"It really seems to be a hardware problem."
The Jumping Mouse Problem
After purchasing two brand spanking new Dell Precision 470 computers
with bundled optical USB mice running Windows XP Pro, it became clear
that something was
dreadfully wrong. The mouse cursor would frequently jump to the side
or corner of the screen. This happened whether dragging or
moving. Selecting menu items was difficult, drawing was impossible.
A quick check on Google showed that other owners of the Dell Precision 470
were experiencing similar problems, and that calls to Dell tech support
The mouse with this problem is the Dell Optical USB mouse, DP/N: 0C8649,
M/N: M056U0. If you look under the red led on the bottom of the mouse,
you'll see a picture of what looks like a little sun with radiating spokes.
Resolving the Problem
You're going to need to talk with Dell Technical Support,
866-876-3355 or use their chat system at http://support.dell.com/.
name, company name, physical address (since they'll need to ship you
new mouse), Dell Service Tag, machine make and model at hand, and
version of the operating system.
You'll be asked for all this before the poor operator who's multiplexing
you into the conversation will give you a slice of attention.
The Dell Optical USB Mouse shipped with the system by default is
a Primax mouse. Some web articles suggest that the mouse driver
or the mouse itself may have an overflow problem; this would certainly
explain why the mouse spontaneously jumps to a new location.
The mouse that Dell sends to replace it looks identical at first glance,
but is made by Logitech. DP/N: 0C8639, M/N: M-UVDEL1. This one has
no "sun" embossed into the clear plastic. Also, if you hold the two
bottom-side-up and stare through the dark plastic, the electronics
look different. Additionally, the Logitech replacement has a little
bit more heft to it, buy only by a smidge.
Some Diagnostic Notes
- This problem happens with Windows XP Pro on a virgin system
configured by Dell, in this case the Dell Precision 470.
- Rebooting does not solve the problem.
- Reinstalling Windows does not solve the problem.
- All Microsoft patches and updates do not solve the problem.
- Virus checking with the virus checker Dell installs (Norton)
shows a clean system. So does AVG, AdAware, SpyBoy, and Spyware
- The mouse jumps erratically even when the system is under no
CPU, disk, or network load.
- The problem exists in Safe Mode, plus you will not be running
in safe mode.
- Swapping the Primax mouse between identical Dell systems does
not make the problem go away -- it is the mouse, driver, machine
combination that's at fault.
- Curiously, putting the Primax mouse on a Non-Dell machine (I
did an HP laptop) worked fine.
- Curiously, putting a Microsoft mouse on the Dell Precision 470
also worked fine.
- Changing surfaces does not solve the problem. The non-Dell
mouse works fine, and the Dell mouse does work on a different
- Confirm there is no hair or hunk on the mouse or near its optics;
mine was pristine. If it was a problem, it wouldn't have worked
on a different computer.
- Dell may recommend you use a "good" mouse. Aside from that
just covering the symptom, you need to point out that you purchased
a mouse from Dell, and that you expected Dell to send you "Good"
equipment. Dell's solution should not be not to use Dell.
- Dell will ask that you reflash the BIOS. I had version A05 and,
at Dell's request, reflashed to the downloaded A05, forcing it.
While the release notes says it fixes some mouse issues, the mouse
- The mouse jumping problem is even worse during the Dell Systems
Diagnostic menus from the Dell Resource CD, though the tests say
everything passes. Here's why, straight from the mouse diagnostic:
"This is not a test or a diagnostic. It is a confirmation taht the
indicated device was detected by Delldiag. ... This test does not
perform USB hot-plug detection of devices." The mouse test is a waste
of your time, though you want to check your system board and memory.
Once you squarely put the problem at the machine and mouse combination,
Dell will ship you, free of charge, a replacement mouse.
From what I can tell, the Logitech optical USB mouse (M/N: UVDEL1, DP/N: 0C8639)
works fine without a hitch.
The M/N can be found on the black plastic, the DP/N can be found
on the white sticker.