My mouse pointer kept getting stuck between monitors in Windows 8.1

My mouse pointer kept getting stuck at the edge between monitors
My mouse pointer kept getting stuck at the edge between monitors

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a strange behaviour with Windows 8.1. I have two monitors and whenever I tried to move the mouse between them my mouse pointer got stuck in the middle.

I would have to back up the mouse pointer then move it really quickly to get over the ‘hump’, and reach the next monitor.

Not the charms bar

At first I thought it may be caused by the Windows 8 charms bar. So I switched off the top-right corner navigation under Charms bar > Settings > Change PC settings > PC and devices > Corners and edges.

But it turned out not to be that. The mouse pointer blocking behaviour continued.

Not ModernMix

My attention then turned to ModernMix™, a Windows 8 application from Stardock that allows Modern (Metro) apps to run in a standard window on your desktop.

I had noticed this behaviour only after I had installed ModernMix, so I reasoned that it must have caused it. And sure enough uninstalling ModernMix seemed to stop the behaviour… until I rebooted the PC.

But I didn’t discover this until after I had emailed Stardock support.

Registry hack fixes it

Stardock support were incredibly helpful. The following day I received this reply:

While I can reproduce what you are seeing, I can do so without MM installed. It seems it is a thing with 8.1:

http://winaero.com/blog/fix-mouse-pointer-sticks-on-the-edge-when-moving-between-multiple-monitors/

Please let us know if you should have any further questions/concerns.

And sure enough, the Winaero blog had the solution:

  1. Open Registry Editor (Ctrl + R, then type: regedit)
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Control Panel \ Desktop
  3. If there is not a DWORD (32-bit) Value called MouseMonitorEscapeSpeed then create one and assign it a value of 1.
  4. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftware \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ ImmersiveShell \ EdgeUI.
  5. If there is not a DWORD (32-bit) Value called MouseMonitorEscapeSpeed then create one and assign it a value of 1.
  6. Reboot Windows, or restart the Explorer shell.

Windows 7 sidebar

Windows 7 dual-monitor with gadgets
Windows 7 dual-monitor with gadgets

Back in October 2006 I wrote about how to create a new toolbar in Windows XP. For the last year I’ve been using Windows 7 Professional and for some inexplicable reason, in their wisdom the Microsoft boffins removed the ability to create new toolbars that can be docked apart from the main taskbar.

They must have thought that the new Windows 7 toolbar was enough. It’s not. While you can still create new toolbars, you just can’t separate them from the main Windows 7 taskbar.

What I liked about the XP toolbar I wrote in my original post four years ago:

The toolbar is always on top, meaning that when I’m running a maximized application (that is, full-screen), such as Outlook, the toolbar is still visible on the right-hand side of my screen.

No alternative

But to date I have not yet found an alternative that does what I want.  I’ve tried ObjectDock, OrbitDock, RocketDock, Google Desktop and a bunch of others and none of them worked the way I wanted them to: a toolbar of shortcuts that always sits on top, reserving its own space so that maximized applications don’t obscure it.

7 Sidebar

While I was looking for an alternative shortcuts toolbar I stumbled across the 7 Sidebar gadget for Windows 7.

One of the genuinely cool things about Windows Vista, in my opinion, was the sidebar: an always-on-top area of the screen onto which you could add gadgets. While Windows 7 kept the gadgets it ditched the dockable sidebar.  Again … come on boffins! Couldn’t you just have made it an option?

So, some genius from Germany has written a Windows 7 gadget that emulates the original Windows Vista sidebar: a gadget that will allow you to install gadgets within it. And the great thing is that it has a “Show sidebar always on top” option.

Which got me thinking: what if I could use the 7 Sidebar gadget to both

  1. Hold my Windows 7 gadgets so that I can see them even when I have an application maximized.
  2. Reserve the right-hand screen space and use RocketDock to manage my shortcuts above the 7 Sidebar.  Like this:
RocketDock shortcuts over 7 gadget sidebar
RocketDock shortcuts over Windows 7 “7 Sidebar” gadget

So that’s what I did and it’s working great, both at work (Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, 3 monitors) and home (Windows 7 Professional, 32-bit, 2 monitors).

Update

In response to a comment: the desktop clock featured on my desktop and in the Sidebar is called Transparent Customisable Desktop Clock.

Update 2: Fix

Sometimes when I start up my PC the gadgets are not working. There are a couple of things I’ve had to do in the past to fix these.

Simple fix

Most of the time this simple fix works:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to bring up the Windows Task Manager.
  2. On the Processes tab locate and select “sidebar.exe”.
  3. Click on End Process.
  4. Wait for the process to end and disappear from the list.
  5. Right-click an empty point on the Windows desktop and select Gadgets from the context-menu. Your gadgets should now reappear.

Complex fix

Occasionally the above fix doesn’t work and I have to do the following:

  1. Click Start, and then click All Programs.
  2. Click Accessories, right-click Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. At the command prompt, type the following commands. Press ENTER after each command.Regsvr32 atl.dll
    Regsvr32 "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Sidebar\sbdrop.dll"
    Regsvr32 "%ProgramFiles%\Windows Sidebar\wlsrvc.dll"
    exit
  4. Restart the computer.

WordPress 3.0.1 not publishing scheduled posts

Back in May I published a post about WordPress 2.9 not publishing scheduled posts. Recently I did an automatic update to WordPress 3.0.1 … and guess what: scheduled posting has been broken once again.

I’ll try the method I used before, which was to delete all the core WordPress files and upload them again manually, but in the meantime I found this WordPress plugin has done the job: Missed Scheduled.

By default the plugin is set to run every 15 minutes, but I’ve changed mine to 2 minutes by editing line 12:

define('MISSEDSCHEDULED_DELAY', 2); // Number is in minutes, change it according to your needs

If it turns out that uploading the files manually fixes the issue again I guess I’ll be running manual upgrades in future.