I'm going to cut and paste this from the Dell message boards (Dell has no idea how to fix this.). I'm hoping someone here knows what the problem is.
Hi. I'm running a Dell Dimension 4300, running XP Pro, and ever since about a year ago, I've had erratic mouse behavior with whatever I've used. I've tried mice made by Microsoft, Logitech, the standard Dell mouse that the computer came with, and Kensington. I've tried each mouse (except the Dell one) with both USB connections, as well as with the USB=>PS/2 converter. With each mouse, I've tried both the default windows driver (HID-Compatible for USB, PS/2 compatible for PS/2 (mouclass.sys)), as well as the manufacturers' drivers (for example, Logitech's MouseWare), and I've tried each driver with each port. I've tried every known combination of mice, port, and driver available.
The following circumstances occur with all 4 brands of mice mentioned, all possible drivers, and all ports.
In each and every case, although with USB to a greater degree than PS/2, I've had erratic mouse behavior. When plugged into either the mouse port or the keyboard port, both PS/2 w/PS/2 converters, the mouse moves around fine for a bit, but every now and then (about once or twice a minute) it stops responding for a second or two, then goes on working fine again. I've noticed with games that when it stops working for a second, it keeps doing what it was doing; if I am firing an automatic weapon, it'll keep firing and I won't be able to stop it, but I won't be able to move with the mouse until it starts working a second later again.
When the mouse is plugged into a USB port, the same circumstances described above occur, but even more frequently, and the spells where the mouse stops working last even longer, sometimes up to 10 seconds.
I've even tried switching IRQ assignments in setup, updating my BIOS, uninstalling and reinstalling every known mouse driver to mankind... nothing.
I had completely formatted my hard drive a few months ago and ran a clean install of XP Pro, and for a while there, using the Logitech MX-500 with a PS/2 converter, for a few months it was running perfectly. But now the mouse problem has surfaced again, and I sure as heck haven't installed anything new in the past few days to make it just happen.
I've been reading this board and have read of many others with similar circumstances. I'm posting to let you, Dell, know, that this is a problem with every brand of mouse, every port, every driver. To me, it seems, the only other problem sources there could be would be Windows XP or my computer (my hardware) itself.
Please, for me and all of the others in this forum who have complained of erratic mouse behavior, find the cause of this and figure out a way to fix it, and let me know, okay?
And oh yeah, this applies to both optical and ball mice, and I've tried several colors of mousepad including black and red with the optical ones.
It's getting worse. If this helps, I've noticed that the problem increases during times of heavy load. Twice now, while trying to generate thumbnails for a folder with a lot of photos in it in XP, the mouse (Logitech MX500, have repeated the same effect plugged into both the PS/2 port w/ a converter and the USB port) has completely frozen and refused to start responding again until restart.
Mouse also freezes more often during gaming, video encoding, etc... than while just, say, surfing.
The worst freezes have been while loading the big thumbnail folders, which leads me to believe that large amounts of data transfer between ROM and RAM may be connected to the freezes, in which case the ultimate problem would lie either in the RAM, hard drive, BIOS, or motherboard. Since I haven't seen this problem with any other brand of computer quite like I have it, and I've seen many people complain about this problem with Dells, this would further support the hardware fault theory.
That's just what I think though, and I'm hardly a professional techie; just a user with above average computer knowledge. Take it for what it's worth.
The mouse problem is getting steadily worse though now as the days go on, and I'm anxiously awaiting a response from you, Dell. I've never had another problem with my computer in the two years that I've owned it, and if you can fix this for me I'll almost surely buy another Dell when this one becomes unbearably obsolete for usage.
I'm not quite sure I could say the same in a few years if this mouse thing isn't fixed, tho.
And oh, if it helps, with the optical mouse, when it freezes, the light still stays on in the mouse, meaning that the electrical connection still stays intact... it just stops responding.
Update: Just called Dell support... they led me through every step they had, all the way up to "Okay sir, the only step we have left is to reinstall the OS."
Considering these symptoms have occurred both before and after a clean format and install of XP Pro (was using Home before), I doubt that will do much, I tell him.
He says all he can do is forward the info to the techies and they'll email me when a solution is found.
Translation: Dell, it appears that you have no idea what is causing this problem with so many users, and even less of an idea as to how to fix it.
Naturally, unless a fix is at some point emailed to me like I requested with support, for some reason I have some doubt as to if I'll ever buy a Dell product again.