Please exorcise my iMac.
September 20, 2008 12:26 AM   Subscribe

My aluminum iMac (running Leopard 10.5) is sporadically possessed by Satan. At least, that's the only thing I can think of.

So I've been having glitches with my iMac that aren't easy to explain, but I'll give it a try. These symptoms happen across several different programs, as well as system windows, and they all seem to be related, at least in that I notice them when I use the mouse to navigate around.

In no particular order:

1) When I try to move a window (FF, Finder, iTunes), and left-click and hold at the top of a window, the window will minimize instead of move.

2) In iTunes, if I want to select an audio track or podcast to move to my mp3 player, instead of just highlighting, the track will start playing. Also, while holding down the Apple key, I can't select multiple tracks.

Also in iTunes, if I click on a category (podcasts, music) on the left-hand side, a new iTunes window pops up out of nowhere, and the category I clicked doesn't even select.

3) If I want to select text in my FF browser, the highlighted text is schizophrenic and will only highlight sort of random bits of text. This is hard to describe, but for example if I click on a word, it should show a flashing cursor inbetween letters, but maybe a whole word, a couple of words, a whole line, a whole paragraph highlights with one click.

4) When playing videos in VLC, the advance forward button will actually rewind the video to the beginning.

5) When I click a drop-down menu, say the volume bar at the top of the screen, instead of the slider appearing, it just flashes a second and disappears. I discovered a solution to this is to click multiple times, then it will at some point appear and stay, which is driving me nutty.

6) There are some more that I can't think of but I hope you get the gist.

This happened briefly a few months ago, but after a simple reboot seemed to go away on its own. This time it's much more pervasive. All the problems I listed above I can kind of "sneak up on" it, click very slowly and deliberately, but it's highly annoying. I have all the current updates from Apple.

So what's wrong? Might I have a virus? I thought that was almost impossible for a Mac. Thanks for reading this whole thing; if you have any ideas how to fix this I'd be grateful.
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Most of these symptoms sound like you're somehow clicking twice everywhere you want to click once. Have you tried plugging in a different mouse?
posted by wanderingmind at 12:37 AM on September 20, 2008

Agreed that these sound like unintentional double clicks. (Symptom #1 suggests you have the "Minimize when double-clicking a window title bar" option checked in Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Appearance.)

Check your double-click speed in System Preferences -> Keyboard and Mouse. If it's set for "slow", 2 clicks may register as a double-click even with a couple seconds gap between. Drag the slider over to "fast".

If the problem isn't there, try another mouse.
posted by teg at 12:52 AM on September 20, 2008

Yeah... 10:1 it's your mouse.
posted by reflecked at 12:56 AM on September 20, 2008

Yes every one of these behaviors is consistent with double (or triple, etc) clicking what you're intending to single-click.

If you have another mouse around that you can use, try that for a while and see if the symptoms persist. There is an extremely high likelihood that they won't, because the mouse is faulty.

Still under warranty, I hope -- or you can just pick up any usb/bluetooth/whatever mouse in the world and use that instead. I, myself, do not like the Mighty Mouse that came with your computer anyways. My Kensington Ci20 treats me alright, though.

If the symptoms persist even with a different mouse, though, that most likely indicates some software weirdness. If that's the case (which is unlikely, for this type of symptom, but certainly not impossible), try the following.

Go to the Apple menu in the top-left, choose "System Preferences", and go to the "Keyboard & Mouse" panel. There should be a "Mighty Mouse" selection in that panel -- click that and see if somehow the settings for your mouse have been inadvertently set wrong. It is possible to set your left (or right or whatever) click to invoke a double-click, see if that's what happened somehow.

If the settings in System Preferences seem normal, try creating a new "test" user account and using that, and seeing if the problem persists. To do this, from System Preferences click "Accounts", then click the lock icon in the bottom left and authenticate with your password, click the + icon just above the lock, and create a "test" user with whatever login/password you want. Go back to the Apple menu in the top left and Log Out your user, then log in with your "test" user. See if the same things are happening.
posted by churl at 1:03 AM on September 20, 2008

You are all right. It was my mouse. A fancy super-mouse bought just this year, so I never suspected it could be the problem. Forest for the trees, et. al. I borrowed a spare mouse from a friend and problem solved. Thanks, everyone!
posted by zardoz at 2:52 AM on September 20, 2008

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