Whether you're connecting to the internet using a wireless or wired adapter, similar to previous versions, Windows 10 allows you to share an internet connection with other devices with a feature called "Hosted Network".
Hosted Network is a feature that comes included with the Netsh (Network Shell) command-line utility. It's was previously introduced in Windows 7, and it allows you to use the operating system to create a virtual wireless adapter – something that Microsoft refers to "Virtual Wi-Fi" — and create a SoftAP, which is a software-based wireless access point.
Through the combination of these two elements, your PC can take its internet connection (be it an ethernet connection or hookup through a cellular adapter) and share it with other wireless devices — essentially acting as a wireless hotspot.
In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to verify if your network adapter supports the feature, how to configure and enable a wireless Hosted Network, and how to stop and remove the settings from your computer when you no longer need the feature.
To follow this guide, you'll need to open the Command Prompt with administrator rights. To do this, use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut, and select Command Prompt (Admin).
How to check if your wireless adapter supports Hosted Networks in Windows 10
While some adapters include support for Hosted Network, you will first need to verify your computer's physical wireless adapter supports this feature using the following command:
NETSH WLAN show drivers
If the generated output shows Hosted network supported: Yes, then you can continue with the guide. If your wireless adapter isn't supported, you could try using a USB wireless adapter that supports the feature.
How to create a wireless Hosted Network in Windows 10
Creating a wireless hotspot in Windows 10 is relatively straightforward — don't let the command line scare you. Simply follow the steps below to configure a wireless Hosted Network:
- While in Command Prompt (Admin) enter the following command:
NETSH WLAN set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Your_SSID key=Your_PassphraseWhere the SSID would be the name you want to identify your wireless network when trying to connect a new device, and the passphrase is the network security key you want users to use to connect to your network. (Remember that the passphrase has to be at least 8 characters in length.)
- Once you created a Hosted Network, enter the following command to activate it:
NETSH WLAN start hostednetwork
How to share your internet connection with a Hosted Network in Windows 10
Up to here, you created and started a Hosted Network in your Windows 10 PC. However, any wireless capable device won't be able to access the internet just yet. The last thing you need to do is to share an internet connection using the "Internet Connection Sharing" feature from a physical network adapter.
- Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu, and select Network Connections.
- Next, right-click the network adapter with an internet connection – this could be a traditional Ethernet or wireless network adapter — select Properties.Note: In Network Connections, you should now see a new our new Microsoft Hosted Virtual Adapter which is labeled Local Area Connection* X, and with the SSID name.
- Click the Sharing tab.
- Check the Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection option.
- Next, from the Home networking connection drop-down menu select the Microsoft Hosted Virtual Adapter.
- Click OK to finish.
At this point, you should be able to see and connect any wireless capable device to the newly created software access point, and with access to the internet.
How to stop sharing an internet connection with other devices in Windows 10
If you want to temporary stop allowing other devices to connect wirelessly through your computer, you can type the following command in the Command Prompt and hit Enter:
NETSH WLAN stop hostednetwork
At any time, you can just use the start variant of the command to allow other devices to connect to the internet using your computer as an access point without extra configuration:
NETSH WLAN start hostednetwork
Similarly, you can also use the following command to enable or disable a wireless Hosted Network:
NETSH WLAN set hostednetwork mode=allow
NETSH WLAN set hostednetwork mode= disallow
How to change a Hosted Network settings in Windows 10
In the case you want to change some of the current settings, such as SSID or network security you can use the following commands:
NETSH WLAN set hostednetwork ssid=Your_New_SSID
NETSH WLAN set hostednetwork key=Your_New_Passphrase
How to view the current Hosted Network settings
There are two commands to view the Hosted Network settings on your computer:
The following command shows the mode and SSID name in use, max number of clients that can connect, type of authentication, and cipher:
NETSH WLAN show hostednetwork
And the following command will also reveal the current network security key among other settings, similar to the previous command:
NETSH WLAN show hostednetwork setting=security
How to disable a wireless Hosted Network in Windows 10
While the setup of a wireless Hosted Network in Windows 10 is not very complicated, Microsoft doesn't make very straightforward to remove the configurations when you no longer need the feature.
Although you can use the stop or disallow commands, these actions won't eliminate the settings from your computer. If you want completely delete the Hosted Network settings in Windows 10, you'll need to modify the Registry.
Important: Before you change anything settings on your computer, it's worth noting that editing the Windows Registry can be a dangerous game that can cause irreversible damages to your system if you don't know what you are doing. As such, it's recommended for you to make a full backup of your system or at least System Restore Point before proceeding with this guide. You have been warned!
- Open the Start menu, do a search for regedit, hit Enter, and click OK to open the Registry with admin rights.
- Scroll down the following path in the Registry:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\system\currentcontrolset\services\wlansvc\parameters\hostednetworksettingsRight-click the HostedNetworkSettings DWORD key, select Delete, and click Yes to confirm deletion.
