How To Make A Wifi Hotspot For Free On Your Windows PC

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Wireless (WiFi) networking, its associated equipment and setup have become as common these days as owning a computer or laptop. Every mall, shopping store, educational institute, diners, restaurants, and coffee shops are most likely to be equipped with free WiFi hotspots for speed-hungry internet users to hop on to and browse their hours away. Connectivity, in today’s world is one of the most essential components of any human being’s life (especially since the UN has recognized internet access as one of the basic human rights), and wireless networks are one of the key factors in fulfilling that.

Furthermore, WiFi networking not restricted only to PCs or laptops. With the infusion of tablets and smartphones in the consumer market, these ultra-portable devices have become one of the primary means of connectivity on-the-go; while some of them rely on 3G wireless data access, most of them still have WiFi as their only source of getting online, hence increasing the importance of WiFi hotspots even more.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to make a wifi hotspot using your Windows-based WiFi-enabled PC or laptop via Windows’ native internet connection sharing (ICS) feature. Read on after the break for more details.


With Windows 7, Microsoft made the setup of an ad-hoc wireless network pretty straightforward and easy, yet we have seen that a lot of users either haven’t even heard about it or are intimidated by the little setup and configuration that it requires. Furthermore, an ad-hoc network may not be able to connect all your non-smartphone mobile devices. This is where our portable freeware, MHotSpot, comes into play.

This low-memory, portable freeware allows you to turn your WiFi-equipped PC or laptop into a wireless WiFi hotspot with one click, skipping all the tedious configuration menus and substituting that with a simple interface.

how to make a wifi hotspot

Setting up ICS on your internet connection

Before you can use MHotSpot, you’ll need to enable internet connection sharing for the connection that you want to broadcast the wireless WiFi hotspot with.

To do so, click the Connection icon in your Windows taskbar, right-click the connection that you want to share and click Status.

how to make a wifi hotspot

In the next dialog box that appears, select Properties and click on the Sharing tab.

how to make a wifi hotspot

Make sure that the check box against “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection” is ticked and choose your wireless internet connection from the drop-down list.

wireless wifi hotspot

Hit OK for changes to take effect, and that’s it for enabling ICS.

Make a WiFi Hotspot with MHotSpot

Now, run the MHotSpot executable file. The interface gives merely four options, namely, start the hotspot broadcast, stop it, set it up and visit the developers’ website.

If you hit the Setup HotSpot button, a command-line interface will greet you, asking for the network’s name and password, should you want to make it more secure and less available for unauthorized use.

wireless wifi hotspot

The Start and Stop buttons are pretty straightforward – they’re used to initiate and terminate the network broadcast, respectively.

With the wireless WiFihotspot enabled, your wireless connection should be detectable by all nearby WiFi-enabled devices, including those that work with access point schema (like non-smartphone mobile phones). Here’s a screenshot of my iPhone detecting my laptop’s WiFi signal. Interestingly, although I specified a network name above, it’s still picking it up by my laptop’s network name.

wireless wifi hotspot

I found MHotSpot particularly useful for scenarios where I have a wired internet connection for my laptop but cannot find an open WiFi network for my iPhone or tablet (which mostly happens to me at work). The testing was all done on Windows 7 32-bit operating system.

Found this software useful? Let us know through your comments, and spread the word among your friends.

About author
Aatif is a project manager by profession and a gadget-freak at heart. Being a techno-phile since high school, he developed a keep interest in mobile devices and settled with the iOS platform after experimenting through everything else. Being an avid internet user, Aatif likes to brag (tweet) about it through @aatoo
47 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Pretty nifty and useful stuff! Thanks TDB, and sir Aatif for sharing this one!

    • I’m glad you liked it. Keep reading :)

      • is there anything like that for win 8?

  2. Great article, I’m definitely going to put this in use! Once again useful stuff TDB!
    One question- is there a Mac version of this? or at least a similar thing?

  3. awesomeeeee!!!!
    cant believe it…no need to install it..:)

    tanxx for da infoo

  4. A quick question for you, would this work with the laptop tethered to a smartphone? I want my laptop to broadcast my mobile broadband connection to another laptop.

    • To be honest I haven’t tested that. Give that a try, I’d suggest. Can’t hurt even if it doesn’t turn out working :)

    • Hi, I know another similar software Virtual Hotspot, which can work on smartphone and many other wifi-enabled devices, like laptop, iPhone, Wii, NDS etc. Try Google it.

  5. this looks harder than Virtual Router..

    • I don’t see how; this takes just a single click to create a hotspot, but in the end it’s the users’ preference that makes the ultimate choice

      • Hi Aatif how’z it going??
        I just got a Internet service of 500GB per month I want to create a hotspot that other people from other units can join for a limited period of time. For ex – when they connect to the network they should be directed to a page where they have to sign up and they can be issued with a password which they can use for a limited period of time or limited amount of uploads and downloads. If you could help me setting it up that would be wonderful. I use a TP LINK TD-W8961ND modem. My email address is lovemaan009@gmail.com. Hope to hear back from you soon. :-)

  6. does it works with windows XP , i tried it all but my ipod isn’t reading any signal.

    • I tested it with Windows 7 and it worked fine for me. Theoretically, it should work with XP as well, have you tried turning in Internet connection sharing first?

    • You should go to Virtual Hotspot, a similar free software. It can help turn your laptop (Windows Vista, 7, XP, 2008) into a virtual WiFi hotspot.

