How to sidestep accidental mouse clicks

There's a downside to being adept with computers: Sometimes you work so fast, you get yourself into trouble.

For example, I routinely keep lots of tabs open in my browser (Google Chrome, in case you're wondering). When I mouse up to click a particular tab, my cursor lands very close to the "x" in the adjacent tab.

If I'm in a rush or just not being very careful, I'll sometimes click that "x" by mistake, closing that adjacent tab instead of switching to the one I wanted to view. D'oh!

Likewise, Windows' maximize icon resides precariously close to the close-window button in the top-left corner of every window. If my mouse cursor slides just slightly to the right, now I've closed my application.

Accidental clicks like these can be a hassle at best and a work-destroying nightmare at worst. If, for example, I close a tab containing unsaved blog work, well, I've just lost all that unsaved blog work. (Note to self: Always save your work!)

The worst part is that I usually catch myself mid-click, just as my brain is realizing, "No, don't click there!" My finger has pressed the mouse button; once I release it, it's game-over for that tab, window, or whatever.

Thankfully, there's an easy way out: If you drag your cursor someplace else--basically, away from the onscreen button you didn't mean to click--and then release your click-finger, the initial click won't register. It's like a pre-emptive do-over.

I'm not sure if you ever run into these mid-click mistakes the way I do, but if so, now you know how to drag yourself out of them. Literally.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at hasslefree@pcworld.comSign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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