How to Turn Your Windows Laptop into a Wi-Fi Hotspot

Share your laptop's internet connection with your other devices

Connectify turns your Windows 7 laptop into a wi-fi hotspot or access point
Connectify turns your Windows 7 laptop into a wi-fi hotspot or access point. Connectify

Many of us these days have more than one device we'd like to connect to the internet--smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other wireless devices. Hefty tethering charges and fees for Wi-Fi hotspot access when you're away from home or traveling can add up for all those devices, so it isn't always economical to pay to have all of them connected. Thankfully, there's free software called Connectify that can share your Windows laptop's internet connection over Wi-Fi with nearby wireless devices.

Here's how to use Connectify turn your laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Note: If you have a wired Internet connection (e.g., one Ethernet connection in your hotel room) or a 3G cellular data modem for your computer, you can also use Internet Connection Sharing, a built-in Windows feature to share an Internet connection. See How to Share Internet Access (XP), Share an Internet Connection on Windows Vista, or Share an Internet Connection on Windows 7. If you have a Mac, you can Share Your Mac's Internet Connection via Wi-Fi as well.

  1. Download and install Connectify (from CNet).
  2. Click on the Connectify logo in the Notification Tray at the bottom right of your desktop (the icon looks like a radio wave).
  3. Select the Internet connection you want to share.
  4. Now you'll create a wi-fi hotspot: choose a name for your wireless network.
  5. Choose a wireless password. The network is encrypted with WPA2-AES encryption.
  1. Select "Access Point" mode to turn your laptop into a wi-fi access point; if it's not available you'll have to choose "Ad Hoc", which is less secure and has other limitations (learn about ad hoc wireless networks)
  2. Click the Start Hotspot Sharing button to turn on the wi-fi network
  3. On the client devices, you should be able to see the new wi-fi network you just created and use standard wi-fi connection instructions to connect to that wireless network.


    1. Connectify can also be used to extend the range of your home wireless router. Install it on your Windows laptop, connect to your home network and start the hotspot service, and you can extend the wi-fi signal.
    2. If you have problems using Connectify with your wireless adapter, try updating the wireless drivers either from Windows Update or your laptop manufacturer's support site.
    3. See the site for other troubleshooting issues.

    What You Need:

    • a Windows computer with wireless adapter
    • client computers with wireless adapters
    • Connectify software (free)
    • Internet access for the Windows computer