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Windows XP/Computer freezes with cursor action


QUESTION: I'm having an issue where my computer freezes whenever my mouse either: -Hovers over a hyperlink -click on a hyperlink --clicks on a dropdown menu in Outlook

This issue is intermittent and I am unable to move the cursor at all. I'm dead in the water and it leaves me only to reboot the CPU, which I hate doing.

I'm thinking this could be a driver issue. As I haven't installed any new software that I recall. My System info is:

HP Pavillion RX885AA-ABA a6000n,
Win XP Srvc Pak 3/Build 2600.
Processor: x86 Family 15 Model 75 Stepping 2 Authenic AMD 2209Mhz BIOS Phoenix Technologies LTD 5.01 2/2/2007

I appreciate your input and recommendations, as I'd like to correct this myself if at all possible.

ANSWER: This could be any range of issues, but this sounds more like a hardware problem than a software problem. Drivers for the mouse are part of the system and will automatically be installed when a new mouse is detected. Even if a driver was corrupt, the mouse is a non-critical component that would not cause the computer to freeze by itself.

What your issue sounds like seems more like an unstable voltage problem.

I would do one thing as a diagnosis before doing anything else. Take the side panel off your computer and with a flash light, look at the capacitors on the motherboard. I'm giving you a link to a picture that shows good capacitors and bad capacitors for a comparison. Do you see any capacitors on your board that don't look like the good capacitors? NOTE: a bad capacitor doesn't have to appear to be leaking. Also look for a bulging top on a capacitor. Here's another example. In this picture, every single capacitor is bad. The capacitors closest to the camera are the worst looking, but the rest are bulged and are just as damaged as the capacitors leaking the brown substance. That is what you'll be looking for.

If ANY capacitor is showing signs of being bad, your issue is very highly being caused by that. Capacitors help keep voltages on a motherboard stable and at a steady flow. When a capacitor goes bad, it can no longer keep a voltage stable and often the voltage may go out of the operating range for a component, causing the computer to lock up.

If you find a bad capacitor, the board needs to be worked on or simply just replaced. If you fix/replace the board, I highly suggest changing out the power supply as well as the power supply is often the item that causes capacitors on a motherboard to go out in the first place. Heat can also make capacitors to go bad, so when you check for the condition of the capacitors, if the computer has any dust, now is a grand opportunity to take an air compressor and blow out all the dust (do not vacuum, as sucking dust will be extremely ineffective from actually removing the dust from the components that actually need to be cleaned). Be sure you do that outside as a lot of dust can come out of a computer if it hasn't been cleaned in a while.

Other things to take into account are things like an overclocked computer. This brings up the issue of the operating voltage range. When a computer is overclocked, voltages often have to be tweaked to meet with the higher power demands of the processor. If the voltage is too low, the computer can randomly freeze, if the voltage is too high, the processor can fry. I don't think you have a too high of a voltage problem at least processor-wise.

Other things to try are simply another mouse, another port, say there is damage either that is causing a short in a component. You can also try using the computer with no mouse for testing purposes. Try doing as much as you can with the keyboard without a mouse hooked up. You can still open programs using the Tab key for "item" navigation, using the Start key for program access, using the arrow keys for going through the menu, just see how your computer performs. If the computer ends up freezing with just the keyboard hooked up, you know there is something else going on.

For now, if nothing above helps you, you can always ask a follow-up question to me to continue the diagnosis.

Hope this helps, have a great day!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your detailed response. Yet my issue persists after following your instructions.

I checked my capacitors, and they are all good - Shiny clean.

The Power supply is good, 300 watts, and was refurbed by the shop I normally would take my unit in for repairs. He is quite competent.

I don't believe it's a mouse issue. It's just that the freeze occurs whenever the mouse has done an action, i.e.:
-Clicked on a hyperlink on my Firefox Brouser
-Hovered over a hyperlink (as i move my mouse to a different link altogether, or as I am reading using my cursor to follow my read)in Firefox
-Click on a drop down menu in Outlook (so it's not a Firefox issue)

Extra info:
-I did have 2 occurrences where when I clicked on a link, my monitors(I have 2) both lost signal, causing me to reboot back to normal.
-And in the recent past, walked in one morning to find the Blue Screen of Death. I rebooted, and it wanted to do a disc check (i have 2 hard drives). I ignored it and it started up fine (still had the freeze issue), and then next reboot asked again to disc check which I did. After an elongated time doing that, it returned to normal after that.


Well based on the information you've updated me with, you could have an issue with the hard disk drive, you could have faulty RAM,  or you could ~still have an unstable power issue.

Hard drive: I had experienced a computer with failing sectors on the disk itself, and every time it would try to read a bad sector, it would lock up, really, regardless of what I was doing. If you can do a disk check and see if it reports anything on bad sectors.

RAM: If the RAM is faulty, random data could be lost and the lock ups that you're experiencing can be the result. It is worth checking out. You can test your RAM with a tool called Memtest86 which you can download and burn to a CD or USB drive. The website to download the small program is available here: Instructions on how to make the program bootable off of said CD or USB drive located here:

Power supply: You mentioned the power supply was rated for 300 watts. That is the standard amount in a stock computer and if any upgrades have been done to the computer, there is a possibility the power supply is being pushed to its limit, causing a lack of power in one or more components, making it unstable. Even if 300 watts is a little more than the system is using, if the power supply is older, it could have a loss of efficiency, making it being able to only supply, say 260 watts at a steady rate.

I'm not saying anything against the computer guy you have do your work normally, but I doubt he/she takes apart the power supplies to check for good condition capacitors, just as I had you check on your motherboard. I've worked on many computers that appeared to work fine but had a power supply that lost one or two of its capacitors and though it was giving a somewhat steady voltage at the time of testing, I'm sure it was not 100%. If you end up taking your computer to your local computer guy, just be sure to bring that up in conversation. Have him test your power supply under a load and see if all the voltages read as they should.

If all of the above is unable to help you, there is not much else I can do without seeing the computer in person, of which we both know is not really feasible.

I hope I was of some help. If you find out any more information, go ahead and let me know and I will try to assist you further. If you are able to find the solution or your local computer guy is able to find it, let me know what the issue was so I can study the possible causes/preventions to help people in the future.

Have a great day!

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I can answer most questions regarding installation of Windows XP, speed optimization, recommended minimal installation specifications, any hardware issues you may encounter, dual booting, best anti-virus software to go with without spending a dime, and much more. If you'd like to dual boot any Linux OS with your Windows XP, I can guide you through that as well. If it is not related to Windows XP, please choose another expert who can help you.


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