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The Phenomena Of 'PC Rage'

"Damn computer!".. . When computer problems push users to the limit

Research reveals that more than half of computer users suffer from 'PC Rage'

What would you think if....the person sitting at the desk next to you was to stand up right now and began yelling profanities, 'head-butting' their monitor or pick up their PC and throw it to the ground?

You would be stunned. You would also join 54 per cent of computer users recently surveyed who have experienced PC Rage - extreme reactions to system problems, including screaming, swearing, threatening, hitting, dropping or throwing of computer equipment, as well as abusing others, attacking other objects in the vicinity, resigning from jobs and self mutilation. Apart from triggering frustration, the prevalence of computer problems such as program crashes, virus infections, optimisation issues, and lack of disk space represents very real data and productivity issues for individuals and corporations.

'PC Rage' fast facts

86% of those surveyed have experienced a computer problem which has required a system reboot
59% have lost valuable time or data due to a computer problem
64% experience computer problems monthly, weekly or daily
68% of those with daily problems say they occur at least twice daily
54% have experienced extreme reactions to computer problems including swearing and violence
55% accept that problems are just part of working with computers.

Coinciding with the launch of Norton SystemWorks 2000, the latest release of the industry-leading utility suite, research has been conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide for Symantec in Australia, with results that are relevant for the New Zealand market. Severe reactions or 'PC Rage', were reported to system problems, given that 86 per cent of computer users surveyed had experienced some type of computer problem that required them to reboot their system.

"Computers are a crucial part of our lives. We are increasingly investing in them and trusting them with all aspects of our business, education and personal needs. With this dependence comes the natural expectation that computers will always perform the way that we need and want them to," comments Richard Batchelar, Country Manager, Symantec New Zealand. "If things go inexplicably wrong, resulting in disruptions to productivity or the loss of valuable data, more intense reactions are quite reasonable. What is interesting, according to the research, is that many people accept that computer problems are just a frustrating and unavoidable fact of working with computers and are willing to live with it, " adds Batchelar.

What people say about 'PC Rage'...

"[I] saw a person who belted [the computer] with both hands - managed to get out [their] frustration on the computer."
"Computer specialists resigned because the computers kept crashing."
"Once I head-butted the screen as I had just lost an essay that was due in.”
"I belted and beat up the computer so hard I had to get a new one."
"[I've] seen someone actually pick up the monitor and throw it...breaking it."
"[I've] heard of someone who just sat there in absolute disbelief for about ten minutes, then got up and walked into a glass door."

Exploring the onset of PC Rage due to unexpected computer problems, the study identified that more than half those computer users surveyed utilise a computer for 10 or more hours each week. Over 80 per cent indicated that they were concerned about the prospect of their computer becoming infected with computer viruses and the associated problems. Sixty four per cent indicated that they currently encounter computer problems monthly, weekly or daily, and for 68 per cent of those with daily problems, on average they occur at least twice each day.

According to the research, just five per cent of respondents always know the cause of their system problems, compared to 53 per cent who sometimes know the cause, and 42 per cent who either rarely or never know the cause. Similarly, 6 per cent were reported to always know how to fix system problems, compared to 56 per cent who sometimes know, and 38 per cent who either rarely or never know how to fix the problem.

According to one respondent, "People keep on playing with faults trying to correct them, but make the problem worse," while another "heard that a man somehow got rid of a whole system within the computer by trying to fiddle and fix the problem..."

Furthermore, in response to computer problems, the study highlighted frustration (52 per cent), concern (14 per cent) and helplessness (12 per cent) as the most accurate emotions in describing reactions to computer problems, followed by anger, panic and surprise.

Interestingly, 64 per cent of those surveyed indicated that they were aware of technology that has been developed with the intention of preventing computer problems and almost 70 per cent would consider purchasing software of this kind.

About Norton SystemWorks 2000

Norton SystemWorks 2000 is the latest release of the industry-leading, integrated utility suite featuring new product versions, improved system performance and increased ease-of-use through tighter integration. SystemWorks 2000 protects against viruses, solves most PC problems, guards against crashes, optimises system performance, keeps programs up to date and enables emergency system recovery.

Norton SystemWorks 2000 Standard Edition includes Norton Utilities 2000, Norton AntiVirus 2000, Norton CleanSweep 2000, Norton CrashGuard 2000, and a six-month subscription to Norton Web Services, including LiveAdvisor and LiveUpdate. The Professional Edition includes all of the products in the Standard Edition as well as Norton Ghost 2000 and Norton 2000 and featuring a free Bonus Pack that includes Zip-It, Visual Page, Norton Secret Stuff, WinFax Basic Edition.

About Symantec

Symantec is a world leader in Internet security technology and technology solutions that help companies manage and support workforces that use laptop computers and other mobile devices. The company is a leading provider of software products for the consumer market and is rapidly growing its presence as a provider of solutions to enterprise organisations. Information on the company and its products can be obtained at the Symantec Asia-Pacific Press Centre at http://www.symantec.com/region/reg_ap/PressCenter/index.html Symantec is represented in New Zealand by Auckland based distributors SealCorp and Tech Pacific. Brand and product references herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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