How do I turn my Windows 8.1 laptop into a wireless hotspot?

You’ve already figured out how to transform your mobile phone into a wireless hotspot and now you’re wondering if you can pull off the same trick with your laptop.

Today, I’m going to walk with you through each step.  We’re going to turn your little Windows 8.1 laptop into a mighty wireless hotspot.

The process is actually pretty straightforward but if you’ve never really used the command prompt it can be a little confusing.

By the end of this article you’ll not only mitigate your trepidation of the command prompt but also you’ll be baying like a werewolf at twilight.

Okay, I have no idea where that warewolf comment came from – forget that.


The best way to get started is to connect your laptop to the internet via a standard Ethernet cable and then use your mobile adapter to broadcast the WiFi network to your devices. Sharing your network connection with your impecunious friends has never been easier.  We’re going to use a nifty built in tool called netsh to work the digital alchemy for us.

I’ll introduce you to netsh in a moment but first I need to set the stage:

I’ve segmented this article into two glorious Acts.

  1. Act I: Creating the Virtual Wireless Network
  2. Act II: Sharing the host internet connection

Let’s start the play

Act I: Creating your virtual network

We’re going to use the command prompt to make a virtual wireless network that we’ll broadcast to anyone who wants to connect to the internet through our laptop.

Press Windows Key + x + a to open the command prompt with administrator privileges then type the following command.

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Kimchi key=ilovek1mch1e

My wife is Korean and therefore has a penchant for Kimchi.  Actually, all Koreans love this stuff – and I’m also particularly fond of the spicy briny taste so I thought I’d pay deference to all my kimchi lovers out there with a delicious SSID.

The above command sets my Wi-Fi hotspot name to Kimchi and sets the network password to ilovek1mch1e.

The window should inform you that the hosted network mode has been set to allow.  Then after about 40 seconds you’ll see the following messages:

  • The SSID of the hosted network has been successfully changed.
  • The user key passphrase of the hosted network has been successfully changed.

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode

Now just like that we’ve got our very own virtual adapter – we just need to flip it on.

Easy enough.  Go ahead and type this:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

Use netsh wlan start hostednetwork

At this point, our laptop is actively broadcasting our wireless network to all devices within range.

Go ahead and whip out your iPad, Kindle or smartphone and browse for Wi-Fi networks. You’ll see your freshly minted Wi-fi network sitting there with a strong wireless signal.

So everything is good except if you connected to your Wi-Fi network you won’t have internet access because we haven’t shared your laptops internet connection yet.

Let’s do that next.

Act II: Sharing your network connection

Press the Windows Key + r and enter the following command to open the adapter properties window:

ncpa.cpl

In the Network Connections window, you’ll see your new virtual adapter happily sitting there waiting to give you the world.

Pay attention to the Local Area Connection name because we’ll need to select that when we share the internet connection of our original WiFi network.

In my case, you can see Kimchi is called Local Area Connection* 19.

Okay – so select your original wireless adapter that is currently connecting you to the internet.  Right click that and choose Properties.

Wireless adapter properties

Visit the Sharing tab and make sure Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection is checked.

Then under Home networking connection select the name of the virtual adapter you created earlier.

Also, I would uncheck Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection because it’s an unnecessary security hazard.

Internet Connection Sharing Wi-Fi Properties

Click OK and your done.

If you want to see how many users are connected to your network open an elevated command prompt as you did earlier and type:

netsh wlan show hostednetwork

In the graphic below you can see under Hosted network status the number of clients is set to zero.

Then I connected my Galaxy S4 to Kimchi and ran the command again.

Now there’s one connected client (highlighted in white below) and you can see its authenticated MAC address.

netsh wlan show hostednetwork

And here’s what it looks like from my phone:

Connected to Windows mobile hotstop from Android phone

That’s all there is to it.

Incidentally, if anyone knows of a way to disconnect connected clients from a Windows PC that would be an invaluable tip.  I did some research but couldn’t find anything.

Cheers!

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  • Catalina Fuenzalida

    hi, i already done all the steps and i succesfully got my hotspot , but i couldnt make the step where you share the original network with the hotspot, becaus didnt me allow to share it with the virtual hotspot how i can do it

  • Amartya Sinha

    i set up the hotspot but when i flip’d it on, a message came saying that dat it couldn’t be started and in the next line there was the selected network resouce couldn’t be found and it is not ready to work

  • Simon Blok

    Do not perform the “Share Connection” step until the created network has finished identifying. If you do it could lock up your PC

  • Hi, I’m wondering if anyone can solve this for me. When I try this step: “Then under Home networking connection select the name of the virtual adapter you created earlier.”

    It doesn’t give me the option to select “Home Networking option:” after I noted mine is Local Area Connection* 5

    I can check the box but again, no option to select my virtual network.

  • Surendra Shah

    wow so nice i can do this

  • Laden Siguis

    i’ve done all the steps accordingly and everything just worked fine i can see the strong signal of wifi in my phone but the thing is that it couldn’t connect to it the connection just kept on reloading or something :/ if you can help me thanks and thank you for sharing this information too 🙂

  • Ahmad al rakhawy

    i did’t an worked just fine, but when i disconnect it and want to search for it via mobile wifi it disappeared

  • Olalora

    Hi! I think this old way is a bit complex for me. So I prefer to use a useful WiFi hotspot creator like OSToto Hotspot to turn on WiFi hotspot in my Windows 8 laptop. More about this kind of tool:http://goo.gl/Q47o8p

  • Omisile Kehinde Olugbenga

    All the steps worked fine with Win OS 8.1 and i could connect Lumia 640XL almost naturally. Thanks

  • Anonymity_x

    I use OSToto Hotspot beacause it is easy-to-use, with neat interface and blacklist function. What’s more, I can set a time for the hotspot to turn off. Really convenient.