Ever Wanted to Turn Your PC into a Wi-Fi Hotspot? Here's How

The method depends on which version of Windows the computer is running

Wireless Wi-Fi Signal Icon / Ever Wanted to Turn Your PC into a Wi-Fi Hotspot? Here's How
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September 19, 2016

If you have ever wanted to share your Internet connection with other wireless devices, you're in luck: Windows has the ability to turn your PC into a wi-fi hotspot.

However, the steps you should follow to do this will depend on which version of Windows is installed on your computer. See below to find out which method will work for you.

Windows 10 with Anniversary Update

Although Windows 10 has received a lot of flak, it provides probably the easiest method, which works regardless of whether your Internet connection is wired or wireless. To set up the hotspot, simply do the following:

  1. Press Windows + I to open Settings.
  2. Click Network & Internet, then Mobile hotspot.
  3. On the right side of the Mobile hotspot page, turn on the "Share my Internet connection with other devices" feature.
  4. In the event you want to share a different network name and password than the default, click the Edit button, then type the desired network name and password and click OK.

Windows 8—Wired

Although setting up a hotspot with Windows 8 is not as simple as with Windows 10, it is still possible as long as you know how to use the command line. The first thing you need to do is ensure that your wireless network is shared with other users. Here's how:

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box. Type "ncpa.cpl" and click OK to bring up the network connections window.
  2. Right-click on your Wireless network and select Properties.
  3. Click the Sharing tab and click the "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection" box. Uncheck the "Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection" box while you're at it, then click OK.

Now that your network is shared, you'll need to launch the Command Prompt as an Admin. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows + X and select "Command Prompt (Admin)."
  2. Type or copy/paste the following into the command prompt: "netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid="<SSID>" key="<PASSWORD>" ." <SSID> will be the name of your network and <PASSWORD> will be the password you use to connect. WPA2-PSK (AES) encryption is used to create the access point.
  3. Then, to begin broadcasting the network, enter the following command: "netsh wlan start hostednetwork".

You should now be able to connect any Wi-Fi device to the network.

Windows 7—Wired

The graphical interface in Windows 7 makes it easier to set up the ad-hoc network than it was in Windows 8. Follow these directions:

  1. Open Start and search for "wireless" to find and open the Manage Wireless Networks window.
  2. Click Add, then "Create an ad hoc network."
  3. Type in a name and password for the network.
  4. The network will then appear in the list of wireless networks. Choose this network to disconnect your computer from its current network and turn it into an ad-hoc network that your other devices will be able to connect to.
  5. In the Sharing tab of the Wireless Network Connection Properties window, make sure to click the "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection" box so that the devices will share the PC's wired Internet connection through the network you created.

Windows 8 or 7—Wireless

Unfortunately, the most desirable option for many people who do not have a desktop—sharing their network wirelessly—cannot be done on a PC running Windows 7 or 8 alone. These consumers will have to resort to a third-party app, which may also be able to be used to share a wired connection.

Turning your PC into a Wi-Fi hotspot is a very useful trick. Try sharing your network with the next friend or family member to visit if you don't want to give out the password of your default network.

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