I made my PC its own hot spot! Now I can connect my Zune, Windows Phone or any other wi-fi enabled device to it wirelessly and sync or get new content. Let’s take a look at how I did it. All these wi-fi setups have WPA or WPA-2 security, so the same level as your home wifi network (assuming you did set this up).
There are three ways that I found – I’m using the third way because I couldn’t get the other two to work. There may be other possibilities out there, but I’m going to stop with the third try is the charm. I used free software called Connectify by Alex Gizis. You can watch Alex in the short video below where he explains how to set up your own hotspot in just a few minutes.
I really liked the part at the end where he said the software could be downloaded from the safe site, download.com. That’s where I went to download and install. While installing, be wary for the additional software they want you to install and uncheck the box (unless you want it). There was an install wizard, so I told it to start up, but I really didn’t need it as it was so simple. The steps were…
- Choose a name for my wifi network
- Choose a password
- Click on the drop-down next to ‘Internet’ and select ‘wireless network connection’
- At the bottom of the pop-up, click ‘turn on sharing’
- Start enjoying!
You can see my wi-fi setup below and that I have one device connected to it – my Windows Phone 7. It was as simple as going to my phone settings and selecting my new wi-fi network and it connected right away. I do notice that when my phone screen goes dark, the connection breaks and when I turn on the display, it’s connected back to my home wi-fi again – don’t know why that happens.
Uses for A Computer HotSpot
The Connectify website has a great section on this. I like it for my wi-fi devices. Just think if you have an iPod Touch or iPad, you could use it to make free or low-cost Skype calls when traveling. You could access web sites and shop on-line. If your smart phone has a small data plan, just connect your phone to your hotspot and surf or message without incurring data usage costs.
Perhaps you’re at a hotel or airport where they charge you for each device you connect – there’s a big savings. Perhaps you just want to do some file sharing with colleagues – Connectify will do the job. Below is a graphic from the site showing the possibilities. There is Connectify for Android too.
Two Other Ways to Make Your Windows Computer a HotSpot
I first found Virtual Router by Codeplex. This looked like a super simple way to connect, very similar to Connectify. I downloaded the software and installed it, following the directions, but I got the dreaded error message that so many have complained about – Virtual Router Could Not Be Started. I tried uninstalling, rebooting and reinstalling and still nothing. I checked and my wireless driver was one on the compatible list, but it wouldn’t work. I read some of the help and the remedies were too complex for me, but I did find out about another way…
Windows 7 Virtual WiFi
This is called a ‘hidden secret’ within Windows 7. I found it while reading about Virtual Router and decided to try that second. When I ‘binged’ Windows 7 Virtual WiFi, the top results weren’t from Microsoft at all – I was a bit surprised at that.
I used directions from Blogsdna. The steps are below from the site:
How to Setup Virtual WiFi on Windows 7
1. Open a command-prompt with administrator privileges.
Click on Start menu, All Programs, Accessories, right-click on Command Prompt, select “Run as administrator”). Type in:
2. Configure the “hosted” interface:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=Test key=password
This example creates an access-point with an SSID of “Test”,
3. Configure Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)
Open up the networking control panel. Select the interface that currently has Internet connection (like your Ethernet or normal wifi), enable “Sharing”, and then select the special “hosted” interface.
4. Start it
netsh wlan start hostednetwork
I did fine until I got to #3 and I couldn’t find the ‘special hosted interface’, so gave up on that one. That’s when I found Connectify and it all worked.
I wanted to list the three ways I found in hopes that if you’re wanting to try it out, you’ll have links for all three in case the first way doesn’t work.
Let me know if you tried any of these out and which worked for you.