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Mouse Skips around without touching it.

One of my users is utilizing an HP Laptop 6510b with Windows XP Pro Sp3

Intermittently when she logs in, the Mouse cursor will start skipping all over the screen.  I have tried uninstalling the driver for it and letting Windows use the default driver for this device and it has not resolved the issue.  I downloaded the latest driver from the manufacturer's web site and its actually and earlier version than what I took off.  I've little faith that this resolved the issue.  It is a Synaptics touch pad.  

What might cause this, and how might I resolve it?
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alexianit
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alexianit
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1 Solution
 
David-HowardCommented:
More times than not you can correct this issue by making sure that the system drivers are updated (especially if it's a laptop).
You might also try running SFC /SCANNOW or a Repair. Both require your OS CD and about fifteen minutes.
SFC SCANNOW
http://www.updatexp.com/scannow-sfc.html
If that fails to resolve the issue, you might try a quick Repair.
XP Repair:
http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm
A Repair is not designed to overwrite data but you should take precautions.
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jp10558Commented:
It generally is caused by phantom input to the sensing device. What I mean is my optical mouse will occasionally jump around if there is dirt on the lense, and it's getting confused as to whether it's viewing the mousepad etc...

For your issue, I'd look at a hardware problem with the touchpad...
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David-HowardCommented:
Agreed. If it is the touchpad the driver updates that I recommended should fix this. I know this is true for Dell's.
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ridCommented:
1. Start up the system in safe mode. Does the problem appear?
2. Try with a bootable live CD like Knoppix. Still a problem?

If "yes" on either of the above, check the surface of the touchpad, maybe a clean-up is needed (a cotton swad with very little water will do). If that doesn't cure the problem, even if you try #2 above, you may have to deal with a hardware issue.

A touchpad will typically be recognised as "PS/2 mouse" by windows and work very well as such. To be able to use the enhanced features though, the proper drivers (Synaptics in this case) need to be loaded. Erratic, spontaneous movement is symptom of a real problem, hardware or software. To rule out software, the #2 option above is quite useful, as the environment is totally different and no viruses or similar can have any effect.
/RID
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alexianitAuthor Commented:
Please note my earlier comments, which I will summarize here:
1. Problem is intermittent
2. Had latest driver installed (effect occurred) [Got this from M$]
3. Uninstalled this and let Windows use default PS/2 driver (effect still occurred)
4. Installed the latest driver from HP site, today, looked to be an earlier version than #1 (unsure if problem is still recurring)

I have a feeling that it will, but will let you all know this as well.  I would surmise that if its still happening that it is likely a hardware issue.

Mainly wanted some further input and to see if other people had experienced this often, & if this might be a common problem.

Thank you all for your input so far.  Will keep you updated, if anyone else has ideas I am certainly interested.

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alexianitAuthor Commented:
Also if issue is still happening I will definitely try what has been suggested here.  Although I am uncertain as far as Knoppix is concerned as I'm not a big Linux guy and it might be a bit beyond my current skill set to use this effectively.

Pretty sure this isn't a virus related issue, we seem to experience something similar when useing a 16 port Belkin KVM w/ Win2k3 servers.
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jp10558Commented:
alexianit - just plop in knoppix, boot from the CD, and see if the mouse jumps around. No real Linux knowledge needed.
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ridCommented:
Just a comment re: Knoppix.

You burn a bootable CD from the .iso file and boot your system with that CD. The entire environment runs off the CD; no installation, nothing is altered in the system. There is a nice GUI that is quite user friendly and there is support for most network interfaces and USB and such. Since the O/S and the drivers are quite different from the windows environment, the general idea is that if a problem occurs in Knoppix (Linux) as well as in windows, it's hardware-related; if it doesn't it's related to windows or its specific drivers environment. A touchpad will be recognised as a PS/2 device (mouse).
/RID
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alexianitAuthor Commented:
I booted the system to Knoppix and I did notice even with that OS that the mouse behavior was erratic, skipping about on the screen.  

Does this mean its certain to be a hardware issue and not a driver/software issue?  I'm not familiar with the differences/similarities in drivers between the Linux and Windows.

Another thing I don't know too much about with Knoppix, I noticed it had WineX or something similar, this wouldn't be utlized as an emulator for driver purposes, surely ... ... right?
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ridCommented:
Drivers and software are entirely different! In Linux the touchpad is recognised as a PS/2 pointing device and runs off generic Linux drivers. If it behaves in the same manner as in windows (erratic...) it's fairly certain to be a hardware problem.

Wine is a windows environment simulator. It's *not* involved here. It can be used to run certain windows-specific programs, but does require user activity for settings and such.
/RID
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jp10558Commented:
Yes, if you have the same problem in Knoppix, it's a hardware problem.
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