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Dr Spinola: My PC doesn't work: what shall I do?

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PC Clinic Having trouble with your brand new machine or with the lovely application software that's cost you an arm and a leg? Our very own PC Doctor, Dr. Spinola, will guide you through the hardware morass.

Q I bought a new PC for Christmas and have noticed that the system freezes unexpectedly. What shall I do?

A This is a common problem. You can fix it by never switching the machine on, and instead take pleasure at its handsome appearance. It will also impress friends when you tell them you have a top of the range PC that cost around £1500. You don't have to tell them that it doesn't work.

Q I want to upgrade the memory on my PC by adding an extra 64MB. I have noticed that if you buy this in a shop, it will cost you twice as much as if you buy it over the Web. Why is this?

A We contacted a major memory distributor who sells both to stores and through the traditional reseller channel, and therefore to the Web. He had two sets of comments, one for public, and one for private consumption. "Retail stores have very high overheads and have to pay marketing costs and also take out very large adverts in the national press," he said. "They also have to spend a lot of time training their stuff to understand the technology." He added: "Retail stores are thieving bastards. You're far better off buying from the Internet because generally those people understand the technology, unlike the thieving bastards in retail stores who only want your money." We were left in the dark as to which version was for public and which for private consumption.

Q Every time I use Internet Explorer, I get this annoying click. Is there something wrong with my PC? How can I fix this? It's driving me round the bend.

A You'll be relieved to hear that you are not going round the bend. This is nothing to do with the state of your mind, and is probably caused by what we PC doctors call Death Watch Beetle in your rafters. This can be dangerous -- call Rentokil the first opportunity you get.

Q I've had this continual problem with a PC I bought just before Christmas. Every time I ring customer support, I'm left on hold to a Dutch number for sometimes as long as five weeks. I'm getting tired to listening to snatches of Mozart's Horn Concertos. Can you help?

A Thankfully, this is an easy problem to solve. If you go to a record store, you will find they have a range of different classical music in addition to Mozart. Buy a CD player and try different composers, then you won't have to waste so much time on the phone.

Q Someone has told me that I have a .25 micron Pentium III, rather than a .18 micron Pentium III and that this is a bad thing. What is the difference and what should I do about this?

A This is a question related to the thickness of a human hair, according to the manufacturer of these microprocessors, Intel. You should therefore consult a trichologist at the earliest possible opportunity. I can recommend one to you at a small charge, if you like. ®

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