Q: An interesting and disturbing thing happened a couple of weeks ago. My HP Officejet 5745 wireless printer printed a document that I did not recognize. I then realized it was printed by my next-door neighbor from her iPhone.
I contacted her and found that my printer showed up on her list of available printers and she chose my printer to print the document thinking it was her HP printer.
My Netgear Nighthawk X6 R7900 has a strong password with WPA2 security. My neighbor can see the SSID but cannot log onto it because of it being password protected. I was told via the HP community page (direct support evidently is not available through HP on this printer) to disable “Wi-Fi direct.” I did this and it seems to have worked, but I am concerned about the ability for someone to see my Wi-Fi devices outside my router firewall. What the heck is going on here?
— Tom Donnelly, Seattle
A: Your research turned up mostly accurate information.
Yes, many devices, including your HP printer, support Wi-Fi Direct, which is a peer-to-peer wireless connection. “Peer-to-peer” means that the devices can communicate directly with each other instead of going through a router. Wi-Fi Direct is a lot like Bluetooth but it can handle more data and at faster speeds than Bluetooth. That makes it useful for such things as printing.
There are two benefits of Wi-Fi Direct. First, of course, you can connect wirelessly to your printer if you don’t have a Wi-Fi network. Secondly, you can give others Wi-Fi access to your printer without giving them access to your network.
And yes, if Wi-Fi Direct is enabled your printer’s name will be broadcast for all to see. The printer’s entry in the list of Wi-Fi connections will begin with “DIRECT.”
The thing is, though, Wi-Fi Direct does require a password, so I’m baffled as to how your neighbor was able to print. You can change the password but if you leave the password field blank it will automatically revert to its default password.
The simplest solution is, as the online community suggested, to disable Wi-Fi Direct. And since you can connect to the printer using your secure Wi-Fi network there’s likely no need for Wi-Fi Direct. Still, if you do want to use Wi-Fi Direct I’d suggest reaching out to HP support. Yes, direct support is available, though if the printer is no longer under warranty you may have to pay for it.
Q: We have a desktop that was updated with Windows 10 but now our regular apps (like Display Settings or Personalize apps) disappeared. How do we add the apps back?
— Denise Laird
A: Those utilities haven’t actually disappeared. They’ve just been moved.
Instead of being in the Control Panel, you’ll now find them by clicking on the Start icon in the lower-left corner and then on the Settings icon, which looks like a cog. The display utilities are in the System folder and personalization utilities are in the Personalization folder.
Q: In the past, I could send photos from my iPhone 8 to my email account on my PC and then save them to my photo library. My PC is an HP running Windows 8. Some time ago those email photos from the phone to the PC stopped generating a “save” option when the photo attachment was clicked on. Perhaps this happened because of a Windows upgrade or from using the Edge browser? How do I now get the pictures into my photo library file on the PC? Thank you for any help.
— Clarke Brant
A: The steps for saving emailed images depend on whether they are embedded or attached to the email.
If the image is embedded in the body of the email select the image by clicking on it then right-click on the image and select “Save as Picture.”
If the image is an attachment to the email right-click on the attachment and select “Save As.”