Q. I mainly use Chrome but have three other browsers on standby. I got a 503 error on Chrome when trying to access a selection on epguides.com. I rebooted my Windows 10 computer and got the same thing. Switching to Opera I was able to get to the selection I was looking for (Foyle’s War). Later that evening I was able to use Chrome and had no problem seeing my target. Got any idea what was going on?
A. The 503 error code means that the server of the website you’re trying to visit is unavailable. The server may be down, undergoing maintenance or is just too busy to respond.
Most often, simply trying again results in a connection. If the server is actually down or is undergoing major maintenance it may take longer.
In very rare cases, the glitch might be caused by a configuration mismatch on the user’s side. Rebooting your computer and router should clear up any such problems.
Q. My HP desktop was manufactured in 2013. I upgraded to Windows 10 as soon as I could and am current with the latest required and optional updates. As you may already know, some quirk in recent Windows updates — late 2019 or early 2020 — introduced a very annoying anomaly which users refer to as the “reboot loop.”
When I start the computer it loops endlessly, apparently caught between BIOS and the operating system start. . A complete shutdown solves the problem every time.
However, I now must follow this very procedure every morning, even when no update occurred. If it weren’t for this problem, I would never consider replacing my PC. It is not lightning quick as more recent devices are, but it is still powerful and handles all the work I need to do. What is your assessment of my situation?
A. The first thing I’d do is check with the HP website to see if there’s an updated BIOS — Basic Input/Output System — for your computer. My guess is that that will solve your problem. It’s not uncommon for computer manufacturers to have to make changes in the BIOS to remain compatible with an updated operating system.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, troubleshooting will get a lot more tedious. The next-most-likely culprit is a driver for an attached device that is no longer fully compatible with the updated operating system. The simplest way to find the offender is to uninstall all accessories and then add them back in one by one until the problem recurs.
Q. I have problems automatically receiving my emails from Comcast through Outlook. One way to restart receiving emails is to click the Offline icon on/off. Also, what are the pros and cons of selecting the Outlook option “Run as Administrator”?
A. Most often when emails aren’t received automatically the culprit is a sporadic and/or weak internet connection.
Also, Microsoft products often have trouble connecting if you’re using a virtual private network. I generally have to manually reconnect Outlook to my accounts after using my VPN.
As for running Outlook as an administrator, I doubt you’ll ever have a need for that. Running any program as an administrator means that the program can access certain folders and system files that it would otherwise not be able to access. If a program is considered not particularly “safe” — and mail clients and web browsers are generally considered to be relatively unsafe — then it is not ordinarily allowed to access those folders and files.
If you run into a special circumstance in which you need to give the program special access permissions you can do so … but the operating system is essentially telling you that you’re doing at your own risk. That said, in all my decades of emailing, I’ve never had occasion to run my email program as an administrator.