Q I have a Toshiba Satellite M35X-S349 laptop that has no sound either through the PC speakers or exterior speakers. I had the laptop looked at, but the repair person was not able to pinpoint the problem. Do you have any suggestions? I am considering junking it for a new one.


A You're at a point where you don't want to spend too much getting your PC fixed, because it's technologically outdated and a new Toshiba laptop can be purchased for $600.

But if you want to give fixing it another try, read about a potential software solution at www.laptops-drivers.com/toshiba-drivers/how-to-fix-sound-error-on-satellite-m35x.html.

If the problem is the PC's sound board, you can buy a replacement online for about $30. There's an illustrated website on how to remove the old sound board at www.irisvista.com/tech/laptops/ToshibaM35X/satM35X_1.htm.

However, it may make more sense to junk the laptop than to fix it. A new Toshiba laptop will have a faster processor, six times more RAM and three times more hard disk capacity than your current PC. New software will be written to take advantage of the improved processor and memory features, and that can cause the same software to run more slowly on older PCs.

Q After buying a new computer that uses Windows Vista, I can't locate the Picasa photo software even though I've downloaded it twice. Any suggestions?


A The Internet Explorer browser by default stores downloads in the Vista "downloads" folder; click on the icon to install the program. If you use the Firefox browser, click the "tools" heading, then choose "downloads." This gives you a list of recent downloads; click on Picasa to install it.

Q Can my PC handle the Norton Antivirus 2009 software? It's a Windows XP PC with 512 megabytes of RAM. You said last week that a PC needed 512 megabytes of RAM -- and that it would be wise to have more.


A I overstated the memory requirement. Symantec says that a PC with only 256 megabytes of RAM and Windows XP Service Pack 2 can run Norton Antivirus 2009. You will need 512 megabytes of RAM only if you buy the software online and want to create your own recovery disk (used to restore the software if the program or your hard disk malfunctions.) While your PC probably would run faster with extra memory, it's not necessary.

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@ gmail.com, or write Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488-0002. Include a full name, city and phone number.