Crazy Mouse Problem in SP3

Hello...I have what seems to be a unique problem with my mouse. I'm replacing an old one with a brand new one, but I can't get Windows XP SP3 to recognize it. To complicate matters, I was already having the problem of Windows recognizing the mouse only when it was plugged into one certain USB port. All the ports work fine for any other devices, but only that certain one would allow the mouse to work. When I plug the new one into that port, it acts like its installing and even gives me mouse activity for about a half second...and then it freezes and I get nothing. Control panel's mouse applet doesn't even show that any mouse is connected. I've tried every one of my eight backside ports and even my two frontside ports, to no avail. It's getting power, but it just isn't working. It works fine in Linux regardless of the port it's plugged into (I'm in Linux right now using that new mouse). So I'm dead in the water in Windows. I could keep using the old mouse, but it's pretty useless to me without a working wheel. This is driving me insane and I'm dangerously close to taking a sledgehammer to my computer. If anyone has even a vague inkling, I'd be very grateful. Thanks.
Does your pc have dedicated ps/2 ports for the mouse & keyboard? (Most still do). You could try a $1 USB to PS/2 adapter from ebay...
eatup, pardon my interrupting, I came across this thread that might have a bearing on this issue:

it should be showing as Hid compliant mouse in device manager. If it's showing as Hid compliant device you have an issue. I have come across this issue twice in the last monthe and the problem is a corrupt msmouse.pnf file. This file is located at c:Windows/inf

That's a hidden folder so you need to change folder options to unhide protected files.

You need to copy that file from a working xp profile and replace it on the non working one and unplug the mouse and plug back in.

This has resolved the issue for me both times.