26 '12 at 20:32
  • And also my surface is perfectly level. – Hamed Momeni Jul 26 '12 at 20:32
  • @EdwinDrood Whether or not you use a mousepad (I do too) and if your surface is level (irrelevent to using a mouse), dust and other debris, even very small amounts, can cause this kind of behavior. Clean your surface. My guess is that you have specific places on the pad that, if the mouse rests on it, causes the jitters. When you're using it, 99.9% of the surface it sees won't cause that behavior. – Ben Richards Jul 26 '12 at 20:55
  • u are right. bad surface was the cause for my problem. thanku :) – NightFury Nov 23 '13 at 17:00

I had this. My mouse was failing. I got a new mouse, no problem.

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