How to Share Your Internet Connection on Windows Vista

Share your internet access with another PC

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If you need to share that one Internet connection with multiple devices, you can use the built-in Internet Connection Sharing feature in Windows Vista to allow other computers or mobile devices to go online as well. In essence, you can turn your computer into a wireless hotspot (or wired router) for other devices nearby.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows Vista.

How to Share an Internet Connection on Windows Vista

You'll need a Windows Vista computer connected to the Internet and another network adapter, client computers that are TCP-IP enabled and capable of an Internet connection, a network adapter for each computer, and a modem for the entire network. Here's how to get connected.

  1. Log on to the Windows host computer (the one connected to the Internet) as an Administrator.

  2. Go to Network Connections in your Control Panel by going to Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center and then select Manage network connections.

    Screenshot of Network and Sharing Center
  3. Right-click the internet connection that you want to share (e.g., Local Area Connection), select Properties, and choose the Sharing tab.

    The sharing tab will only appear if you have two types of network connections: one for your Internet connection and another that the client computers can connect to, such as a wireless adapter.

    Screenshot of Internet Connection Sharing
  4. Select the Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection check box. Select OK to apply the changes and close the dialog box.

If you want other network users to be able to control or disable the Internet connection, select that option. It is useful for dial-up network connections; otherwise, it's probably best left disabled.

You can also optionally allow other network users to use services running on your network, such as a mail or web server, under the Settings option.

Once ICS is enabled, you can set up an ad hoc wireless network or use newer Wi-Fi direct technology so the other devices can connect directly to your host computer for internet access.

Clients that connect to the host computer should have their network adapters set to get their IP address automatically (look in the network adapter properties, under TCP/IPv4 or TCP/IPv6 and click Obtain an IP address automatically).

If you create a VPN connection from your host computer to a corporate network, all of the computers on your local network would be able to access the corporate network if you use ICS.

If you share your Internet connection over an ad-hoc network, ICS will be disabled if you disconnect from the ad hoc network, create a new ad hoc network, or log off from the host computer.