How to share your Windows Phone's internet - whether or not your carrier wants you to

Internet can almost be called the lifeblood of our society; if the internet goes down or our phones lose signal, it is like a part of us dies. Whether you view the aforementioned statement as a glum view of today’s society or an undoubtable truth – we are going to make sure you get internet onto your tablet or PC as long as you have a Windows Phone by your side.

We are going to dive into two different methods to get LOLcats and the rest of the internet to your PC. The first involves using your phone’s built in tethering ability and carrier support to get the job done; the second involves a bit of a proxy configuration, but we will be sure to walk you through both.

Carrier Tethering

The easiest way to turn your Windows Phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot for you devices is to enable carrier tethering. Depending on your specific carrier and their terms of service, you may be able to activate tethering without any additional charge or you may be forced to fork over a bit more money. If you are unsure of which option you will have to take, follow our steps below as you will be given a message telling you to contact your carrier if your current plan does not support tethering.

The Detailed Explanation

Begin by unlocking your Windows Phone device and head to Settings, which can be found in your app list by swiping to the left from the home screen. Once within Settings, the fourth option down should be entitled “Internet sharing” – select it.

This is the point at which you will discover whether or not your current data plan supports the use of tethering. You will see a single toggle switch for switching Internet Sharing on or off – click it to enable tethering. If the ability is supported, you will now be presented with a collection of other options and you can continue on down below, otherwise you will be presented with an error message telling you to contact your carrier to enable the feature.

However, wait! If tethering is not enabled on your current data plan, you can either call your carrier or skip to the next section where we show you how to “tether” on a plan that does not support it.

If you phone does support tethering, you should now see a notification telling you can share your internet connection over Wi-Fi with a number of guests. If Internet Sharing is left inactive for a few minutes, it will automatically shut off to conserve battery life – something important to note.

Below the brief description of Internet Sharing, you will now see the Broadcast name of your network, the network’s password, and the number of guests connected. To change any of these settings you can hit the “Setup” button onscreen. It should be noted that you must have a password on your Wi-Fi network, Internet Sharing will not allow you to go without one.

The Quick Explanation

  1. Go to the Settings area on your Windows Phone.
  2. Select “Internet Sharing” from the list.
  3. Click the toggle switch to enable tethering (if your data plan does not support it, you can either follow the next section below for an alternative method or contact your carrier to enable it)
  4. Hit the Setup button to create a network SSID and password.
  5. Connect your devices and being browsing the web.

That is it – you are setup and ready to tethering. Simply head over to your PC or other Wi-Fi enabled device and connect to your newly created network. Remember though, you are using your phone’s data and as such, should be conscious not to use too much. If you are using Windows 8, the operating system will automatically detect when you tethered and will try its best to reduce the amount of total data usage. Some programs also recognize this mode, such as Norton’s suite of security programs, which will prevent downloading updates during this time.


Maybe you are paying your bill’s (which are probably quite expensive), but you still do not have tethering ability and to get such a feature, you must pour out even more of your hard earned cash. That doesn’t seem very fair, does it? You paid for the data and should be able to use it however you like. Under that clause, we are going to show you how to tethering your device even if your carrier does not want you to.

We are going to begin by downloading a free application from the Windows Phone Marketplace entitled Tether-X. You can acquire the app by clicking here, searching for it in the marketplace yourself, or by scanning our handy dandy QR code included below.

The Only Explanation

Tether-X works by setting up a proxy server (or “engine”, as they call it), which all your internet data requests on your PC will be routed through. We will accomplish this by setting up a network between your phone and your device, and then configuring the proxy. Since the steps are a bit detailed, we have carefully outlined them below:

  1. We will begin by setting up an ad-hoc network (or direct connection) between your PC and your Windows Phone device. To start, head to your Windows 8 Start Screen and type “cmd”. You will see an application called “cmd” appear in the results, but instead of hitting enter – hit “Ctrl-Shift-Enter” to launch the program under administrator control.
  2. Once the Command Prompt program is in front of you, we can setup the adhoc network. Type the following without quotes into the command prompt and hit Enter: “netsh wlan set hosted mode=allow ssid=tether-x key= microsoft”. Note: You can change “tether-x” to any network name you would like, and you can change “microsoft” to any password you like – we have provided the above as examples. Once you have hit Enter, you should see three notifications stated that the network has been setup.
  3. To launch the newly created network, now type the following without quotes into the command prompt: “netsh wlan start hosted”. You should receive a message stating that “The hosted network started”.
  4. Head to your Windows Phone device and opening the Wi-Fi menu under Settings. If all was setup as it should be, you will now see “tether-x’ as an available Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to. Connect to the network with the password we setup before (“microsoft”) and then continue on to the next step.
  5. On your Windows PC, go to the start screen and type “Internet Options” – hit Enter.
  6. You will be presented with the Internet Properties window, select the Connections tab, and then select the button “LAN Settings”. Within the Window that pops up, select the first checkmark box entitled “Use a proxy server for your LAN”.
  7. In the address field - enter the IP address of your phone (To acquire the IP address, click on the listed “tether-x” network under Wi-Fi settings on your Windows Phone.). In the port field, enter “8080” without quotes. Once all is filled out, hit “OK” to close the dialog window.
  8. Finally, on your Windows Phone, head back to the Tether-X app and select “Start Proxy Engine”. You are now all set and ready to browse the web via your phone!


