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How To Turn Your Windows 7 Laptop Into a WiFi Hotspot

While WiFi is essentially everywhere you look, sometimes while traveling, you’ll be in a situation where you only have a wired Ethernet connection. What happens then if you need to connect your “WiFi only” device to the internet? If you have a Windows 7 laptop, you can turn it into a WiFi hotspot and share its wireless connection with your device via an Ad Hoc network. Here’s how to do it without third-party utilities.

Note: Windows 8 has quietly removed this feature, but you can still do this with XP – Windows 7.

What You’ll Need

  • A Laptop with built-in WiFi capability
  • A mobile device with WiFi capability (For example: Kindle Fire HD, iPod touch, Nexus 7)
  • A hard wired Ethernet connection

Turn Your Windows 7 Laptop into a WiFi Hotspot

Click the wired network connection icon in the System Tray and select Open Network and Sharing Center.

Network and Sharing Center

In the screen that opens, click “Set Up a New Connection or Network” under Change your Network Settings.

create ad hoc

Now select the bottom option to set up a wireless ad hoc network.

Set Up Wireless Ad hoc

The Wireless Ad Hoc Network wizard will start up. Click Next.

ad hoc Wizard

On the next screen, give your ad hoc network a name, select your security type, and enter a security key. If you’re in a public place, I recommend WPA2 for best security of your network.

Network Setup

It should just take a few seconds and your ad hoc network will be ready to use.

Ready to Use

If you click the connection icon in the system tray, you’ll see the network you just created in the list waiting for users.

Network Waiting for Users

Then go into Network and Sharing Center and select Change Adapter Settings.

Change Adapter Settings

Then check “Allow Other Network Users to Connect Through this Computer’s Internet Connection” and click OK.

Allow computers to Connect

Now you’ll be able to see the shared WiFi connection from your laptop on your mobile device. Just connect to it and you’ll have internet access on device in not time.

iPod Touch WiFi

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6 Responses to How To Turn Your Windows 7 Laptop Into a WiFi Hotspot

  1. tooltip86 March 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Thanks, that’s a very “groovy” feature. But I have a question, does this work in a desktop computer? I was thinking about sharing internet from my desktop pc to a smartphone using a usb wireless adapter.

  2. Brian Burgess March 12, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    @tooltip86: Yes, it should work. However, I have had varying degrees of success using USB Wireless Adapters on a tower desktop.

    For example, the connection from a D-Link DWA-130/RE was very sketchy. So, I guess your mileage may vary.

  3. George March 13, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    But what manages DHCP for the wireless clients that connect to your “hotspot?” Are they placed on the WLAN network and bascially just pass through the PC, or does the “hotspot PC” act as the DHCP server for the clients? Or, do I need to manually set up IP addresses on the clients? Thanks!

    • Snail April 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

      It should get IP address from reserved private IP pool.
      You probably have seen one if you ever had DHCP server failing or absent.

  4. Roshan Cader March 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    Thanks a lot for this great tutorial. Much appreciated.

  5. Adam dyer September 16, 2014 at 4:42 am #

    not working in my windows 7
    i did all that

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