Fix: Hosted Network Issues on Windows 7, 8 or 10

How can one tell if their computer can run a Hosted Network? First things first, what is a Hosted Network? A virtual network, also known as a hosted wireless network or a virtual access point, is a wireless network that your PC can set up for other wireless devices to access and connect to. The wireless Hosted Network is a new WLAN feature supported on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 and on Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Wireless LAN Service installed. This feature is implements the following:

  • The virtualization of a physical wireless adapter into more than one virtual wireless adapter sometimes referred to as Virtual Wi-Fi.
  • A software-based wireless access point (AP) sometimes referred to as a SoftAP that uses a designated virtual wireless adapter.

The two are enable and disabled at the same time. It is not possible to have only one enabled at a time. The virtual network feature lets you set up a wireless hotspot from which other computers can connect to your computer and even to the internet through your computer.

So how do you tell if your computer has a hosted wireless network and how do you activate it? This guide will give you a procedure to this and tell you how to fix an inactive virtual network.

How can I tell if my Wi-Fi card support virtual network?

The hosted network is a recent feature in windows. It came into existence with the release of windows 7. It is therefore supported in the following Microsoft operating systems:

  • The following operating systems can run wireless hosted networks and SoftAP: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10.
  • The following operating systems cannot run wireless hosted networks and SoftAP: Windows 7 Starter Edition, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or any older version of Windows.

Therefore if your computer was built for a Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10, then your computer’s Wi-Fi card is capable of a hosted wireless network. Check the back of your computer, or on the side of your laptop for a windows sticker. If it has a sticker of the mentioned operating system then it supports a hosted network.

If your computer was originally running on Windows Vista, Windows XP or any earlier versions, then it is probably not compatible with a virtual wireless network. The Wi-Fi hardware of the previous operating systems might not support a hosted network. If you also built your computer from scratch, there might be a possibility that it is not compatible with the Wi-Fi hotspot feature.

To find out if your computer supports a virtual network, follow these instructions:

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run
  2. Type CMD in the run textbox and hit enter to open command prompt
  3. Type “netsh wlan show drivers” in the Command prompt window and press the Enter key.
  4. Scroll up until you see a line that says “Hosted Network Support”.
  5.   If the setting says Yes, your computer’s hardware supports the creation of wireless hosted networks, if it says No, then it doesn’t.

However, if the Hosted Network Support says No it is not always the case that it does not support a wireless hosted network. If your Wi-Fi card device is not working properly, then it won’t be available for analysis therefore the support report will always say No. This could be because of a faulty device or bad drivers. Here is how you can remedy this situation especially if your computer was able to set up a hotspot network previous.

Method 1: Update your Wi-Fi card drivers

If you upgraded to another OS e.g. from Windows 7 to Windows 10, then the previous drivers might not be compatible with the new OS, rendering your Wi-Fi card inoperable. Here is how to update your drivers and set up a wireless hosted network.

Step 1: Troubleshoot your hardware

This step will install your Wi-Fi card if it isn’t already installed. Make sure you are connected to the internet via the Ethernet cable.

  1. Press the Windows logo key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type control in the Run dialog box, then press Enter.
  3. In the Search box in Control Panel, type troubleshooter, and then click Troubleshooting.
  4. Under the Hardware and Sound item, click Configure a device. If you are prompted to enter an administrator password or provide confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  5. Press Next and let the troubleshooter scan for problems. Fix all emerging problems.

Step 2: Update your Wi-Fi card drivers

Step 1 will install your missing driver. If you already had half functional/bad drivers, you will need to update to the latest compatible drivers. You will need to connect to the internet via the Ethernet for this step.

  1. Press the Windows logo key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type devmgmt.msc in the Run dialog box, then press Enter. If you are prompted for an administrator password or for a confirmation, type the password, or click Allow
  3. In Device Manager, expand Network Adapters devices
  4. Right click on your Wireless/Wi-Fi device and select ‘Update Driver Software’
  5. Choose ‘Scan Automatically for Updated driver software’ and let the scan find and update your drivers
  6. Restart your computer

Step 3: Set up a hosted network on your computer via command prompt

You must be an administrator to do this.

  1. Press Windows + R to open Run
  2. Type CMD in the run textbox and hit enter to open command prompt
  3. Type “netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=YourWiFiName key=YourWiFiPassword” in the Command prompt window and press the Enter key; where YourWiFiName and YourWiFiPassword are your virtual network name and password respectively.
  4. Type netsh wlan start hostednetwork to start your wireless hosted network

This will start a wireless hosted network with your name of choice and password of choice.

  1. To stop the hosted network via command prompt, type: netsh wlan stop hostednetwork
  2. To show the hosted networks on your PC via command prompt, type: netsh wlan show hostednetwork

If your network does not create in step 3 then probably, your computer does not supported a virtual network, especially if you can connect to other Wi-Fi hotspots from your computer.

Also checkout hosted network couldn’t be started if you get this error when starting up the adapter via command prompt.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.