When done tethering your phone via Tether-X you must go back into “Internet Options” and disable the “Use a proxy server for LAN” option for your internet connection to work normally again. When you wish to use tethering again, simply reconnect to the Tether-X network you created and turn back on the proxy server settings. Note: You may have to update the IP address.

Let us know if you have any questions about either methods by commenting below and we will be sure to answer them! As always, you can contact myself on Twitter for one-on-one help by clicking here (I love you guys that much).

Michael Archambault
  • Just WOW
  • I hate carriers. I already pay for the data, I should be able to use it how I want. Period.
  • Ditto.
    Imagine if cable was only for one tv.
    Or if internet at home was for one PC.
  • Actually, you used to have to pay the cable companies per TV.
  • Internet connection per device only makes sense only when we are getting unlimited data. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Bingo. If we had unlimited data, I could understand having to pay to tether. I pay for 3 GB and should be able to get it however I want. I refuse to pay a penny more to tether, it's a screw job
  • Cable requires a set top box so you are paying per TV.  And Comcast was looking at in the early days of cable modems to charge per MAC address accessing the internet.  I worked on one of the systems that would have handled the billing for their cost per device connect.
  • That's just awful.
  • That's only for high bundles, or certain features. Some tvs still have digital receivers built in, or you can buy one used, still options.
  • Comcast, and most of the other major cable co's have already been granted permission to encrypt everything and require either full boxes, DTA's, or CC's for every video outlet. FCC = just a place for past and future cable/telecom employees to buff up their resumes a bit.
  • Cable and Sat are paid per TV because they charge a feee per box per room.  Sucks and is a huge rip off, but they get away with it cause the customers refuse to complain about it in a large enough volume.  Same with tethering...the masses barely know what it is and until that day, not enough people will complain about it,
  • "If tethering is not enabled on your current data plan, you can either call your carrier" I just cannot grasp this concept. How can the carrier tehnically not let me use my phone to let other devices connect to me and prevent me from functioning as a relay? Is this for branded phones only? If so, I can understand this as an option provided by the phone/OS maker to the carrier to restrict this feature from my phone. But, other than that, how can the carrier distinguish between one traffic or another that comes from my phone and make me pay extra?! Or is it just that I pay to unlock this feature that has been blocket with the consent of the phone maker? This really confuses me.
  • How do I enable USB tethering?Thanks
  • Tether-X is nice if you only need to use the internet browser. It will not work with your Windows 8 apps, Windows Update, or any program that can't access proxies. That being said, it is a pretty nice app. I've some problems with it losing connection, but it is usually fine.
  • Once you setup the proxy in the internet explorer, all apps get access because IE adds the settings into your network option (accessed through the charm bar)
  • I use Tether-X with my Surface RT (running 8.1) and my Lumia 810.  You can create batch files to automate the process.  I tried to paste in the text of my batch files, but it kept getting flagged as spam.  I'll try to PM Michael to see if he will post them.
  • How exactly did you get it to work on your Microsoft surface rt? Mine had given me a message: that hosted network could not be started. The WLAN interface is powered down and doesn't support the requested operation. I followed all the instruction in the article. No success like you.
  • are you running the command prompt as an administrator?
  • I found the issue was very simple. Before I could host the network I had to first disconnect from my home wifi connection. I had run the command prompt as administrator. Thanks for the help though. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Mine does the same if I am not currently connected to a network with internet access. It is like it wants to set up the adhoc network to share the current internet connection. I have tried searching for ways to fix it, but haven't found any. I guess we are just out of luck.
  • First line, loose = lose :¬)
  • of my biggest pet peeves!
  • Don't know what you are talking about... looks good to me.
  • Also, it's the Internet, not the internet. We're talking about a specific internet, hence the definite article "the".
  • Actually, there is no definitive answer. You are correct that capitalization is recommended, but it is decided by the publisher/style guide. See more here for the argument to capitalize or not:  
