Thanks for the reply but I decided because of this problem, and previous ones, to give Firefox a try. One of the reasons I have stayed with Opera over the years was the Speed Dial, so I tried the Firefox Super Start extension and it works far better than Opera and is much more configurable.
Interestingly I had two other problems, occasional total system crash and the hard drive rattling after 15 mins use, both of which I thought were problems with the computer itself. Since using Firefox no problems what so ever. So sorry to say goodbye to Opera but it has never been the same since the new Speed Dial came out.