- Restart your computer
- Open to the Command Prompt and use the following command:
NETSH WLAN show hostednetworkYou will know that you have successfully deleted the settings when the Settings field reads Not configured.
- Make sure you turn off "Internet Connection Sharing" in the physical network adapter that was sharing the internet with other devices. Use the Windows key + X keyboard shortcut to open the Power User menu, and select Network Connections.
- Right-click the network adapter, and select Properties.
- Click the Sharing tab.
- Uncheck the Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection option.
- Click OK to complete the process.
Things you need to know
Although the wireless Hosted Network feature in Windows 10 allows you to implement an access point solution to share an internet connection with other devices, it's not meant to be a solution to replace a physical wireless access point.
Also, there are a few things you want to consider. For example, wireless speeds will dramatically be reduced compared to the rates provided from a physical access point. Perhaps it would not be a big deal for internet browsing, but downloading or transferring big files could be an issue for some users.
You also need to consider that your computer needs to be always turned on to act as a wireless access point. If the computer enters into sleep, hibernate, or restarts, your wireless hotspot will stop working, and you will need to start manually the feature using the
NETSH WLAN start hostednetwork
You cannot run a SorftAP and ad hoc at the same time on Windows. If you need to create a temporary network connection between two computers, setting up ad hoc will turn off SoftAP — you can run one or the other, not both at the same time.
Wrapping things up
Wireless Hosted Network is a nifty feature in Windows can be a great tool to have for when you need to create a wireless access point on the go. It won't match the performance of a physical wireless access point, but it can be useful for many unexpected scenarios — like having one wired ethernet connection and several devices you want to get online. It's not a replacement for the real thing, but in a sticky situation, it can be just the fix you need.
For more tips and tricks on Windows 10, and get the latest news, you can visit the following resources:
- Windows 10 on Windows Central – All you need to know
- Windows 10 help, tips, and tricks
Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.
While this is not very complicated, it would be awesome if a toggle switch was added to Windows 10 to enable it for supported wireless adapters so it can be easily turned on and off. Other than that, this is a great step-by-step guide and should come in hand when I need it. Thanks!
Again, I ask. Why is it so complicated? Why not an easy toggle like the mobile phone
Probably because it's FAR FAR less used. More often someone would use a mobile device as a hotspot since PC's without any LTE capibilities would need either a wireless or wired connection anyway.
I understand where you are coming from here, but I find it hard to believe Microsoft would not have the time to make a simple toggle in Win10. Look at all the Win10 LTE tablets. Plus it would be helpful to use your PC's WiFi to share your connection so you don't kill your phone's battery. Oh, and I know this one is a stretch, but it would also help Microsoft with getting Win10 in to cars.
Did you forget to read? It says right in the article it was part of Windows 7. Since you clearly think you're a better journalist, why don't you start your own news site and leave this one.
Read carefully. How does the article imply that it's only a Windows 10 feature if it specifically states it was introduced with Windows 7?
No, it's YOU who does not get it. What is the relevent version of Windows right now? 10. What will 200,000,000 people be searching for how to do things on their shiny new OS. Windows 10 users. Would you rather them say "How to turn your Windows PC into a wireless hotspot"? That wouldn't work because not all versions support it. How about make the title "How to turn your Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, Server 2008 R2, and Server 2012 into a wireless hotspot, if and only if you have a network adapter that supports this feature and have administrative access" Would that be an acceptable title for you? Should Mobile Nations contact you for every title from now on to make sure they are acceptable to you and never mind that they need to get articles out that are relevent to today's users that might be searching for this information. Try this, copy and paste the article title into bing and see the results. This article is about 4 links down. Now remove the number 10 and you'll see this article isn't on the first page. You're a moron if you don't understand that the people that write these articles don't do this for free, and the way the get paid is through web traffic. If no one can find the article, no traffic, no money. So for once in your life, get your head out of your a$$.
How about this, all things aside, since you can't form a rebuttal without twisting around what I say. If the article bothers you so much, and many of them do on here, why continue to visit this site. Do you have nothing better to do? Me personally, I'm laid up in bed from surgery, so I have a legit excuse. So what's yours, troll? Unemployed and bored? Jealous? Can't really think of more at the moment.
I like your response to smart asses like kevin. All too often, authors of articles try too hard to tolerate trolls like this clown. Well played.
please guys, can someone help. i followed every step correctly until the end but under 'properties' i don't have a "Home networking connection drop-down menu". There's no drop down menu for me to select my local area connection. any solutions?
The network you're connected to is not the right profile (probably set to public).
I have the same issue. My network set to private now. Did all the steps but when I go to share the option to switch to the new network is not available? Any advice on how to correct that thanks!!!
I'm guessing that it's because networking on a PC is far more complex than on a phone. On a phone there's just one interface and it's always the same whereas on a PC there are all manner of interfaces and possibly more than one on the same machine. I'm sure that it could be done but the fact that it would be implemented differently to the phone, be more complex and probably not used nearly as often is why it hasn't been done yet I'd imagine.
