December 30, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, my parents mentioned that they were having problems with the Dell Dimension 1100 I had given them last Christmas – seems the mouse (the kind with the ball underneath) would start acting up by jumping all over the place and rendering itself completely unusable for, say, 20-30 seconds, then return to usability only to start jumping all over the screen again. There seemed no rhyme nor reason for it, it just happened at random.

My first thought was that the problem was caused by some Microsoft updates I downloaded during my last visit several weeks ago, as the problem hadn’t manifested itself until then. Logical, right? That is, until I restored their computer back to the system syncpoint prior to those updates, only to find the mouse still continuing to behave badly.

* I then checked all system tasks and the performance monitor to see if any system usage was changing when the mouse started its fandango thing. Nothing unusual.

* I then tried plugging the mouse into a different USB port. No good.

* I then checked the Internet to see if any tech sites had any explanations or recommended solutions to this kind of problem. Unfortunately, all the “experts” seemed to say was that it was the mouse that was the problem and to try taking it apart and cleaning it. This was something my dad had already done.

* I then talked to the Dell folks at the booth they occupy at a local mall. They said the same thing, that the mouse obviously needed cleaning. Nevertheless, to be safe, I ordered a replacement optical mouse; they said I’d get it in 5-8 business days.

* I then talked to two local computer service technicians, who also said the problem would be resolved by a through cleaning of the mouse. (Of course, if that didn’t solve the problem, they’d be more than happy to come out for an on-site visit at $39 for the call, and an additional $60 per hour.)

So, my dad and I took the mouse apart and gave its rollers (beneath the ball) a thorough cleaning with a toothpick and put it back together.

Same problem.

Then, lo and behold, what do my parents find in their mail? Just two days after visiting that Dell booth, they find a brand-spanking-new Logitech optical mouse in their house.

Out comes the old mouse, in goes the new mouse into the same USB port. Bingo bango bongo, problem solved!

The moral of the story – when it comes to home PC peripherals, replace first, then ask questions later. Call it frontier justice, computer style.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 01:01 | Comments (0)
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