  • While we are all seeming to play the role of grammar Nazis ... Under the heading of 'Carrier Tethering' - "Depending on your specific carrier and their terms of service, you may be able to active tethering without any addition charge... " Active should be 'activate' and addition should be 'additional'. Great article otherwise. Thanks for the know-how. ;)
  • great article, but in 2014 for a tech website to not use spell check, or just blatantly ignore it, is ridiculous. I find myself searching for typos rather than reading content when there are so many.
  • :D
  • Well played sir, well played.
  • Never realised this thanks very much extremely informative
  • My experience with Tether-X is that it's extremely slow. Websites take forever to load and the connection is often unreliable.
  • I agree but it's good in a pinch.
  • Too much If i just wanna share on the spot screw you att
  • I don't use it anymore as my new share plan from att supports tethering. But, I made a batch file on Surface to use Tether X with minimal effort.
  • If you are on AT&T and have a developer unlocked/ international ROM and get carrier error in trying to enable internet sharing, follow these steps - #1 Under settings-->keyboards--> Add Keyboard and choose either of Spanish(Spain) or Spanish(Mexico). #2 Installation will complete and after next reboot, internet sharing will be enabled. Before every OS/firmware upgrade (eg when Nokia releases Cyan firmware upgrade), remove the spanish keyboards, install updates and then add back the Spanish keyboard again!
  • SocialTouch, I have my 920 unlocked on TMobile and the tethering from my plan doesn't work. Will this fix it? And can I still use the English keyboard?
  • I have tried Tether-X on multiple occasions w/ nothing but frustration. If you actually think you're going to use this, my suggestion is to prove it out NOW and not wait until the time when you actually *need* (or strongly desire) to tether your connection. If it works flawlessly for you, awesome. But it certainly never did for me using my Surface Pro or my Lenovo Yoga
  • It shows 3g before I use internet sharing feature. But as soon as I connect my laptop with hotspot, connection drops to H+. Vodafone India.
  • Nothing wrong with that as H+ is a faster service than 3G. The switching happens because 3G Supports Data AND Voice/SMS but HSDPA (H/H+) is for Data only.
  • Can you Bluetooth tether at all (I have a 920)
  • The Bluetooth is used only as a mean of pairing the devices, then the standard wifi-tethering is switched on, but without the need to pass the password on your computer (as the device that is distributing the internet and the one that wants to receive it know each other). If you were to look at the currently accessible wifi networks after such pairings (with other device e.g.) you'd find that the name you have configured in WP internet sharing options is visible.
  • Didn't really understand that (drinking at the moment) but more for the wife has a TomTom and the live maps are only able to update via Bluetooth internet sharing
  • It's likely TomTom uses is using Bluetooth PAN or DUN for what you are calling "Bluetooth internet sharing." To my knowledge Windows Phone supports neither of those.
  • I was wondering about this too. To be specific, no, Bluetooth PAN was not supported in Windows Phone 8. In my experience Bluetooth PAN is what people are asking for when asking for support for Bluetooth tethering. The relationship you describe is a proprietary way for Windows 8 devices to handshake with Windows Phone 8 wi-fi internet sharing... very elegant, and IMO better than Bluetooth PAN, but unless both devices are Windows 8 it does no good, and I say proprietary because I've not yet seen a single document on how the handshake techincally works... so without that I presume it's a hack nothing outside Windows will ever bother to work with... so double no-good. According to the Bluetooth SIG listing, Windows Phone 8.1 does not support Bluetooth PAN either.
  • I've had consistent troubles with Tether-X, far prefer ConnectionShare. Same limited functionality (browsing only), but it actually works reliably.
  • wish VZW was free for tethering....tether-x works well for just internet surfing, not for real work applicaitons (a vpn connection thru it, windows update, etc). also why showing the internet sharing screen grabs a 2nd time under the Tether-X heading....confusing for some folks.
  • No problem with Internet Sharing(Tethering) with indian carriers. With my Airtel Mobile 3G pack, I share internet with my Netbook and Tablet.
  • I love this app, came across it a while back, like it so much I bought the Pro eventhough I see no difference. I'm on ATT so for me to be able to bypass their rediculous tethering charges is great. Use it mainly when I DJ and the venue doens't have wifi and like the guy above said is good for surfing but not a lot of heavy lifting. 
  • The free version stops working after 10 days. It will let you connect only once a day after that time.
  • Use this, much easier to set up an ad hoc network.
  • VirtualRouter shares your laptop's data network (internet) to your phone/tablet.   Internet Sharing and Tether-X share your phone's data connection (internet) with your laptop.
