Almost invariably after a period of about 30 minutes after logging on to my computer, the mouse pointer operates in a jerky fashion across the screen (playing back music from a music program ?The Jazz Pianist? operates in a similar jerky fashion) i.e. processing seems impeded. On shutting down, I end up with a frozen screen on almost all occasions and have to reset. Most frustrating !
(The message is usually along these lines. A fatal exception has occurred at 0028:FF009AD2 in VXD ---. This was called from 0028:CC6DA005 in VxD ---)

I have a Dell R350 MHz, computer with 96 MHz RAM and a 8.4 Gigabyte hard drive with Windows 98. It is only 3 months old and the problem was present when it was first delivered. On complaining to Dell via their 0900 number, they took me through the whole gambit twice of my having to carry out a hardware test ? it took me 3 hours each time. Then they focused on the mouse and asked me to re-install the software ? but this gave no improvement (which I found not surprising in view of the fact that I had advised them that the fault also effected playback of music where no mouse is involved).

On having a scanner installed by a local commercial firm, the technicians there advised that I should get back to Dell as they encountered continual crashes and the same difficulty I had encountered in shutting down. They felt there was evidence of registry corruption and that Dell had an obligation to fix this under the warranty.

When I raised this with Dell last week and asked for an onsite visit to fix up my problems once and for all, the telephone service technician was unhappy at the idea of an onsite visit . Instead he asked me to tell him my computer?s IRQ allocations and then advised that I had too many devices connected and that this was the cause of the problem. Also that the Montego sound card is hungry on IRQ?s as it requires three allocations! He said the only solution would be for me to disable some devices such as my modem and scanner if I was unlikely to use them during a session, or buy a parallel port switch.

It does seem the problems reduce when I disable a number of devices. However I find this an unsatisfactory method of operation (also somewhat frightening ? as I am concerned that in resetting Device Manager I could easily accidently disconnect a device rather than disable it). I also find the ?fix? rather unbelievable as I only have a scanner, modem and printer and am sure I am not the only customer with a Montego sound card plus these devices.

There are also the technicians at the local computer repair shop who still likewise have a problem in believing Dell?s explanation, and still feel that registry corruption or some other problem is the cause of the difficulty. They also reasonably point out the problem was present on delivery ? before connection of the printer or scanner.

I am so frustrated at this problem and inability to get it fixed that I have been tempted to purchase Norton?s Utilities and have a go myself. However this software is quite expensive and after paying some $5000 for a computer with a 12 month on site warranty it seems reasonable that I should receive just that - i.e. an onsite visit and the problem fixed.

I would be grateful if you could suggest what is the likely problem and what action I should take with Dell.

Bruce Scott-Hill