How to Set Up WiFi Hotspot in Windows 8

Last year, my roommate moved out of my apartment and ended up taking our wireless router. I didn’t want to wait for twenty-four hours for Amazon to send me my new router, so I decided to turn my PC into a wireless router (or hotspot). My PC, which was wired directly to my modem, turned out to be a great replacement for my router and allowed me to hook up to the internet via WiFi with my laptop and mobile devices.

There are two ways of turning your Windows 8 PC into a wireless router, and I will walk you through both.

1. Press the “Windows + R” key combination to bring up a run box, type “ncpa.cpl” and hit enter.

PC Router - CMD

2. When your network connections open, right-click on your Wireless network adapter and select “Properties” from the context menu.

PC Router - Wireless Choose

3. Switch over to the “Sharing” tab and allow other devices to use your machine’s Internet by selecting the first checkbox and then unchecking the second before clicking on the OK button.

PC Router - Wifi Options

4. Right-click in the bottom left of your screen to launch an administrative command prompt.

PC Router - Command Prompt Admin

5. The first thing we need to do is set up the wireless network; this is done using the “netsh” command.

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid="How-To " key="Pa$$w0rd"

Where “ssid” is the name of your network and “key” is the password you want users to connect with, it’s also worth mentioning that the access point is created with WPA2-PSK (AES) encryption.

PC Router - Command Prompt Enter 1

6. Now we are ready to start broadcasting our network:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

PC Router - Command Prompt Enter 2

Fortunately, Virtual Router Plus, a free utility that adds WiFi hotspot capabilities to Windows 8, is a much easier alternative to setting up a hotspot through the command prompt.

First off, be really careful during setup. The software is not totally “free,” as the installer comes packed with adware. It’s easy enough to bypass if you pay attention, but potentially troublesome if you don’t.

After you install the program, it’ll pop open a help page in your browser, which you may need to verify whether you have the required device drivers. You can skip that for now; instead, try using the utility.

PC Router - Virtual Router Plus

To do so, give your network a name (e.g. SSID), then enter a password (to keep freeloaders out). Finally, choose the connection you want to share (which is probably whatever appears as the default). Now click “Start Virtual Router Plus.” After a few moments you should be able to detect your new network from your phone, tablet, or even another PC.

Now that you set up your PC to be able to emit wireless Internet, don’t throw out your router! A router is much faster than a PC hotspot. That being said, this is a cool alternative for times when you need wireless Internet in your house but don’t have access to a router.

Image credit: Wifi Hotspot SignBigStockPhoto