Cursor jumps around screen

Recently, my cursor has become "unstable." The problem shows up vividly in Quicken when I'm trying to enter data into a specific field, but I'll notice the same problem in Word. I'm on a desktop, I'm using Windows XP Home Edition and the computer I'm on is a Dell Vostro.

The thing has worked beautifully only up until recently. I've scanned for viruses and anything else that I can think of. I've replaced the mouse and the problem remains. Most of what I've found on the web deals with the touchpad on a laptop and that's not the case here.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

brucegustPHP DeveloperAsked:
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brucegustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Something else I wanted to throw in that might help qualify things. You know how the hourglass will appear in Word when it's doing an Auto Save? I'll see that hour glass more often than what seems normal. It's as almost as if there's something "working" in the background.
Well, my first recommendation for your cursor was going to be to clean the track ball (assuming your mouse had one). But if you have replaced the mouse, that isn't going to be much use.

Considering you have already checked for viruses, I would recommend checking three things.

Check and play with the mouse settings in the control panel.
It might be acting up because your computer is slowing down due to a full hard drive (this has happened to my mouse)

If nothing else works,
Try reinstalling your OS. Its sure to clear out any viruses in your computer.

As for MS Word, check out the preferences and see how often it is supposed to autosave. If you are using Office 2007, the preferences are under the main menu from the [stupid] circle in the top left corner. At the bottom of that menu it says 'Word Options'. Your save options are in there.

Good hunting.


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if they have both been wireless mice it would well be worth trying a wired mouse before doing anything too drastic, just to eliminate radio frequency interference

a defrag may indeed be the order of the day as well

P.S. both of these problems can also be a result of themal problems.
 so, when the machine is mischieving, quickly turn it off, i wouldnt normally suggest pulling the power but in this case it is the best way. restart the pc immediatly and check the post screen, if the post screen does not show, then do it again and enter the bios and check the pc health, which should give you a very very rough guide to your temperatures
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brucegustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Did a defrag, not sure if it made much difference. I guess I'm just going to have to reinstall the OS...

did you try a wired mouse?

did you check the temperature and run a scan on the disc? just trying to think of anything that would help you avoid having to fresh install
brucegustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I vacummed around the vents and did a complete scan - nothing seems to make any difference.
what was the processor temp in the bios?
I would eliminate all hardware issues first and borrow a mouse from another computer that you know works well and test that out.  I've had something as small as a hair in front of the optical reader on a mouse and it caused it to jump all over the screen.
brucegustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I've tried a different mouse and it doesn't make any difference. I notice that the screen flickers ever so subtlely, but what was a minor inconvenience is getting progressively worse. Working with Quicken is a nightmare. Any other suggestions? bullmonkey, what is the processor temp? How do I check that?

Although I've already done a scan on the computer, is there a virus out there that causes this? I'm thinking that it's probably something simple that's causing this, I just don't know what.
right, if the screen flickers it may be worth reinstalling your graphic card drivers, but i have my doubts as to corrupted drivers.

the bios will display your cpu temperature.
 tap F2  as your machine boots up and it will take you into the bios, there are settings that you can change but the section you want will be called  something like 'PC HEALTH' this will tell you the core temperature. it would be nice if you could get it heated up first though by running an application for a while then quickly rebooting (try  disconecting the battery and running it off the transformer so you can turn it off and on quickly) so that it doesnt have too much time to cool down

i have a couple of other questions how big is your hard drive and how many % is free space?
 how much ram do you have?
does music stutter when you play it?
is the machine online wifi?
does it improve if you are connected to the interent?
brucegust, i know that there seems to be lots of suggestions but there is the scope for it being so many differnt things. be patient and keep posting and ill keep throwing you suggestions to diagnose it. what version of vostro do youhave?
brucegustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Music doesn't stutter. I'm connected directly to the internet, I have a Dell Vostro_200 with 1.99 GB of RAM. I've got 148 GB capacity on my hard drive with 113 GB of free space. I'll do the F2 thing later today, but there are some answers to the questions you had. I appreciate your time!
brucegustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I want to make sure that I'm painting a detailed picture of my problem. I use the "screen flickers" descriptor just because that seemed most appropriate. It does flicker a bit, perhaps, but the biggest dilemma is represented by what happens in Quicken. If I linger any more than 5-7 seconds in one field, the cursor will jump back to the date field. Other applications such as Word or Excel don't really represent a major problem, although I can see the hour glass popping up more than I would define as "normal." But in those applications, I can work without incident. The biggest problem is in Quicken.

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