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Originally published Saturday, May 25, 2013 at 12:04 PM

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Wireless printer blocking laptop’s wake-up call

Special to The Seattle Times

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Q: I purchased an HP laptop with Windows 8, and an HP 5520 printer. When the printer was installed as a wireless printer, it seemed to affect how the laptop acted when in a sleep mode.

I am guessing that it’s the sleep mode that is affected when the wireless printer is on. When the printer is off, the laptop goes into a sleep mode that can be reawakened easily to the lock screen.

When the printer is on, the laptop screen goes dark as if it is in a sleep mode, but the laptop can’t be reawakened unless I power down and restart the laptop.

This situation occurs regardless of whether I start with the printer off, but the printer is turned on during the session to print a document, and subsequently turned off before the printer goes into the sleep mode. It seems that the printer is sending a message to the laptop not to wake up.

The printer and the laptop work fine when set up with a USB cable, but I would like to utilize the wireless feature. Any suggestions?

— Fran Whitehill

A: Sounds to me like you’ve got the two devices fighting over the same IP address.

By default, when you set up a wireless network, the router dishes out IP addresses to devices that connect to it. By default, when you try to connect your device, it is configured to accept an IP address from the router.

Periodically, the router will reassign IP addresses. My guess is that the router is checking for connected devices when your laptop is in sleep mode, finds it not connected and reassigns the IP address.

Try manually assigning an IP address to the printer. That will prevent it from communicating with the router and taking an IP address that your laptop is expecting to have when it awakens from sleep.

You’ll have to consult your printer’s manual for instructions on assigning an IP address. Also, consult your router’s manual to make sure the IP address you assign the printer is in the range your router uses.

Q: I own a Toshiba Satellite L650 laptop. I have used it daily both at home and at work for two years. Four days ago, I dropped the laptop from counter height onto a carpeted floor, nearly catching it before it hit. So it sustained several glancing stops as it fell.

Since then, the computer works quite a bit slower than before, constantly displaying “Waiting for cache ... ” and taking much longer to boot up programs. I’ve also had difficulty logging into usual websites and checking Gmail.

Finally the right lower corner of the laptop, below the keyboard, is quite a bit warmer than it used to be during operation. I guess I dislodged something? Should I mail the computer to Toshiba for diagnostics?

— Den Kerlee, Seattle

A: Yes, I’d have the computer looked at. I think some of the symptoms are unrelated. Your difficulty logging into websites, for example, is almost certainly not related to your performance problems.

The most likely cause of your performance problems is that the impact likely damaged the computer’s fan. An overheating computer can cause serious performance issues of the sort you describe. It can also cause permanent damage to hardware, so I wouldn’t delay getting the unit tested.

Q: For several years, I used Microsoft Picture It to edit scans of my drawings, paintings, old photos, etc. When I upgraded my PC about 18 months ago, I was surprised and disappointed to find Picture It not included in the package, nor any longer available from Microsoft at all.

I have contacted Microsoft a couple of times, but all it wants to do is give a sales pitch on how much better Windows Live Photo Gallery is. In searching the secondary market online, I’ve found Picture It for sale. Can you tell me if these will work properly with Windows 7?

— Dave Harris, Wenatchee

A: Unfortunately, Picture It is not compatible with Windows 7. You can, however, try running it in “compatibility mode.”

To do so, right click on the program and select Properties. Next, click on the Compatibility tab. Check the box next to “Run in compatibility mode” and then select the operating system you want.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to pmarshall@seattletimes.com or pgmarshall@pgmarshall.net, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at www.seattletimes.com/

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