Okay, I have a really weird computer problem. I’m not so much interested in fixing it as I am interested in understanding why it’s happening.
I have a Dell laptop that’s about 4 years old. Sometimes in the evenings I lie on the futon in the living room and play computer games on it. Sometimes while I’m playing computer games our dog needs to be let out so I get up, let him out, and lie back down again. And sometimes when I do this, my mouse stops working.
When the mouse fails its laser goes dark and the computer throws up a message saying the USB port doesn’t recognize the device that’s connected to it. This message keeps popping up intermittently, even if I unplug the mouse.
The only way to fix the mouse when this happens is to shut down the computer, unplug it, and** take out the battery** so that it’s completely powered down. Then, when it reboots it recognizes the mouse as though nothing ever happened. If I just shut down and restart the computer without removing power, it resumes popping up the “I don’t recognize that USB device” message as soon as it finishes booting.
The problem is not caused by leaving the mouse idle. I can leave the mouse untouched for a long time while I read something without it happening. It only happens when I get up to deal with the dog and lay back down again.
Often it seems to happen right as I lay down to resume using the computer. I’m not touching the computer yet, but at the moment I lay down the laser goes dark and the computer pops up the error message.
It doesn’t seem connected to how the USB plug sits in the port. I can wiggle it around without causing the problem.
It’s not related to one particular game, or even any game at all. It sometimes happens when I’m surfing the web.
It has occasionally happened in other circumstances, like when I’m sitting at a table at a coffee shop. But that’s much, much rarer.
It seems to happen more in the winter than the summer. Although I live in L.A. so its not like there’s a huge difference.
I suspect that somehow static electricity is screwing up the ground of the USB port. But I can’t figure out how laying down next to the laptop without touching it could do that. It is a mystery.