Mac Hardware forum


How to stop black options box appearing when mouse points?

by paulswann / July 20, 2012 5:09 AM PDT


I've been a Mac user for 20 years and know my way around fairly well, but have a problem I'm struggling to resolve.

I have an Intel Mac Mini with OSX 10.6.8, a Logitech wifi keyboard and a Windows Optical Mouse. No problems until recently when a box has started appearing when I point the mouse.

For instance, if I click on the Mail icon the box appears with several options including Get Mail, Compose New Message, Compose New Note, Options, Show and Force Quit. If I hover over an option it turns blue but in some cases nothing happens.

Same with the other apps: with Safari, a black box appears with New Window, Options, Show, Force Quit. With Text Edit it's just Options and Open.

How on earth do I get rid of this? It's preventing me from using the machine at all.

I've done the obvious stuff, like checked preferences, updated the Windows mouse driver (it doesn't appear to be a mouse problem as the same thing happens with a USB mouse).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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All Answers

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Sounds exactly like you are RIGHT clicking
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 20, 2012 8:09 AM PDT

on those icons. Those options are exactly what I get when I Right Click those icons.

What you see are the contextual menus that have appeared for years, even before the Mac had a two button mouse.

Check the settings for your optical mouse and go from there.


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May have solved the problem
by paulswann / July 20, 2012 8:53 PM PDT

You're right, the left click was acting like a right click. But I think you've indirectly helped me sort it out, so thanks!

I went back to systems preferences to re-check the settings and noticed that Microsoft Intelimouse preferences wouldn't only gave an option to delete the preferences. So I did that and reinstalled, but had the same problem...I couldn't access the preferences.

I then checked the Keyboard preferences. I recently started using a Logitech K750 keyboard but found in Keyboard>Modifier Keys that Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop was selected. I chose the alternative "USB Receiver" instead and the problem went away.

It's been an intermittent problem (just like the intermittent power loss problem on my Peugeot 306!) so I'm keeping my fingers crossed it doesn't reappear. If it does you'll be the first to know!

Thanks again.

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Not solved :(
by paulswann / July 20, 2012 9:16 PM PDT

Spoke to soon. The somewhat illogical solution I tried before stopped working as soon as I sent the message!

So despite changing the settings I still have a mouse (in fact two Microsoft mice) that behave the same on left & right clicking.

Maybe it's time to try an Apple mouse.

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Similar problems
by paulswann / July 20, 2012 9:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Not solved :(
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The answer appears to be,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 21, 2012 12:03 AM PDT
In reply to: Similar problems

Click Faster!

The click and hold is a function of the dock and cannot be altered.


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Check your keyboard.
by rlcato / July 21, 2012 11:26 PM PDT

See if your control key is a bit stuck or try another keyboard.

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by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 21, 2012 11:30 PM PDT
In reply to: Check your keyboard.

If you actually have OS X 10.6.x, put your mouse pointer over the Mail icon in the dock and click and hold the LEFT mouse button.
See the options?

Wanna check your keyboard to see if the "control key is a bit stuck"


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It's like you said in your earlier post for RIGHT clicking.
by rlcato / July 22, 2012 2:30 AM PDT
In reply to: Irrelevant!

When you click and hold the LEFT mouse button and CONTROL button on your keyboard, you get contextual menus; which is why I was suggesting about the keyboard. Try all options no matter how 'irrelevant!'

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I'm an eejit!
by paulswann / July 22, 2012 5:20 AM PDT

Predictably, the problem was caused by human error, not OSX.

The clue was in "I recently started using a Logitech K750 keyboard". I thought I could get away with continuing to use the old mouse, so I didn't disconnect the Microsoft wireless optical desktop receiver. Consequently there was a conflict between it and the keyboard's unifying receiver. Fortunately I have a spare USB mouse and discovered that disconnecting the Microsoft receiver solved the problem. I've now ordered a Logitech unifying receiver compatible mouse

Thanks for nudging me to work this out, all comments have been very helpful.

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Can you confirm that when you put the mouse
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 22, 2012 9:49 PM PDT
In reply to: I'm an eejit!

over an icon in the dock, press and hold the left mouse button, you do NOT get the contextual menu's?


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In my post to you,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 22, 2012 9:51 PM PDT

I did not mention the Control key.

Try it with just the Left mouse button and NO modifier keys


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Quit, Hide, Options>...
by rlcato / July 23, 2012 3:27 AM PDT
In reply to: In my post to you,

...Keep in Dock, Open at Login, Show in finder -all in a little black box. You get that with ALL the opened Dock icons plus Expose' for THAT open Application you left click-&-hold on.

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I don't believe anyone mentioned OPEN Dock icons.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 23, 2012 9:35 AM PDT

Now try it with a closed icon, preferably Mail. (it actually produces the same result, open or closed)

If you don't get:

In Box (xxxx Messages)
Get Mail
Compose New Message
Compose New Note
Show All Windows

Then you are either not doing what you say you are or you do not have 10.6.8

A Left Click and Hold gives the same result as a Right Click with an icon on the Dock.


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by rlcato / July 23, 2012 11:22 AM PDT

...Remove from Dock, Open at Login, Show in Finder or Open -for closed Dock icons... Take a look at this tutorial video from Apple; specifically 0:38:

I'm Using OSX 10.6.8 using either the Apple bluetooth mouse or the R.A.T.7 Contagion mouse, both doing a Left-Click-&-Hold with no keyboard assisting.

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Not talking about Expose
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 24, 2012 8:44 AM PDT
In reply to: Options>...
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I can do that on the Cube (10.4.x)...
by rlcato / July 24, 2012 12:20 PM PDT

...but I've tried everything on my iMac and I cannot replicate that using the Left mouse buttons -unless I use Control or a Mighty Mouse. I took out my old Mighty Mouse (of which you can make both buttons secondary). Are you using an Apple keyboard?

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Apple keyboard and a plain jane two button mouse
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 24, 2012 9:51 PM PDT
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Logitech unifying receiver
by paulswann / July 25, 2012 2:19 AM PDT

Logitech unifying receiver compatible M510 mouse has arrived and is working perfectly with the Logitech K750 keyboard. Problem solved.

Thanks a lot for your suggestions.

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by rlcato / July 25, 2012 9:23 PM PDT

...No Problem.

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