How-To: Share your Internet connection between multiple computers (Ad-Hoc)

If you’ve ever been in a situation similar to mine where you have multiple computers, one Ethernet cable and no wireless router then don’t sweat it. You’re still in luck!

If one of your computers has at least two network cards, for example an Ethernet port and wireless capabilities, then you can connect one computer via the Ethernet connection and broadcast that same connection over that computer’s wireless card so that other computers can connect. I’ll show you how below.

I will be walking through the steps in Windows Vista, but the steps should be the same across all platforms. If you’re using a different platform then just try to find the same dialogs and options on that system and everything should work fine.

  1. Open the Control Panel. To do this, go to Start->Control Panel
    If you’re in Windows Vista and your Control Panel window looks like this:

    You will need to click on the option labeled “Classic View” in the upper left corner of the window. This will change the layout of the Control Panel so that I don’t have to rewrite this How-To in multiple different directions. After changing the layout, your Control Panel should look like this:
  2. In the image above, the icon for “Network and Sharing Center” is selected. Double click on this option. When the window changes you should see a list of tasks in the left column. Click on the item from the list labeled “Manage network connections“. This will open a new window that should show the network cards available on your computer.
  3. Make sure that your Ethernet cable is plugged into your computer and your Internet source and that the Internet connection is working fine on that computer. Now right click on the option labeled “Local Area Connection” and select “Properties” from the menu (User Account Control will most likely ask you if you wish to continue and just agree and click continue if it does).
  4. The Properties window will open on a tab labeled “Networking” with a list of items that the connection uses. Just ignore all of that and switch to the tab labeled “Sharing.” The options on the “Sharing” tab should be selected as follows. Enable the option labeled “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.” Disable the option labeled “Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection.” After matching these settings, click “OK” to save the changes.
  5. You can now close the window for “Network Connections” and reopen the window for “Network and Sharing Center.” If you have already closed this window by accident then you can follow steps 1 and 2 again, except this time instead of clicking on the option to “Manage network connections” you want to select the option to “Setup a connection or network.
  6. When the “Setup a connection or network window opens, it will have a list of networks that you can setup. The one that you want to setup is selected in the image above and is labeled “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network. Setup a temporary network for sharing files or an Internet connection.
  7. When the “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network” window is open, it will explain a little bit about the network. Just click “Next” until you get to a form that is empty and looks like the form below:

    You need to give the network that you are creating a name that you will be able to recognize and it can be anything that you want!

    You also have the option to add security to your network. I highly advise this as you have more control over your network, so just select the option for “WEP” and below it enter some form of a password.

    You can click the option to “Display characters” while you are entering the key/passphrase. This will make it easier to make a new key for your network.

    Don’t forget to also enable the option to “Save this network” if you plan on using it later!

    If you hover the text box for the key/passphrase, you will see a notification tooltip that explains how the passwords work. You should follow those instructions to create your password and make sure it is the correct length as specified in the tooltip.

  8. Click “Next” to complete the setup and close any open windows. Your Ad-Hoc network is now setup and you should now be able to see a wireless signal on your other computers. Connecting to your network will require the users to know the key/passphrase that you entered, but once connected..all of the other computers should be able to browse the web and connect to instant messengers…anything you need!

If you have any questions then please ask them in the comments! Just remember to follow the steps closely before asking. Enjoy!

18 thoughts on “How-To: Share your Internet connection between multiple computers (Ad-Hoc)”

  1. using Internet Explorer 7 Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista Windows Vista
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 3.0.04506; InfoPath.2)

    sir i am satisfied with your expination about the network you have explained about sharing of network in vista.but i need to know about please tell me about.and also please tell me can we use switch for this purpose,insted of routers.if what are the steps we need to follow.

    1. using Maxthon 2 Maxthon 2 on Windows 7 Windows 7
      Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/4.0; SLCC2; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; Media Center PC 6.0; BRI/2; .NET4.0C; .NET4.0E; Maxthon 2.0)

      Thank You!

  2. using Firefox 3 Firefox 3 on Windows Vista Windows Vista
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-GB; rv: Gecko/2008102920 Firefox/3.0.4

    I have followed the steps but the problem is that my Vista laptop broadcasts the Wireless signal of my ADSL Connection to my XP PC. It has worked but then it has stopped. The XP PC says it is connected but the internet does not work. Firefox and IE alike show “Page Cannot Be Displayed”. Any ideas?
    Thanks a lot

  3. using Firefox 3 Firefox 3 on Windows Vista Windows Vista
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv: Gecko/2008102920 Firefox/3.0.4

    please my host laptop is connected to the internet via evdo express card. i now tried to share via the adhoc connection but the connected laptops just read “local” alone

  4. using Opera 10 Opera 10 on GNU/Linux GNU/Linux
    Opera/10.00 (X11; Linux x86_64 ; U; en) Presto/2.2.0

    Make sure you followed step #4 correctly. It sounds like you setup the wireless connection from the host computer, but forgot to first make sure to share the Internet connection through the signal.

