How To Share Internet From Laptop To Desktop

There are several ways that you could share the internet from laptop to desktop. This involves a bit of computer networking knowledge.

Computers installed with Windows Operating Systems tend to be easier to deal with as compared with others such as Linux.

The laptop may also be referred to as the host computer. The reason is that it is the one from which internet is shared.

Sharing Internet From Laptop to Desktop

There are two basic ways to share internet from laptop to desktop. They both include turning your laptop to act as an internet access point so that you do not have to use a router, switch or hub and sharing the internet connection.

  1. 1
    Using Ethernet
  2. 2
    urning the Laptop into Wireless Hotspot

Option 1: Making the Laptop Host

If you already have the internet on your laptop, then performing some small configuration on your laptop can be the easiest way to share the internet with your desktop.

You will need.

Assuming the Internet on your Laptop is activated through Wifi:

  1. 1
    Laptop on your Internet
  2. 2
    Desktop Connected to the Laptop via Ethernet
  3. 3
    Alternative: Desktop and Laptop both Connected to a Central Modem/Router
Step 1: Setting the Laptop as the Host

The first step in sharing internet from laptop to desktop involves creating a connection between the laptop to the broadband modem. It involves using Ethernet cable or 3G/4G hotspot through USB cable. When connecting the modem to the laptop through Ethernet, you require two Ethernet ports that connect to modem and hub or router. One for connecting laptop and another for connecting the desktop.

Use an Ethernet cable to connect both the laptop and the desktop to Wireless Area Network port of a hub or a router. Please note that as you connect the desktop to the hub or router, you do not need additional settings, and that the desktop may run on any OS. Alternatively, you may connect the laptop and the desktop using an Ethernet cable.

On the laptop, open the Network Connections Window from the control panel or launch the window by clicking the keys Windows+R and type ncpa.cpl.

Related: How To Connect An Ethernet Cable To A Laptop With No Port

run command

Place the cursor on the adapter connected to internet and right-click on it. The adapter may either be a hotspot or cable modem. Ensure that you are NOT clicking on the adapter connected to any other network.

network settings

On the popup window that appears, click on Properties and then select the Sharing tab.


Ensure that the checkbox named “Allow Other Network Users to Connect through this Computer’s Internet Connection” is checked and then apply (press OK) the settings. This allows you to convert the laptop into a host computer that can act as an internet access point.

Optional: Within the sharing tab, click on Settings button to activate specific devices. If you would like to access File Transfer Protocol or email, it may be helpful to you. On the list of services provided, ensure that the checkbox for the service that you need is enabled.

Your laptop is now SETUP as a HOST.

Step 2: Router Configuration

This is an essential step in sharing the internet from laptop to desktop.

Having set up the laptop to act as a host, you need to allow the router to activate the connection. Hubs and switches do not need additional configuration settings and may therefore be ignored in this case.

On the router internet settings page, ensure that the DHCP server is enabled and the IP address is generated automatically. The words may differ from one router to another, depending on its model and manufacturer.

Finally, having configured the laptop and router, connect the desktop computer to router, switch or hub. If you use an Ethernet cable, connect the desktop to Local Area Network ports of the router, switch or hub. On the other hand, if you use a wireless connection, connect to the router the way you connect to other wireless networks.

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If the sharing tab is not visible in the Wi-Fi properties window, ensure that you have more than one network adapters installed on your laptop device. In some cases, you may find that the desktop may fail to receive internet connection even after following the steps above.

If such scenario happens to you, it may be due to failure to receive valid Internet Protocol(IP) address. Therefore, you need to navigate to network connections window of the desktop computer, right-click on network adapter and click properties.

Select TCP/IPv4 and click Properties. Finally, enable the checkbox that is adjacent to “Obtain IP address automatically”. Do the same to the TCP/IPv6.

Related: How To Extend Wifi Range

obtain address automatically

Option 2: Turning The Laptop Into Wireless Hotspot

If the first option does not work for you, you can follow this method to share internet from laptop to desktop.

You will need:

  1. 1
    A Laptop connected to Internet
  2. 2
    A Free Wireless Adapter
Step 1: Setup a Manual/Ad Hoc Wireless Network

In this method, you need to ensure that you have set up the laptop as a host computer by following the steps described above in Step 1. Furthermore, ensure you have additional unused wireless adapter so that you can broadcast the network’s signal to the desktop computer. You may either need a wireless card or USB wireless adapter installed on the laptop in order to achieve this process.

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Ensure that you allow the internet connection to be shared on adapter that is linked to the internet (again follow the steps mentioned above).

NOTE: Do not allow internet to be shared on the second adapter that you used to create the network.

Follow these steps.

  1. 1
    Go to network settings and sharing center by right-clicking on the network icon located at the system tray.
open network settings

A new window indicating the active network connections will pop up.

  1. 2
    If you are on Windows 10, click “Network and Sharing Center”
pop up 2

Another Window will pop up.

  1. 3
    Click on Set up a new connection or network.
network and sharing center
  1. 4
    If you are Windows 10, select, “manually Connect to Wireless Network”. If you are Windows 7 and below Set up a wireless ad hoc (computer to computer) network.
manually setup wireless
  1. 5
    On the Window that pops up, configure the new network name by providing the network name and the network security type. Please note that choosing the security type is critical since it dictates who is allowed to access the network that you are creating.
create network

It is important to utilize the WPA2-Personal security so that you can set a secure password that only you can access from the desktop. Ensure that the password cannot get easily guessed or else the network may get attacked.

Once you accomplish this, select the save this network box so that you do not need to set up the network again when you restart the laptop.

Step 2: Connect Your Desktop

You can now connect the desktop computer to the laptop via the newly created wireless network. On the desktop computer, enable Wi-Fi access and then click on the network icon to view available networks.

Once you find the name of the wireless network that you created from the laptop on the list of networks provided, select it and enter the security key when prompted. You can then access the internet and browse using the laptop’s internet.

In case you are not able to connect to the wireless network, your device may be old and therefore you may need to reduce the network security on your laptop to WEP instead of WPA2.

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