  7. Having read to be careful about shared wi-fi, is this protected from viruses hitting your computer and what can I do to prevent that. Thanks! :-)

  8. Makes a lot of sense dude. WOw.

    http://www.web-anon-tools.us.tc

    • VicWoo, Whats with the dodgy web link to web anon tools…?

  9. Please help me. I don’t see any “Sharing” tab when I clicked the “properties”. I am using windows 7 ultimate 32 bit.

  10. Hi atif, i liked your posts. i am using mobile broadband though an usb modem. m not able to configure it. thr option of Mobile Broadband doesnt show up when i clike on the properties of the network which is in use i.e Mobile boradband. therefore to avoid this much of hassle i found virtual router the most easiest to use to turn the win7 laptop into wifi hotspot.

  11. Same as Sulabh.. I haven’t a “‘sharing”‘ tab ?

  12. Also no connection link or sharing tab here – ???

  13. If you don’t have a “Network Connection” icon on the taskbar (it’s NOT there by default), do this:

    1) Open Control Panels from Start Button
    2) Change to Category view.
    3) Click the “Network and Internet” category (or pin it to the taskbar and proceed).
    4) Click “Network and Sharing Center”.
    5) When new window pops up, choose “Choose Adapter Settings” from the left side panel.
    6) When new window pops up, right-click any icon which says “Microsoft Advanced Miniport Adapter” listed under the adapter name.
    7) Select “Properties”.
    8) Then you will see the “Sharing” tab – go from there withe above directions.

  14. Hi,

    I have setup the Mhotspot but however I seem not to be getting an internet connection on my iphone. The iphone is picking up the wifi network but it is not connecting to the internet. I am using my work ethernet connection

    • I’m using another similar free software— Virtual Hotspot. It’s easy to install and use. I never have problem to connect my iPhone to the free hotspot. Try Google Virtual Hotspot.

  15. Dear Atif
    I have gone through the process but need some more guidance.
    I am using a data card of reliance 3g to connect to the internet on my laptop and I want to use this internet connection to make my laptop a wifi hotspot so that I can connect my phone and ipad to the net through my laptop.

    If i have understood this right then through the process explained on the site i can only make the hotspot through the wifi internet connection only and not a usb modem connection

    please guide

  16. hi bro,
    i need a help from u … plz can u help me ? my question is :
     
    i need to set up a wifi hotspot on my desktop pc… which is running on windows 7..
     
    and i’m use wimax internet on usb dongle [[[[[[[[[ dongle mean pen drive type modem :) ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]
     
    so is there any solution… if yes plz give me solution (: i will be glad to u .. i’m eager ly waiting for ur answer.
     
    thank you brother … bro my email address is : shovon29@yahoo.com 
     
    take care (:

  17. Thanks for the wonderful share. But as I followed the guide, it doesn’t seem to work on my Dell laptop. Errors kept coming up. I couldn’t solve the problem until I tried Virtual Hotspot, a new WiFi sharing app but works quite well. Few comlex settles and quite effective. So…look forware to more fantastic sharing.

  18. hi , this is a great program, but i encoutered a major problem , all my shared files on the host computer are accessible for all those are connected on the wifi spot , i assumed it was only sharing internetconnection, can anyone help me out with this , thank you very much , Marc Jansen , Belgium

  19. REPOSTING, ABOVE WAS WITH WRONG EMAIL-ADRESS, hi , this is a great program, but i encoutered a major problem , all my shared files on the host computer are accessible for all those are connected on the wifi spot , i assumed it was only sharing internetconnection, can anyone help me out with this , thank you very much , Marc Jansen , Belgium

  20. thnkuoo

  21. Great it worked for me… not much on facebook and android market. I cant seem to post on Facebook and i can not download on google.. but it is working on viver and some applications i am using… i have not restarted my netbook yet after i set up the hotspot will try later.. im much to excited to use the connection i have… im not a teckie person. so to be able to follow the instructions is n achievement for me… Thanks for this wonderful stuff.

  22. fuck u theres no ‘status’ or ‘connection’

  23. i want to set up the wireless network subg my tata photon plus usb dongle on my lenovo laptop……plz help me out my email address is hiteshdhawan0510@gmail.co.in

  24. Hi, I have a wired networked pc, but the pc does not have a wireless card. Can I purchas a wifi usb dongle to send out a wifi signal? I am a newbe about tech stuff like this so I hope this isn’t a stupid question. Thank you in advance for you time in this matter.

  25. i have tried virtual hotspot on my laptop but it my blackberry9650 cannot connect nor see the network,however if i perform a site scan it sees the connection but there is no option to connect

  26. This is very helpful information please asve upstairs ..

  27. im using my collage internet which needs to be log in before using.
    after executing all the instruction above, my android phone can pick up the wifi network but took a very long time to obtain the IP address after that it automatically disable the connection.
    can u help me with this problem?

  28. Quick question: if you use this via an existing Wi-Fi connection, is it the same security protocal? We recently changed ISPs and now my DS can’t access the non-WEP Wi-Fi.

  29. I’m having a problem. I can use my ipod, but I can not get internet connection with it

  30. if only this would work with tata photon connection .. there is no host or ip for photon .. how to get it for tata photon so to use it over wifi with yor methods..????

  31. Thanks a lot its amazing

  32. you keep saying windows 7. will it work if you don’t have windows 7 ? I have internet through a lan cable connection would it work to run a tablet from my computer?
    thanks

  33. Thanks, works fine!

  34. will try tis today..wish it will work..awesome :)

  35. I followed all steps and could install the software too but when the software wanted to share wifi I got this message:
    The performence is stoped because the group is not allowed to peforme (work)!
    What should I do?

  36. I have a software download

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