The Story of the Slow Mouse Button

Computer mice can be difficult. Some time ago I wrote about my notebook occasionally behaving strangely, which drove me crazy. I suspected all sorts of issues until I finally realized that the second Bluetooth mouse in my backpack was responsible for the erratic behavior. Now I have another mouse story that was equally baffling: An occasionally slow right mouse button.

For a while, and only occasionally, my Ubuntu 22.04 reacted very sluggishly when I pressed the right mouse button for context menus and other things. Sometimes, it just took a while for the menu to appear, sometimes I had to press the button twice before something happened at all. In all of these instances, the behavior was consistent for some time and nothing seemed to help. Not switching the mouse off and on again, not logging-out and in again, no restart of the GUI and no reboot of the notebook improved the situation. But after some time, the behavior vanished and everything was all right again for some time. I really hate such inconsistencies.

When the problem appeared again one day, I plugged in a traditional non-Bluetooth wireless mouse and noticed that I had no problem with that device, while the Bluetooth mouse continued to give me problems. So I started to suspect a combination of Ubuntu and the Bluetooth stack to play shenanigans with me. Restarting the Bluetooth stack didn’t help. And even more frustrating, the Internet knew nothing about such a problem.

Then one day, with rising frustration, I connected a second identical Bluetooth mouse to the notebook when the problem with the right mouse button occurred again. And to my great surprise the right mouse button just worked fine while the mouse button on the other identical mouse that was also still connected reacted sluggishly. Wow, a hardware error!?

Fortunately, the mouse could be disassembled. Incredible at this day and age. When switching the mouse on while I could directly press the physical button rather than the plastic cover of the button, I could reproduce the sluggish effect again. I then used canned air to see if perhaps some dust got in the way of the connector inside the mechanical button. And indeed this fixed the problem. Dust in the button, another first. Incredible!

One thought on “The Story of the Slow Mouse Button”

  1. I thought some great technical mystery would have been the reason. But at times, simple things like dust could keep us on our toes. Ha ha …

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