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.
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:
Yesterday morning when I booted up my PC I was greeted with this error message:
Initialization of SteelSeries Engine failed.
Please reinstall Engine and try again.
Not again! I thought. I’d experienced this before and had needed to get help from SteelSeries tech support to resolve it. I suspected that it had been caused by a recent Windows 8 update, but I don’t know for sure.
Here is how I resolved it:
Clear temp files
In Windows Explorer I typed %temp% into the address bar and pressed Enter. This is a shortcut to C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local\Temp. I selected all files and deleted them. (A few files are still in use so just skip past these.)
Close SSEngine.exe process
The next step is to make sure the SteelSeries Engine process isn’t still running. Ctrl+Shift+Esc brings up the Task Manager. If the SSEngine.exe process is still running (under the Processes tab) then close it.
In Control Panel > Programs and Features uninstall the SteelSeries Engine application.
In Windows Explorer, in the address bar, type %appdata%. This is a shortcut for C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Roaming. Locate the directory called SteelSeries and delete it.
Do the same at C:\Users\[USERNAME]\AppData\Local. The directory there for me is called SteelSeries_ApS. Delete it.
Unplug the mouse from its USB port. Wait 10 seconds then plug it back in.
Download drivers Now download fresh drivers from SteelSeries support. Do not rely on previously-downloaded drivers.
Install as administrator
Right click the installer and select ‘Run as administrator’, then follow the on-screen instructions and install the drivers.
You should now find that your computer reboots without any initialization error message.
As well as reinstalling the Engine drivers I also took the opportunity to upgrade the mouse’s firmware.
It was then just a case of recreating my custom profile to make my mouse behave as much like a Microsoft Intellimouse Optical as possible (left-hand side buttons: back; right-hand side buttons: forward), as well as setting two sensor speeds (red 1600 dcpi for me, blue 800 dcpi for the children).