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500 votes

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

This is because of a flaw in the way Windows 95 generates events, and the fact that many applications are event driven. Windows 95 applications often use asynchronous I/O, that is they ask for some ...
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104 votes

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

Yes, it's a real effect resulting in causing a measurable speed up and can be reproduced at will: Try opening a large file with Notepad on a contemporary machine. The window must not be full screen. ...
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67 votes

Was there a specific benefit to inverted (XOR) mouse cursors other than aesthetics?

XORing a cursor into a frame buffer (which is what you seem to be calling "inverted cursor") is actually simpler than ORing it in there: when the cursor has to be removed again (to move to ...
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58 votes
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Did the computer mouse always output relative x/y and not absolute?

The first mouse tracked relative motion along two axes, and as far as I know all standalone mice produced since have followed suit. It would be difficult to build and use a mouse relying on absolute ...
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41 votes

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

It wasn't just Windows 95, but Windows 3.x as well, even though they work very differently. Other answers talk about pre-emptive multitasking, so let's first clarify this: Window 3.x was using ...
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33 votes
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How did early computers handle mice?

How exactly did early computers like the Amiga, Atari ST and Macintosh handle the mouse while also carrying out demanding tasks? In case of Amiga and Atari ST it was achieved by not low level ...
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  • 174k
32 votes

Did the original MS-DOS Quake not have a menu item for freelook, and if so, why?

Answering the first part: why does Quake not have +mlook by default? John Romero thought mouselook was too advanced to be the default. https://twitter.com/romero/status/719115335488708608 John Romero:...
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31 votes

Was there a specific benefit to inverted (XOR) mouse cursors other than aesthetics?

On Windows (1.x), at least, it's no more work to have this style of cursor than the normal sort. A Windows cursor is formed of two bitmaps: A mask that blanks out the shape of the cursor, and a ...
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28 votes

Did the computer mouse always output relative x/y and not absolute?

It was by no means a mass market device, but Hayward and Ramstein's Pantograph (1993) encoded linkage positions as absolute coordinates. It also provided force feedback, and could ‘drive’ itself based ...
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  • 17.2k
26 votes

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

The reason is because of how WM_TIMER is limited to 15.6ms intervals by default. If you call SetTimer() with a 1ms interval it will still be called in 15.6ms intervals. WM_TIMER drives a lot of stuff ...
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21 votes

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

Raymond Chen from Microsoft has a great answer on his blog: One danger of the MsgWaitForMultipleObjects function is calling it when there are already messages waiting to be processed, because ...
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20 votes

Commodore Mouse not recognized by a Commodore PC30-III 286 machine

Since your mouse has three buttons, it won’t use the same protocol as Microsoft mice (at least, in three-button mode), and won’t be fully supported by the Microsoft driver. Presumably the mouse was ...
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19 votes

Identify an early 90s optical mouse

Graphics digitisers like this were not optical, they were magnetic. The tablet contained a grid of wires which encoded a small magnetic signal. You moved either a stylus or, as you say, a device with ...
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  • 7,609
19 votes
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Will any serial mouse connect to Classic Macs?

The pre-ADB Macintoshes use a simple quadrature-encoded mouse input, no formal serial protocol. Quadrature encoding is a simple, physical process, that lends itself to a convenient cheat if you're ...
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18 votes
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Identify an early 90s optical mouse

I think you are referring to what was back then called a digitizer. I believe they were mainly for CAD, but maybe someone who has experience with one could explain how they were used. At first when I ...
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18 votes
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How can I adapt a modern mouse for use with Amiga?

Some of the most available adapters which allow to connect a "modern" mouse to an Amiga are: Real USB mouse and joystick: The Ryś MK II. This is a very flexible device which supports not ...
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18 votes
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Which pointing devices were used by early laptop computers?

One alternative to the trackpoint was a trackball, either below the screen (as in the Macintosh Portable), or next to the screen (as in the Compaq LTE Lite). When the trackball was next to the screen ...
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17 votes

Why did moving the mouse cursor cause Windows 95 to run more quickly?

Arguably, this is a common bug in early software based on an event-processing loop rather than a Windows bug: if some DD-paths of the loop only process a single event, then every time when two events ...
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15 votes

Did the computer mouse always output relative x/y and not absolute?

Some of the HP Omnibook series of laptops and sub-notebooks from the mid 1990s had a curious pop-out “mouse on a stick”: While hardly part of the original mouse timeline dating back to the 1960s, ...
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14 votes
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Xerox Parc and the three-button mouse

On the Alto, the buttons’ functions vary with the program currently being used and the location of the cursor. The Users’ Handbook describes the functions in the default applications, using colours ...
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  • 96.6k
14 votes

How did early computers handle mice?

It's rather simple, the earliest mice were just outputting digital pulses from a quadrature encoder, and these pulses were not counted in software but hardware. How it basically works is that for each ...
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  • 17.9k
13 votes

A way to connect Microsoft Green-Eyed mouse to modern computer?

Is there a way to connect the 1983 Microsoft "Green-eyed" mouse to a modern PC or preferably Mac (running Windows on virtual machine)? That depends a lot on the type of green-eyed mouse and OS to use ...
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  • 174k
13 votes
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How do I use my adapted PS2 keyboard & mouse on a windows 10 computer?

I want to find a way, using software, to interface my laptop and the PS/2 keyboard/mouse using the adapters I bought. Assuming you want to use the passive PS2-to-USB adapter you just bought to plug ...
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  • 21.9k
12 votes
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How can I detect mouse wheel movement in QuickBasic?

By the time mice wheels became widely available (starting with the Microsoft IntelliMouse; the Genius EasyScroll was earlier, but we can ignore that here), support for DOS was a secondary concern, and ...
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12 votes
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Did the original BBC Micro computer come with a mouse?

No, the original BBC Micro came with no peripherals at all. It came in a box with room for the computer itself: and a cable and introductory material: The cut-out in the lower part that seems to be ...
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11 votes

Which pointing devices were used by early laptop computers?

One uncommon pointing device was the J Mouse. Zenith had it on some of their laptops. I remember seeing a laptop with this back in the early 90's. Another uncommon pointing device was the mouse on ...
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  • 4,396
11 votes

Was there a specific benefit to inverted (XOR) mouse cursors other than aesthetics?

That makes me wonder if there was some reason for it other than individual preferences? Oh yes! Historically it even predates modern desktop systems, as the inverted mouse cursor was already part of ...
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  • 174k
10 votes
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How to clean an old computer ball-mouse

For the mouse ball, remove it and clean the rollers with some rubbing alcohol and a q-tip or if its really grungy, pick the crud off with your fingers first. The ball itself can usually just be wiped ...
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  • 4,062
10 votes

Did the computer mouse always output relative x/y and not absolute?

I am experimenting with a graphics pen and tablet and it got me thinking about the difference between it and my mouse. One huge difference is that the tablet's working area covers the whole screen, ...
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  • 174k
10 votes
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How did the BBC sideways ROM software for the AMX mouse process the user port input data to determine x and y movement?

Trying to get more into the specifics of the BBC connection, there is a substantial hint in the user guide: However only 5 bits of the [user] port, and CB1, CB2 are used: This leaves bits 1,3 and 4 ...
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