How to Use Windows PC as Router (Wireless and Wired)

Public Wi-Fi are pretty common in hotels and eateries and have been present for quite some time. But it will be a bummer if you’re limited to accessing the Wi-Fi on only one of your devices and you use multiple devices at once. To sort this out, you can use a Windows PC as a router which can be then used to connect multiple devices both wirelessly or using a wire.

1.  Enabling Hotspot on Windows Devices

Starting with Windows 10 version 1607 and on Windows 11 as well, Microsoft introduced the native functionality to share your Windows PC’s internet connection using Wi-Fi hotspot with other devices. Here is how you can do it.

Also Read: How to Find Out Your Build and Version of Windows

This method is with the understanding that you have access to the Internet via Wi-Fi or ethernet and your Windows PC can connect to a Wi-Fi network. Most modern PCs have Wi-Fi enabled so this should not be a problem. With this out of the way, let’s get started.

Though we’ve showcased it in effect with an Android, connecting with Wi-Fi is similar in other devices like iOS, Android TVs among others, so it should not pose any problems.

On Windows PC

1. Search for Mobile hotspot from the search icon on the taskbar and click on the Mobile hotspot.

Note: If you don’t see the above option then update to the latest version of Windows or use the wired method mentioned in the later part.

2. Mobile hotspot is off by default. Click on Share my internet connection from option to change the source of sharing Internet. 

sharing connection from Wi-Fi

For example, if you select Wi-Fi in the dropdown menu, your Windows PC will share the Wi-Fi network it is connected to with other nearby devices. If you select Ethernet then Windows PC will share that with other devices.

3. Now, click on Share over and select if you’d like to share the Internet using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. By default, it is set as Wi-Fi and you should leave it as is since Wi-Fi offers faster data transfer speed and better connectivity over longer durations.

sharing data over wi-fi

4. In the Properties section click on Edit

Edit option for mobile hotspot settings

5. Enter the Network Name and Network Password as per your choice and click on Save. These credentials need to be entered in the secondary device when connecting to this shared Wi-Fi network.

Configuring credentials for PC router

6. We’ve left the Network Band option as Any available but you should set it to 5 GHz if you’re also going to use a Bluetooth device alongside the device that is to be connected with this shared Wi-Fi network. And if not then you can leave it as is or set it to 2.4 GHz for a longer range.

Network band selection in PC settings

7. Enable Mobile hotspot to turn on the shared Wi-Fi network.

turning the toggle on

Your Windows PC is not ready to be used as a hotspot. Now let’s move to the secondary device that you want to connect to the newly formed Windows hotspot.

On Secondary Device

1. Open Wi-Fi Settings and the device will detect the network created by the Windows PC. Enter the Network Password as set in Windows PC, press on Connect and your device will now connect to the Wi-Fi network created by Windows desktop.

testing wireless hotspot from PC as router

Using this method, you can connect up to 8 devices with your Windows PC hotspot simultaneously.

2. Sharing Internet via Wired Connection

Most users would be able to connect any device to Windows acting as a hotspot using the wireless method above. But if your Windows PC doesn’t have a Wi-Fi adapter or you don’t want to update to the latest version of Windows, you can refer to the wired method using a USB charging cable.

We’ve tested the method on Windows 10 and 11 but it should also work on Windows 7. The caveat is that it only works with Android and Android subsidiary devices like Android TVs, tablets, etc.

The feature is available for quite some time. It is completely open-source, and safe to use which was made possible by the developers of Genymobile on GitHub. We noticed no ads or anything out of order during our testing at the time of writing this article.

On Android

1. On your Android, open Settings, scroll down to the end and tap on About phone.

about phone in android

2. Now select Software Information and tap 7 times on Build Number to enable Developer’s options (you might have to enter your lock screen PIN afterward).

unlocking developer options

3. Now go back twice to the Settings menu, scroll down, and tap on Developer’s options (sometimes listed under the System tab in some Android phones). From here, scroll down to find USB Debugging and turn it on (there might be a prompt, just tap on OK).

developer options in android

On Windows Device

1. Download the latest version of gnirehtet tool on the Windows PC. It is open source and generally considered safe since it is available on GitHub.

2. In the Releases section on the bottom right, click on the latest release. In our case it is v2.5.1.

releases in github

3. Click on to download the tool.

donwload from github

4. Right-click on the downloaded file, then Extract All and press Enter.

extracting zip file

5. Download the Android Platform Tools by Google and extract it the same way as well.

6. Move all the files from the folder platform-tools to the folder gnirehtet-rust-win64.

all files in one folder

7. Now, type cmd in the address bar of the folder and press Enter to open the command window on your PC.

cmd prompt command

Connecting Devices

1. Connect your Android with your Windows PC using the USB Charging cable. Then type adb devices in the command window on Windows and press Enter to check for connection. 

adb request for Android

2. When you press Enter, there will be a prompt on your Android. Mark the option Always allow from this computer and tap on Allow.

USB Debugging prompt

3. Now in the command window type adb install -r gnirehtet.apk and press Enter. This would install the gnirehtet app on the Android but it won’t be visible in the app drawer.

4. From the folder containing all the tool files on Windows, locate and open gnirehtet-run executable file.

Run batch file for wired router

5. You will get a prompt on the Android to allow for a VPN connection, tap on OK. The phone will now be connected to the web and you can continue browsing.

Connection request in android

6. On the command window in PC you will see some IP addresses running with Open and Close, this is the Android accessing the internet for multiple core services. You should keep the command window open in Windows to continue browsing.

wired router connection start

7. To end your wired connection press Ctrl+C in the command window.

router wired connection end

After the initial set-up is done, all steps are not required every time. You can only run the gnirehtet-run executable file on your PC with your Android connected with it to access the internet the wired way.

Accio Internet!

With this detailed comprehensive guide, now you can connect multiple devices to the Internet even if you forgot to pay your phone bill or the public Wi-Fi allows only one device. Converting your Windows PC into a router will also come in handy when your router is not working properly.

Read this guide if your Wi-Fi is not working but ethernet is.

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is Senior Writer DZ-TECH, where he covers the world of technology, hacking, cybersecurity, surveillance and privacy.

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