  • 920 owners also have the option of flashing the French rom and downloading the Spain keyboard trick to enable internet sharing. I did it pre gdr2 and it has survived all the way through to 8.1 preview. The only issue I noticed is that while the phone never shows LTE it shows 4G bust I've done speedtests before and after and the speeds are the same.
  • Please share this in detail. I have a 920 unlocked for tmobile and I don't have an international sim
  • You can find it on xda or WP central forums. I don't have international SIM. At&t sim
  • I share my phone internet data with other devices without using any such apps. Tether X only complicates things.
  • Agreed, but for some it is a better option if their carrier requires a ridiculous amount of money to add tethering.
  • wow I cant scan this anymore with 8.1 update!!  i have to find the app in the store.  what happened to it!!  
  • Open up the camera app and bring up the lenses.  Bing Vision is there now.
  • thnkss
  • Just open Cortana and speak "install Tether-X" and you are done.  Super awesome!
  • Porque-fi.... Come on :P
  • I tried that one an it mess up my computer Wi-Fi settings. No good application.
  • wheres the QR code scanner on 8.1?? it used to be part of bing search but now the search button is Cortana and she cant scan!!
  • It's been sent to Camera Lens land. Hopefully Microsoft will bring it back to Cortana, where it belongs, like music search is now.
  • thanks
  • Nope it was always under Bing search under the tab.
  • It's a lens. Open camera and switch to Bing Vision lens
  • How to set up Tether-X on an Android tablet? My new car head unit is Android 4.2 and I'd like to be able to share my AT&T Lumia 1020 data connection with the Android head unit using Tether-X but I'm not sure how to setup on the Android head unit. Been searching but can't find much. Any tips?
  • you need a way for your android tablet (or another pc) to create a wireless network. If another PC is creating the network, you have to connect your phone and tablet to that network. you need to configure your android tablet to connect to the proxy created by tether-x. you don't actually configure tether-x on the tablet.
  • Correct. Not finding good info on creating the wireless network on an Android device. Must do more searching.
  • I'm in the same boat and couldn't see anything for a tablet either.  Hopefully someone will be able to help out.
  • Everything I've seen so far says you need Android 4.2 and root access. I'm currently working on root access for the head unit but I have a lot to read... Hoping someone will come in with steps 1,2,3 and make it easy for me! Haha
  • Via the wpc forums I used the international SIM trick on my 1020. No app needed. Just insert foreign SIM, apply network settings via access point then restart and remove SIM and adjust date to future like 2150 and hit access point again, it will force you to uninstall. Do that and restart with original SIM but dont install access point and manually enter in apn via cellular setting. Worked like a charm and no proxy
  • Very very interesting... I have an unlock code from AT&T for my L1020 so if I get an international SIM, unlock the phone and follow the steps you listed, I should be able to go back to my AT&T SIM and now have internet sharing unlocked? What are the network settings? Link to the thread?
  • Wow carriers are so annoying in the U.S.
  • Any way for the carriers to catch you?
  • My only fear is being caught using a method of tethering as I am still grandfathered into my AT&T unlimited plan. One if my friends was tethering on his Droid and AT&T detected it then changed his plan. They refused to let him revert back to his unlimited plan.
  • I tethered using my Samsung Focus a couple years ago (also grandfathered unlimited data on AT&T) and while I didn't do it too much or for too long, I never got a notice from AT&T. I read that if you tether to other mobile devices you aren't likely to be caught. It's when you start doing heavy lifting with a laptop or full OS that they catch on. Not sure if that's changed in the last 2 years though...   Still trying to figure out a way to bypass AT&T and tether from my AT&T unlocked L1020 to my Android head unit...
  • Question. When I used my old HTC Radar on WalMart Family Mobile I had no problem tethering. With my 925, I get the error message. Besides Tether-X, what other options are there?
  • Tether-X is a rock solid godsend. When I moved and didn't have internet yet - but did have unlimited Sprint 4G - I must've burned through 50GB the first month. It would stay connected overnight and all day. I'd recommending using Tether-X in conjunction with Proxifier. 
