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ubersiren's avatar

Why does my laptop do this sometimes and how can I fix it?

Asked by ubersiren (15140points) May 7th, 2010

It’s a crappy old Dell Latitude D600. Every couple of days or so, I’ll be typing and clicking as normal, and suddenly I can’t click on anything. The cursor will still move, but it doesn’t allow me to actually click. Nothing happens when I try. BUT- if I click off of the screen, onto the desktop, it’s fine for a few clicks. Then it goes back to not being able to click. Then, it’ll go back to normal after a while.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

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11 Answers

RedPowerLady's avatar

How long has it been since you cleaned your computer? I mean internally like a disk defrag, clear cache and cookies, all that jazz.

ubersiren's avatar

Hmm, well I’ve only had the computer for a year, and I did all that when I got it- it was a hand-me-down. I just removed some programs that were on it that I never use. Perhaps I’ll have to defrag again? How often should I be doing that? I also don’t download music or anything on this computer. I basically only use it for online.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I’m not sure that even is the answer. My little brother is a computer guru. Half the time he comes to fix my computer that is what he starts with and what works. I really don’t know how often it should be done, only that when you are having “problems” you should do that, update everything, and scan for spyware and viruses.

mrentropy's avatar

what “screen” are you clicking off of when you say you click on the desktop and it starts working again?

Does the hard drive light start flashing a lot when it doesn’t accept your clicks?

ubersiren's avatar

@mrentropy The browser screen. If I drag the page to the side a little when I first open it, and let some of the desktop show, I can click on the desk top to “refresh” the ability to click. Does that make sense? There aren’t any more frequent light flashes when I try to click.

the100thmonkey's avatar

When a computer totally locks up, it’s usually very serious. However, yours is not doing that – the mouse till moves.

I used to get a similar symptom on my netbook when it was running Ubuntu. Ultimately, the cause was the disk – a small SSD – being overwhelmed by the amount of data that the OS was trying to write and read at the same time. I think this is what @mrentropy is getting at – hard drive activity.

What’s the operating system?

For the record, in my opinion, a Windows drive should be defragged at least once a month.

I’d also second what @RedPowerLady suggested – clear your internet cache; if it’s too large it will cause a laggy browser.

mrentropy's avatar

@ubersiren Yeah, clearing the cache may do something. What browser are you using?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Get a knowledgeable friend to show you how to do maintenance on your system. You need to know how to do it regularly. Backup your important files too.

ubersiren's avatar

@mrentropy Firefox.

@Dr_Lawrence I can get my husband to do that… he’s a programmer and usually knows his stuff. I just hate to bug him with computer stuff when he’s been working on one 10 hours a day, you know? I thought I’d try asking here first. Should I need to clean/defrag it out even if I rarely download something? I use my computer for nothing but internet. No documents, no music/video, nothing else.

mrentropy's avatar

In the Start menu (or its equivelent in whatever OS you’re using) under the Mozilla Firefox entry there should be a “safe mode” that you can run. Run it and see if it still does the pausing bit. If it stops pausing, disable all your plugins and add-ons in regular mode and see if the freezing stops.

Oddly enough, my mother has the same problem with Firefox but I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet.

ubersiren's avatar

@mrentropy Ok, I will try that. It happens so sporadically that I won’t know if it actually helps for a while. Sometimes it’ll go a few weeks without happening. Thanks for your suggestions!

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