More than one third of U.S. consumers with problematic computers have been driven to threatening, shouting at and even hitting their PCs in frustration.

Thirty-six per cent of U.S. consumers with disobedient PCs admit that over the last six months, they have indeed lashed out at their notebook or desktop.

Some have used profanity, have screamed and shouted in frustration, or have even been driven to beat it -- either with a fist or with the closest suitable object.

Unsurprisingly, those in the 2,000-strong survey group who are plagued by the underperformance of their computers say that it's having an emotional impact on their lives:

  • 65 per cent say they feel frustrated;
  • 10 per cent feel angered;
  • 4 per cent feel that they are being victimized.

"We've become so dependent on our computers and think of them as helpful partners, making it that much more painful when they betray us at the worst possible time," said Roddy McLean of Crucial.com, the computer RAM company that commissioned the study.

Surprisingly, the younger the user, the greater the frustration.

Despite being perceived as digital natives who eat, drink and sleep consumer technology, the study, undertaken by Harris Interactive, found that the over-35s were much more sanguine when it came to computer performance.

More than one third (39%) of 18-34-year-olds resort to abusive behaviour towards what is essentially nothing more than a consumer electronics device when the going gets frustrating compared with a quarter of older users, and 12 per cent of younger users admitted resorting to violence compared with just 2 per cent of those aged 35 or older.

When asked what they thought was the source of their ire:

  • 46 per cent of those who have had computer problems said that they believed it was viruses and malware;
  • 10 per cent believed it was being caused by the software installed on the computer;
  • 8 per cent cited insufficient RAM;
  • Only 12 per cent blamed themselves for their computers' behaviour;
  • Most honestly of all, 16 per cent said they were not sure what was causing the problem.

The survey didn't provide any details as to which type of computer or which operating system the device was running.