One of our readers, Patricia, shared her own troubleshooting experience.

“I am sending you my own recent troubleshooting nightmare. Maybe there’s an article in it for you.

The POS all-in-one modem/router the cable company foisted off on my partner one day when I wasn’t home, finally died. That was really a blessing, because I concluded it was a waste of scarce money to replace working equipment, even though I wasn’t happy with it. So, I went netsurfing and purchased new hardware. Of course, this meant I had to rebuild my home wi-fi and get all the devices back to connecting automatically. Most of them presented no issues. But there’s always one pain in the butt. In this case:

“I REPLACED MY ROUTER AND NOW I CAN’T GET MY WIRELESS PRINTER TO CONNECT.”

Most routers use DHCP for devices, and most printers want a fixed address. In my situation, my old router numbered devices 192.168.0.x. The new router numbers devices 192.168.1.x.

According to the printer manufacturer’s web site, when the printer is powered on, it will always attempt to connect to the network with its last-past settings, which means it will always try to use the IP address it was assigned and learned when it was first installed. This address no longer exists, so it could never be found by the new network.

Some writers suggested changing the printer’s IP address using the IP config command, but if the device isn’t found/connected, it won’t appear on the list of devices you can access/configure.

Many printer manufacturers offer software by which one can “talk” to the printer and reassign its IP address. I can’t assess how well this works for any other company’s devices. I could never find the program allegedly offered by my printer manufacturer, and there were other consumers who posted stating they could never find the program either.

After wasting a preposterous amount of time trying to fix the problem, I gave up. I removed the device (printer) from my computer, deleted all its related ports, and then reinstalled it. After erasing it entirely, it was no longer remembering an inoperative IP address and no longer trying to use its original ports. Per the installation software, it was detected, created new ports for itself, and assigned itself an IP address in the current numbering scheme.

This is my kernel of wisdom: If you’ve spent more time on the problem than the problem is worth, forget it and start over!

I am not very good at explaining tech stuff, so I hope this made sense.”

You made perfect sense. I congratulate you on not throwing up your hands and giving the heck up. Printers have long been the bane of my existence. I fondly remember the IT guy at a place I used to work beating a particularly problematic one to death in front of a cheering crowd of employees. Sometimes you’ve just had enough.  But you make a very important point. Sometimes just simply starting over is the best choice when you’ve got a device that’s acting up. Printers, scanners, and other peripherals can sometimes need to be reinstalled. The same is true for programs like office.  Before you remove a device, you’ll want to make sure you have access to the necessary drivers to reinstall. If it’s a program, make sure you have the necessary product keys or discs required to reinstall it.

As someone explained to me once, there is just so much data going back and forth between printers and cameras and computers that it’s easy for it to overwhelm them. Sometimes just shutting everything down for about five minutes will help. Router, printer, PC… everything. Kind of like taking a brief break.

But I agree with you that before I got into a long technical process, I’d certainly try reinstalling.  I’d love to here more tips from readers on your troubleshooting experiences. Just let us know in the comments or by emailing me.