Avoid repairmen who put the blame on air quality

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 May, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 May, 1998, 12:00am

I bought an assembled PC (586, 166 MHz, 16 MB, eight-speed CD-Rom drive, 15-inch Topcon monitor), a year ago. For the past four months, if I switch on my machine six times a day, at least twice the computer will not switch on the monitor.

The person who sold me the machine came over, opened the hard disk and used some spray, saying the air where I live (close to the waterfront) might have affected my disk. When the problem persisted, he reformatted the hard disk, this time saying I had loaded Windows 98, which had to be deleted. He charged me $200 for reloading Windows 95 and said he changed many parts. In spite of all this the problem exists.

K. VISWESWARAN Hong Kong It appears you have been duped. Obviously, you were sold a dud machine, but I doubt the problem is with your hard disk. The air-quality line is rubbish. A good portion of Hong Kong's population lives near the 'waterfront'. Never once has this been the cause of a computer problem.

As for Windows 98, what was it doing on your machine in the first place? It is not even out yet.

I would guess the problem is with your video card, or the monitor's power supply. If your machine still has any warranty, have the shop change your video card. If the problem persists, try a new monitor. If it still does not go away, try your luck demanding a new computer, although a snowball would have a better chance in hell than you have of succeeding there.

For future reference, if a computer not protected by warranty starts to malfunction and you are uncertain of your own abilities to properly supervise its repair, take it to a reputed service centre such as that run by Digital Equipment.