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Issue #854: December 3 – 9, 2023

Q: All of a sudden, my computer has started uncontrolled scrolling. It happens occasionally in searches, and frequently when I open file manager and am looking for a particular folder or drive. Those are just annoying, but when I open Excel workbooks scroll to the right quickly so cannot work my data. I have replaced batteries in mouse and removed and reinstalled the dongle, and I have tried others mice with different dongle with same result. I have also replaced keyboard batteries and tried using the scroll lock button with no result. I have tried the same excel workbooks on my laptop, and there they are fine.

– Fred M.
Niceville, Florida

A:  Well, Fred, I can sure see how it would make it difficult to impossible to use your computer if your cursor periodically goes shooting off across a window, dragging your scroll bar along with it.

When I first read your question, I thought of times this has happened to me.  On these occasions, it was because of the scroll wheel on my mouse.  Probably not what you’re thinking though.  Many, if not most mice with a scroll wheel have a feature where you can click the wheel as a button, as opposed to rolling it. When you do this, the cursor changes to a circle with two little arrows in it, and the moving the mouse causes the window to scroll.  The farther up or down you move the cursor from the point where you clicked the wheel, the faster the windows scrolls.  If you’re unaware of the feature or how it works, it could surely appear as if your system is scrolling out of control.  I can’t help but wonder if it’s possible that this is occurring with yours?

Even if the mouse-wheel trick mentioned above isn’t the cause, it’s more likely than not that the problem is connected in some way to the mouse, since that human interface device is primarily responsible for initiating scrolling activity in Windows. No, I haven’t forgotten the keyboard’s role in scrolling, but if the problem was with the keyboard, I suspect you’d be having a lot more problems than just annoying scrolling.

Beyond the so-called “normal” behavior of your hardware is, of course, the abnormal.  In this realm you have to consider whether you have the correct driver for both the mouse and the version of Windows you’re running.  You also have to consider whether the problem may be caused by the presence of malware (though personally I’ve never heard of malware that makes your windows scroll crazily, but there’s a first time for everything, right).  Finally, on the most distant end of the spectrum, it’s possible that something in Windows itself has become corrupted, and like any fine poltergeist, is manifesting itself as an annoying problem with uncommanded scrolling.

I’m afraid there’s no simple answer I can provide for you based on a simple description in an e-mail.  However, I did some poking around online, and I found many instances of other people with similar, or even the exact same issue.  Digging a little deeper, I found a very comprehensive discussion on Microsoft’s community discussion boards, wherein a user shared many possible avenues to explore in search of a fix, one of which ultimately fixed the issue.  Check it out over at TinyURL.com/IGTM-0854. Good luck, and Happy Computing!


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