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I have windows 8 on a HP Laptop. When I close the lid while downloading "peer to peer" the speed decreases dramatically.

The laptop is not sleeping nor hibernating (I disabled those options), and the hard disk remains active.

Any ideas?

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Well, I remember on some laptops to exist a button that, upon closing the lid, it became pressed, automatically placing the computer on sleep. Other than this, remember that "peer to peer" speed is highly relative to the amount of users and their speeds, it might be just coincidental. – Doktoro Reichard Aug 21 '13 at 15:44
Try to perform a speedtest to the same server while lid open and lid closed. – Doktoro Reichard Aug 21 '13 at 19:57

I found the answer in the forum below solved this problem for me. As I understand it, closing the lid changes the antennae angle (because they are in the lid), thereby affecting the ability to receive the wifi signal.

In short the solution is to close the lid then prop the computer vertically (hinge down) by leaning it against a wall or other item. Seems odd, but has worked for me.

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