Bring Your Computer Questions To The Tech Tips Challenge

This month we're talking about blogs – what they are, and how to use them to promote your business. Blogs (an abbreviation for web logs) are online forums that allow you to communicate instantly with your clientele. While a web site gives you Internet presence, a blog offers a way to maintain existing customers while reaching out to new ones.

In keeping with the theme of blogs, I'd like to offer a challenge to all my Tech Tips readers. Bring me your hardest computer questions, and I will provide the answers.

Windows, Mac, or whatever else you've got, in my twenty years in computers I've probably encountered the problems that drive you crazy. They're easier to solve than you think, and I'll tell you how.

For those new to blogging, it works like this: The blog writer (that's me) posts an article on the blog. There's a link at the bottom where you can reply. Your reply gets posted, I respond, others chime in, and pretty soon you've got a lively discussion.

Small business owners know how hard it is to maintain an ongoing marketing campaign. Writing a blog takes as little time as sending an email, and results in greater exposure for your company. The applications for your business are endless.

If you'd like to respond to my Tech Tips challenge, just click "comments" below. I look forward to your computer questions!

Posted byTriona Guidry at 10:02 AM  


triona said... June 5, 2008 at 8:13 PM  

To demonstrate comments, I'll tell you about one of the toughest computer problems I've ever solved.

I got a call from someone having problems with a laptop computer. The computer occasionally could not connect to wireless networks. The problem seemed random. Sometimes the computer worked fine, other times it absolutely refused to acknowledge a wireless signal.

Upon my visit, I had the same experience. Surfing along nicely, then wham! No wireless. I scratched my head, then realized I'd taken the laptop off the charger while diagnosing it.

Sure enough, the problem was linked to the battery. On the charger, the computer worked fine. Take it off and it lost the wireless signal. Some sleuthing in the software dug up the solution: an obscure setting that told the computer to turn off the wireless antenna while on battery, under some bizarre definition of "power saving mode." Once the setting was switched off, the computer was once again happy.

Which just goes to show, sometimes the biggest problems have the smallest solutions!

triona said... July 11, 2008 at 2:43 PM  

Some email replies, with my responses.

Rhea writes:
Wish I were smart enough to even have a question!!! Every thing is weird and strange to me.

My reply:
Not true, Rhea - you plunged straight into Windows Vista with no problems at all!

If "weird and strange" things on your computer get frustrating, just let me know - all you have to do is describe as best you can what's happening and I'll help you get to the bottom of it.

triona said... July 11, 2008 at 2:45 PM  

Evan writes:
Here is my challenge!

I did a clean install of Windows XP Tablet edition on my Lenovo X41 and
since then whenever I start up I get an error message "This instance of cssauth.exe cannot start because of an initialization error." I used the system configuration utility to stop the program from loading at startup but I am wondering if there is any disadvantage to running Windows in selective startup mode? If so, can I/should I remove the program?

My reply:
Great question, Evan!

Your ccsauth.exe error is being caused by some of the standard software that comes with Lenovo machines. Some Web sleuthing determined that there are other Lenovo users getting this "initialization error." Some advise checking the BIOS to make sure the security chip is enabled, but that fix doesn't work in all cases.

Usually it's best to let Windows start normally, but as you can see in cases like this the system config utility is helpful in working around the problem.

Have you run all your Microsoft updates since you did the clean install? You can go to Microsoft Update to check. I would advise against installing Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) yet, to make sure it's not part of the problem. But you should install Service Pack 2 (SP2) and the security fixes that go with it.

You can also try downloading the latest ATMEL driver for ThinkPad. I believe the ThinkPads also have their own "download updates" software in the lower right hand corner of your machine which you may be able to use for this. Otherwise you can download it from

Hope this helps!

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