You can just put the commands in notepad and save the file in .bat format. One file to start (start.bat) and one to stop (stop.bat). Just make sure you run them as admin
The command can be set as Environment Variable that is easy to access by short name.
E.g. start = netsh wlan start hostednetwork
stop = netsh wlan stop hostednetwork
and so on.
To run, open Command Prompt with Administrator and just type to start hostednetwork or to stop hostednetwork.
With windows 10 I found that the connection worked for a few minutes, then disconnected and would not connect again without a restart. This fix solved the problem when I typed in netsh wlan start hostednetwork. When I do the second step:> I receive this message:
'' is not recognized as an internal or external command,I'm fine using the command line. It is curious that MS doesn't make this a gui option. Not everyone is running a wifi network in their home.
operable program or batch file.
I have the same problem and I think it's related to the wifi card. I have 3 laptops and 1 has this problem. You can disable/enable or unplug/plug your wifi card instead of a restart.
Here is an alternative, download mHotspot app. Works for me ;)
it is added (possibly now in new update) search for hotspot.
Nice tip to the ones that did not know. Been using this for awhile.
my windows rt lumia 2520 tablet had internet sharing as an option, either in settings, or straight in the charms. Since RT was dead, i ditched the tablet(sort of regretably, but not really). it was super easy to share the internet with it. i assumed this was a feature in windows 8.1, and not limited to rt. did it go away in windows 10?
There was nothing for it. The only thing that was transferred was the ability to manage wireless broadband devices like usb sticks
Been using this since windows 8, but I made a bat file to turn it off or on with a pause between them
That is what Windows Central should do instead of creating complicated steps like this. It should just be "Put this code into notepad, save it as .bat, and run it."
Could you or somone else write this out? When I tried too save the file, I do not see the .bat extension option. What folder should I place .bat files? Thank you!
I've been using this feature to play Halo CE through LAN with my classmates :v
What this has to do with Windows 10. The process in Windows 8 was the same. Couldn't they just bring Internet Sharing option from phone. I was hoping MS would save us from trouble.
Well like it or not not all client adapters support this. & youd think intel would've fixed up their dashboard app by now. But till then there's Connectify
I've been experiencing some issues with the hostednetwork since I installed 1511 (maybe it's an issue with my setup or it's a bug, I don't know). The issue is that after a couple of hours, although the hotspot is still active and other devices are able to connect to it, they cannot access the Internet. The workaround I've been using involves (i) stopping the hostednetwork, (ii) disabling and reenabling the Wi-Fi adapter, (iii) restarting the ICS (internet connection sharing service), and finally (iv) starting the hostednetwork again. This workaround consistently resolves the connection loss issues for me. Just thought I'd share. Tip: you can type "netsh wlan start/stop host" instead of the full 'hostednetwork' commands to save time, the command is still recognized
Very nice write up. Thanks
On Linux you don't have to go to the terminal to activate this. It's easier.
Same on Windows where you can use an app called connectify
So stop this Linux prejudice especially when you're on a Microsoft centered website Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
To be fair Connectify is pretty crappy and limited (at least it was the last time I tested it.)
Not do something in the terminal? How un-Linux of you :)
You say "You cannot run a SorftAP and ad hoc at the same time on Windows." which implies the exsistence of a 'ad hoc' option. However I tought that ad hoc was removed from Windows in faviour of this new SoftAP functionallity and that you now can only created a SoftAP and now longer true ad hoc networks, where everyone is directlt talking to everyone else.
Or do you only mean that you cannot be joined to an ad hoc network and run a SoftAP at the same time? I do know how to join an ad hoc network after someone else has created it but I do not know how I could create one. Everything I could find gave me the impression that it is no longer possible since Windows 8(.1) and therefore I have been using the SoftAP function as described in this article instead.
Yes, why there just isnt a button for this? Its ridicilous and stupid.
Making something to easy realy makes people stupid. Think about it. This is realy simple. Just a couple of command lines that you can copy paste.
It used to be bit easier in Windows 7, then for some reason they removed the UI in Windows 8 and even now we have to dig through the command prompt to activate this.
Curious how many people actually use this? Wouldn't be a very big percentage of computers that would have wireless cell coverage? I know I'm always going the other way around, hooking my phone up with my pc
Actually most of my collegues have been using this for ages.
Can also be useful as a temporary WiFi extender... When I moved house, before my broadband was connected, I found I could access a free hotspot, but only in one awkward corner of the house... Set this up on my laptop in that corner, and hey presto free (slow) WiFi throughout most of the house. :)
EDIT: Obviously don't go using this for online banking or whatnot, it's not very secure, but if you just want iPlayer or whatever, saves you some mobile data.
Mi windows 10 doesn't support hosted network
Incorrect. Your network adapter will be the one that does not support a hosted network. Read the article one more time.
I've been doing this for a couple of years. Works flawlessly. I use task scheduler to run a batch file at login.
I tried to do this the other day on my Surface Book, only to be massively disappointed by the fact that it's not supported by the driver at this time. :(
shame it doesn't work on Surface