Jerky mouse and wacky destop icons

Posted on 2002-04-23
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I am working with Win 98 on an HP8660C. I've had this computer and its mouse for over three years. What's happening is my mouse is erratic at times, and "jerky," where I can't always click on what I want. Now I'm noticing my desktop icons are jumping around! I have them aligned on my desktop, but they change as I roll my mouse over. Is this a mouse problem?
I clean my mouse all the time and I have played with the mouse settings, but it's still wacky.

Question by:neoweb
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 6963442
You're probably a victim of a virus (magistr comes to mind for moving icons; they seem to run away from the pointer) and you should scan your machine ASAP with a trusty anti-virus program.

Erratic pointer movement can in itself have other causes, like dust/dirt inside the mouse or something gone wrong with the video drivers etc. Foreign bodies can disturb the optical sensors that are activated by the little wheels with fins inside the mouse. Cleaning in this area can be quite difficult...

LVL 59

Expert Comment

ID: 6963580
I agree with Rid.  You have a virus.  Here's one of the possibilities:

In particular, note this paragraph from the above web page:

If the computer has been infected for two months, then on odd days the desktop icons are repositioned whenever the mouse pointer approaches, giving the impression that the icons are "running away" from the mouse.

Here's another possibility:

The payload randomly changes the icon arrangement on the desktop so it appears that icons are running away from the mouse pointer. The virus may mutate so that it is not further infectable, but still deletes a number of randomly chosen files, depending on the date.


Accepted Solution

tituba2 earned 100 total points
ID: 6966005
Yes - it most likely is PE_Magistr_A or B.  From my experience with this virus, it renames system files.  So, even if you use the tool provided by Symantec etc, your system will be unstable and freeze.  Best bet is to get what you care about off the PC.  Write down your settings, video card, sound etc.  Find your install disks and format and start over.

I'd format using the /u switch as it gets every piece of the drive and fdisk /mbr to clear the master boot record.
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Expert Comment

ID: 6966535
it is W32 Magistr.24876@mm or one of its derivatives. Norton, Mcafee and all others have released update files to clean the system. Run a live update with your virus programme and do a full scan. Norton and mcafee also offer free online scan I think.

Expert Comment

ID: 6966610
If you don't have virus software that is updated - go to

Fill out the info and Trend will do a scan of your hard drive from the internet.  It won't fix anything, but at least you'll know what you are dealing with.  

Once you find out, go to or or and read about whatever virus you may have.  Sometimes you have to do some manual edits in the registry over and above the virus scan.

Expert Comment

ID: 6969378
I agree's a virus!
Getting the protection and cleaned up is most definitely a big need....but you do need to protect your PC from this happening again....go get the freeware edition of ZoneAlarm's FireWall....nobody gets in...nothing creates activity...without you're visual knowledge!
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 6969534
After this parade I'd be quite surprised if it weren't a virus...
Can you tell us anything?

Expert Comment

ID: 6969582
It sounds like a virus but if it's not and it is an old computer and an old mouse, check at the bottom of the mouse for a switch between PS to MS or somthing like that, and move it back to MS

Author Comment

ID: 6984947
Thanks to everyone who responded - I decided to reformat my hard drive to be safe. I'm also buying Norton's, like, tomorrow!! As for the mouse, it's still the same, even with cleaning it - I may suffer for a while then buy a new one if I can't get it clean.

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