A few weeks ago I started experiencing an incredibly frustrating problem on my laptop. When I clicked the mouse, instead of responding with a single-click (e.g. to select an item), it acted as if I double-clicked the mouse button.

At first I thought that I was simply losing control of my motor reflexes (in other words, I was mistakenly double-clicking when I meant to single-click). However, over time I began to experience the issue more and more frequently -- almost to the point where it was endangering my sanity. No matter how carefully I clicked the mouse, a double-click response would occur.

You can imagine how frustrating this would be when you are trying to drag-and-drop mail messages from your inbox to another folder, or even worse, when you click the delete button in the Outlook toolbar and suddenly two messages are deleted instead of just the one you intended.

It got so bad that while I was performing a demo for the CIO on my current project, I had to use the integrated touchpad on the laptop instead of the external mouse, for fear of embarrassing myself. [If you've ever seen my laptop, you would know that I actually cover the touchpad (with a slightly trimmed business card) in order to avoid mistakenly triggering a mouse click while I am typing. I considered disabling it altogether, but there are rare occasions when I actually use it -- since long ago my daughter tore off the little rubber "cap" on the pointer device in the middle of the keyboard. There was just something about that little "blue dot" that she couldn't resist.]

I did a quick Internet search to see if anyone else had experienced similar issues and I discovered that I certainly wasn't the only one to endure this nightmare. Several sources -- including KB 266738 -- suggested that the problem was due to the mouse drivers being defective. Some people also stated that the IntelliPoint software was "crap" and should be avoided altogether. Hmmm...that didn't seem right, because the software was working fine for me for several years.

Nevertheless, I tried removing the IntelliPoint software altogether, but the problem still occurred. I then reinstalled IntelliPoint, desperately hoping the problem would miraculously go away.

It didn't.

At that point, I trekked down to the basement and dug out an old wireless mouse that I used on my desktop before switching to my current trackball. After inserting a couple of fresh AA batteries, I plugged the receiver for the wireless mouse into my laptop and, voilà...problem solved!

I've been using the replacement mouse for almost two weeks now and have yet to experience even one unintended double-click.

So, the lesson here is that while I love my IntelliMouse, it certainly has a strange way of failing after years of use and thousands (or perhaps tens of thousands) of clicks.

Hopefully this post saves at least one person the days of anguish that I experienced in Double-Click Purgatory.