I used to like to play around with Google Earth and see some Panoramio pictures, and I say 'used' because the pictures take an eternity to load.
The first "bug fix" I came across was to update to Google Earth 6.x and disable some layers and settings in GE which didn't work, because I already used GE 6.x.
Now I found a fix that actually did solve the problem (and perhaps created a new one ). I use the German version of Windows, so pardon me if the labels differ:
Start > System > Network and Internet > Internet Options > Connections > LAN Settings > Disable "Automatic search for settings"
This should do it. I didn't check if my printer is still working ...