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Issue #654: February 2-8, 2020

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Q: We have a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop that developed an annoying problem. Every three seconds or so, the mouse cursor and keyboard will delay (lag) for a second or two. In other applications, the “system busy wheel” will also stutter. This has happened once before after a Windows 10 update. We rolled back to the previous version and it was fine. It updated to the new version with no issues. With the current lag, there wasn’t a recent Windows update. We’ve tried various fixes:

  • Turned off non-MS background processes in System config
  • Ran MS trouble shooter
  • Updated all drivers
  • Switched the mouse (this wouldn’t impact the keyboard issue but hey, we tried everything)
  • Verified MS one drive synch is off (we never enabled synch)
  • Reloaded Windows via the restore function.
  • Ran Dell Assist diagnostics (came back clean)
  • Searched your “its Geek to me” articles

Other things to note:

  • The issue doesn’t happen in SAFE Mode but does happen with a “clean boot.”
  • We don’t have a previous restore point or versions of Windows to roll back to as a restore option.
  • We took the laptop to a computer repair service. They also reloaded Windows but could not fix the issue.
  • I believe there is plenty of drive storage and RAM.

    Any guidance will be appreciated.

– Paul D.
Niceville, Florida

A: I have seen this problem before, Paul, and you’re right – it is awfully annoying.  The wait cursor as this is called is intended to inform you of some process that is taking place that blocks your ability to use your computer.  We both know that there shouldn’t be such a process running every three seconds.

I must say, you have an impressive list of things you’ve checked and tried to fix this.  It seems like there is very little that I can add to that. 

 Since I am always harping on the importance of ensuring that your driver are up-to-date this might seem counterintuitive, but you might want to check to see if this problem started after a driver update.  Software engineers can, and do, make mistakes I their work, and sometimes introduce anomalous behavior into the software.  So, while something such as a new driver might fix a compatibility issue, it might also accidentally introduce a problem.

For an example of this that applies directly to you, check out the thread at TinyURL.com/IGTM-0654. Here is someone who has the same model computer as you, with the same problem, and seems to have solve it by falling back to an older version of the driver for his system’s Radeon HD 8400, which is the graphics card.

I wish I had more information for you.  But as I said, you’ve covered all the bases in what you’ve already tried.  Hopefully, you’ll be able to find something in those drivers that will work it out for you.  Good luck.

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