Checking Wi-Fi Connections While Traveling, Troubleshooting Printers | Q&A with Patrick Marshall


Q: Just returned from a Caribbean cruise on MSC Cruises. I pre-purchased their internet package. I have a Windows laptop with McAfee protection software. I also have an iPhone.

I accessed airport wifi before flying to Orlando from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and had wifi issues with my laptop and iPhone. On the Alaska Airlines flight, I was unable to connect my laptop to the aircraft’s internal Wi-Fi server. My iPhone worked perfectly. At the Orlando airport, everything worked fine. On the cruise ship, my laptop couldn’t connect to the ship’s wifi, even though their crew spent an hour trying. They suggested that maybe McAfee is blocking access to my laptop? My iPhone worked fine.

Is there a way to test access beforehand or temporarily disable McAfee if their firewall is the problem? I really need the laptop wifi access.

Chuck Bernasconi

A: I’m afraid there is no way to test Wi-Fi access beforehand. As you have seen, different Wi-Fi access points are sometimes configured differently.

Yes, it could very well be that a setting in your firewall is blocking Wi-Fi. But before disabling the firewall completely, I would try a few other things.

Related Technical Questions and Answers

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First, run Windows Troubleshooter for Internet Connections. In Windows 11, click the Window icon in the lower left corner. Then, at the top of the window that appears, type “troubleshoot” in the search field. Then click on “Other troubleshooters”. Finally, you will see a list of convenience stores. At the top of the list is “Internet Connections”.

If that doesn’t fix the problem, I would disable the McAfee firewall and enable the built-in Windows firewall. You really don’t want to be without firewall protection, especially when you’re on public Wi-Fi.

If you still can’t connect to Wi-Fi, it’s time to contact tech support at that cruise ship or anywhere else you can’t get to it. Since you tried this without success, I would ask an expert to take a hands-on look at your firewall settings before your next trip.

Q: I’m at my wit’s end with my printer going offline every week. I have an HP Color LaserJet MFP M476nw printer and a Dell XPS 8940 desktop computer running Windows 11. My computer connects to the printer through our wireless network. The printer’s wireless network test report indicates that all systems are working properly and that the printer’s Wi-Fi signal strength is “excellent.” I’ve tried many fixes to get it back online, but the only thing that seems to work is removing the printer from my computer, uninstalling all HP software, downloading a new HP installer, and reinstalling the printer. printer, download the latest driver for the printer, and restart the router, printer, and computer. I know “printer is offline” is a common problem, but every five or seven days seems beyond acceptable.

Jim Irby

A: I have a similar problem with one of my printers. Most often the culprit is the computer and/or the internet connection rather than the printer. In my case, restarting the computer fixes things.

It’s a good idea to make sure you’re using the latest printer driver, which you have. And you have checked the Wi-Fi signal strength. But it is also important to check the signal strength on your computer.

Then restart the Windows Printer Spooler service. To do this, click on the Windows icon in the taskbar at the bottom of Windows, then type “services” in the search field and open the Services application. Scroll down until you see the Printer Spooler, right click on it and select “Restart”.

Finally, run the Windows Printer Troubleshooter. Again, click on the Windows icon and enter “troubleshooting” in the search box. Next, click on “Other troubleshooters” in the window that appears, then scroll down to “Printer”.

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