  5. using Firefox 2 Firefox 2 on Windows XP Windows XP
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20081217 Firefox/

    I have two laptops one of which is connected directly to the internet via LAN cable. One’s using Vista and the other one xp. There’s no other free port left to connect the other laptop to the main one (the one that is connected to the internet). Therefore, I have lately bought a switch which enables the connection between both laptops. I have not tried to connect them yet because I still need either an extra cross-over or a straight cable whose one end is to be plugged into the switch and the other end connects it to the second laptop. The question is however, whether or not the second laptop will be able to share the internet with the main one without the need of a separate ip, other configurations based on the provider,.. Or basically how do I get all this working properly?! I live in a dormitory and the internet connection is restricted. It takes a certain amount of time to have one’s computer registered in the network in order to be able to access the internet. Any help, hints, suggestions will be deeply appreciated.

  6. using Internet Explorer 7 Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista Windows Vista
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; {2B1A02D1-91AA-FE21-4301-778E814791F2}; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 3.0.04506; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)

    Hi! Thank you for the tutorial, however, I have a windows Vista computer and when I click “ok” to save the sharing changes it says “An error occured while internet connection sharing was being enabled”, please help.

  7. using Internet Explorer 7 Internet Explorer 7 on Windows XP Windows XP
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)

    Did you actually test this technique with more than 2 computers?
    I have used it several times in hotel rooms while travelling with 2 laptops, but today I tried with a third one, and never managed. It will connect, or rather look connected, but cannot even ping the sharing laptop. I repaired both connections, restarted the sharing, etc to no avail. Another laptop gave the same result.
    All of them running XP SP3: 2 eeePC901, 1 Gateway1025MX sharing

  8. using Internet Explorer 7 Internet Explorer 7 on Windows Vista Windows Vista
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; GTB5; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30618)

    I am not having option “Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network” on my desktop PC.

    I am having Windows Vista Home Basic + SP1

    Please guide me how to get this option.


  9. using Internet Explorer 6 Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP Windows XP
    Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)

    hi! can you please give me some help? i want to multiple my network, that’s why i bought a router and problem is; i can’t connect to the internet if i connect the cable from router to hub, but i can connect to the internet if i connect the cable from router directly to computer. is there any configuration that i need to do?
    thank you for your consideration…

  10. using Google Chrome 2 Google Chrome 2 on Windows XP Windows XP
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/530.5 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/530.5

    Can you provide steps for the same problem (i.e sharing internet connection between two computers having windows xp(not vista)

  11. using Firefox 3 Firefox 3 on Windows 7 Windows 7
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20091201 Firefox/3.5.6

    can you tell me if there is a way so that i can keep track of the client computer’s passwords and the browsing sites after connecting and sharing internet.,

  12. using Firefox 3 Firefox 3 on Windows Vista Windows Vista
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv: Gecko/20091221 Firefox/3.5.7 (.NET CLR 3.5.30729)

    Hi…i’ve tried the steps but on the network and sharing center it shows that the ADHOC network that i’ve created cannot access the internet…it only says Access: Local only
    im using Vista on my laptop with LAN cable and XP on the other

  13. using Google Chrome 13 Google Chrome 13 on Windows 7 Windows 7
    Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1) AppleWebKit/535.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/13.0.782.112 Safari/535.1

    Sir, i have just upgrading my window vista to window 7 ultimate.i am using my iphone to connect internet. i want to share the connection with my ipad. i have problems that my internet connection could not be set up. i had followed the steps required but after the last step it appears to say that my connection cannot be set up. Do u have any idea why is it? and how to overcome the problems.My wireless connection is Intel PRO/Wireless 3945ABG

  14. using Opera Mini 4 Opera Mini 4 on J2ME/MIDP Device J2ME/MIDP Device
    Opera/9.80 (J2ME/MIDP; Opera Mini/4.2.14912/28.2173; U; en) Presto/2.8.119 Version/11.10

    Hello thanks for sharing.

    I have 10 computers and each has a bluetooth device installed. When connecting all these computer to one with internet connection (server), is it possible to extablish the connection among these computers using just a bluetooth device or will i need something like a router to do that?


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