Since Windows 7, Microsoft has built in the virtual WiFi technology into Windows that gives the ability to turn any Windows machine with the supported wireless adapter into a wireless hotspot natively without the helps from any 3rd party tools. A pretty feature could be very useful and handy but lacks of a pretty and easy-to-use user interface.
Let’s take look how it works first.
1. Open Command Prompt window as Administrator
You can do so press Win+X and choose command prompt (admin) from the list.
2. Type the following command to check if you have a supported wireless device.
netsh wlan show drivers
3. If yes, type the following command to set wireless parameters such as SSID, and passcode, and start the service
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=myssid key=password
replace myssid and password with your own choice.
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
4. Turn on Internet Connection Sharing on the network adaptor that has the access to the Internet. You can do so by
- Going to Control Panel, Network & Internet, and Network Connections.
- Right click the adaptor and go to properties.
- Turn on the option “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection” under Sharing tab. Make sure to pick the enabled Wireless virtual adaptor as the Home networking connection.
5. That’s it once you click OK. The network connections window should look like something like this.
Now I can connect my iPhone to it. Isn’t it nice?
But that’s too cumbersome, isn’t it? What’s worse is that it doesn’t stay. You need to do it all over again after you reboot your computer.
To streamline a bit, you can save the two netsh commands shown above into a batch file. Right click the batch file and Run as Administrator every time when you need to enable it. You can even save a shortcut of the batch file into the Startup (%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup\) to let it run automatically every time when you log in. Make sure you change the shortcut properties to make sure it runs as administrator to gain the right privilege.
You can download the batch file here (right click and save the target as…) to start with.
If that’s also quite too techy, here comes a very cool app called Connectify that could simplify all these with a much pretty user interface. The latest version supports Windows 8 quite nicely.
/update on June 6, 2013/
We’ve also compiled a list of 8 free tools that easily turns your Windows system into a wireless hotspot.