    Proxifier enables all your standard desktop applications to use the proxy, NOT just the browser. (Torrents, etc) However, Proxifier still won't work for WindowsRT apps, and for that you'll need 8.1 and then configure the Proxy settings under Network in the Modern settings app. In addition to all this, to make creating the ad-hoc wireless network A LOT easier, do yourself a favor and download PC Remote Server (pcremoteserver[dot]com This is the server-side companion for the WP app PC Remote [Pro]). This will give you a 1-button option to create the ad-hoc network with the password of your choice. I have this on my laptop for when I'm traveling in hotels because it lets me use my phone as a remote for it when it's hooked up to the TV across the room. If you don't like having that app on your computer, there are a handful of other standalone apps whose sole purpose is creating the wireless network in the same way. After trying handfuls of these apps (there are a lot of junk ones), there is one in particular that is reliable and provides a client list, but I can't remember the name atm. Also, if you're running WP 8.1, make sure you allow Tether-X to run in the background.
  • forgot another thing. I'll come back and update with the name of that ad-hoc app. The nice thing about that app and showing what clients are connected, is you are then able to use the DNS entry of your phone rather than the IP address. this is great because you don't have to keep changing the IP every time you want to proxy - just enable it. My phone shows up as windows-phone[dot]mshome[dot]net, but I believe that should take the name of the phone as you've configured it (not sure why mine doesn't anymore. I blame samsung). Sometimes, if your IP changes, you need to stop and restart the proxy engine and if using proxifier, sometimes need to restart it as well.
  • Has anyone had success getting the Adhoc wireless working with Surface RT or is that a lost cause?
  • The whole tethering thing is a great idea, but why not over USB? I was at a friend's house recently, and having never tried it, I assumed it would work fine. Spent an age looking through the settings on the phone and search all forums etc. Bit of a let down.
  • Nice
  • tether-x is extremely unreliable
  • It works for me. Thanks Michael and WPcentral. I love ❤ you guys. Keep up the good work.
  • I can't use cellular data anymore since I updated to 8.1, does anyone else have this problem? Please
  • Whenever I try to share my internet connection, I get the error "Internet Sharing is not available right now".I'm frustrated to the point that I've almost given up.Any suggestions??
  • Huh, wish this guide was around before I got a Mobile Share plan. When they first came out, they unaffordable, but now? Only decent way to go if you're on AT&T, and it includes tethering. Still, nice for people putting up with the evil taint that is the carrier.
  • Mine stopped working when I started installing the dev previews. Now I just get the error message to contact Verizon, nothing I can do about it except maybe call Verizon.
  • I'm in Canada and use Winds $40 unlimited plan - phone, text and data - so internet sharing is no problem. We can have up to five at a time too.
  • Don't forget, once you configure your PC to use a proxy, it stays that way. So when you change networks, it will try to use the proxy and your computer will not be able to access the internet. Make sure after you are tethering you uncheck the bok that tells your computer to use a proxy, as outlined in the article.
  • Microsoft and Nokia has to give an option like the USB tethering. As PC's will not have WiFi routers. Its my sincere request to add this important feature which will be easy to share internet to PC easily and its a very much needed feature. Thanks. I want a developer to see this so that they might add this important feature.
  • Any way to share Wi-Fi via tethering?
  • I have a Verizon's HTC 8X and using it in Russia (it never seen Verizon sim actually). Internet Sharing is "not allowed". Is it possible to do something about this? Previously, on 8.0 GDR3, I've caught a bug that allowed me to share internet however I want, but it's gone after reset. Please help :)
  • Is there any other free app that does it?
  • What Carriers have Window Phone and don't block tethering?
  • This worked Great!
  • I get, "The hosted network couldn't be started. A device attached to the system is not functioning."
  • So I have done everything right my problem is on my computer it says I'm connected to the tether x but I have no internet connection. I'm stumped as was about to be so excited about getting internet on my laptop can someone please help me.
  • Hi I am using windows phone 7 and i am not able to share internet connection with my W 8.1 laptop. It connect to the network but shows the message limited connectivity other devices just work fine but laptop is not connecting. any Help on this 
  • I wrote a .exe file that will do all the command prompt stuff for you. SSID: Tether-x
    Password: 123456789     This is the origanal .bat file if you want to change the ssid or key.
  • When I have inputted the second netsh command (netsh wlan start hosted", I get the msg "The hosted network couldn't be started. The group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested operation.". NOTE: After inputting the initial netsh cmd, i only got one not three notifications it had been done. What's wrong?
  • Depends on how you wrote the origanal command. This will do all the commands for you.
  • How do you tether Window's Lumia 640 with a mini iPad?