How to Fix ‘We can’t set up mobile Hotspot’ Error on Windows 10?

Some Windows users are reporting that every time they attempt to enable the mobile feature on their Windows 10 computer they end up seeing the “We can’t set up mobile hotspot’ error.

‘We can’t set up mobile hotspot’ error on Windows 10

After investigating this particular issue thoroughly, it turns out that there are several different underlying scenarios that might cause this particular error code. Here’s a shortlist of potential culprits that might be responsible for the apparition of this error code:

  • Common Network Adapter Glitch – Since one of the most common causes that might cause this problem is a common Network Adapter inconsistency, you should start by running the Network Adapter troubleshooter and applying the recommended fix.
  • The Hosted Network feature is Disabled – Under certain circumstances, you can expect to encounter this problem because a feature requirement (hosted network) is disabled on your computer. If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to fix this problem by enabling Hosted Networks from an elevated Command Prompt.
  • Network Sharing is Disabled – If you’re encountering this error while trying to enable a hotspot from your home network, you can expect to see this problem because network sharing is disabled for your current network adapter. In this case, you should be able to fix the problem by re-enabling network sharing.
  • Glitched Network Adapter – Another possible issue is a fairly common glitch that’s affecting the Network Adapter that’s in charge of creating hotspot networks. In this case, you can hope to fix the issue by re-enabling the Network Adapter that’s currently active.
  • Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter is Disabled – According to some affected users, you can also expect to face this particular issue in situations where the Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter is actually Disabled inside Device Manager. To fix this problem, you’ll simply need to re-enable it via Device Manager.

Now that you have become familiar with every potential scenario that might be causing the “We can’t set up mobile hotspot’ error, here’s a list of methods that will allow you to fix it:

Method 1: Running the Network Adapter Troubleshooter

Before you dive into more technical repair strategies, you should start by checking whether your Windows installation is not currently able to fix the issue automatically. Several users that were also encountering this particular issue have reported that in their case, the problem was fixed entirely after they ran the Network Adapter Troubleshooter utility and applied the recommended fix.

This utility is configured to scan every relevant network component for any inconsistency and automatically apply various repair strategies if a common scenario is identified.

If you haven’t tried running the Network Adapter troubleshooter yet, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open up a Run dialog box by pressing Windows key + R. Next, type ‘ms-settings:troubleshoot’ inside the text box and press Enter to open up the Troubleshooting tab of the Settings app.
    Opening the Troubleshooting tab
  2. Once you’re finally inside the Troubleshooting tab, scroll all the way down to the Find and fix other problems tab, then click on Network Adapter and select Run the troubleshooter.

    Running the network adapter troubleshooter
  3. Wait until the initial scan is complete, then select the network adapter that is acting up from the list presented to you, then hit Next.
    Selecting the Problematic Network adapter
  4. Wait until the scan is complete. Keep in mind that during this process, you can expect to temporarily lose the connection to the Internet as the utility goes around testing different repair strategies that might be applicable.
  5. If a viable repair strategy is identified, click on Apply this fix, then wait until the troubleshooter manages to fix the issue.
    Applying the recommended fix
  6. Wait until the operation is complete, then restart your computer and see if the issue is fixed once the next startup is complete.

In case the same “We can’t set up mobile hotspot’ issue is still occurring when you attempt to establish a hotspot from your Windows 10 computer, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 2: Enabling the Hosted Network feature via CMD

If you’re just starting to troubleshoot this particular issue (running the network adapter troubleshooter didn’t work) and you aren’t able to activate the mobile hotspot via the GUI menu, it’s likely that the reason why you end up seeing the “We can’t set up mobile hotspot’ error is that a feature requirement (hostednetwork) is disabled on your device.

Several affected users that were previously dealing with the same underlying issue have reported that the issue was finally resolved after they opened an elevated Command Prompt and ran a series of commands that allowed them to activate the hotspot feature manually and ensured that the hostednetwork infrastructure is active.

If you’re looking for step-by-step specific instructions, follow the instructions below:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘cmd’ and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open up an elevated Command Prompt. When you’re prompted by the UAC (User Account Control) prompt, click Yes to grant admin access.
    Opening an elevated Command Prompt prompt via Run box
  2. Once you’re inside the elevated Command Prompt, type the following command, made the required changes and press Enter to configure the hosted network that will act as a hotspot on your machine:
    netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=*name* key=*password*

    Note: Keep in mind that *name* and *password* are simply placeholders. You need to replace them with the actual values you want to use for the Hotspot Network Name and Password.

  3. Next, type the following command and press Enter to effectively start the network that you previously completed:
    netsh wlan start hostednetwork
  4. See if the mobile hotspot has started successfully without the same “We can’t set up mobile hotspot’ error.

If, for some reason, the same kind of issue is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 3: Enabling Network Sharing

If you already tried to enable the hotspot network manually and you’re still encountering the same “We can’t set up mobile hotspot’ error, it’s possible that you’re dealing with this issue because the Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter that is responsible for handling this hotspot connection is not configured to allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet Connection.

If this scenario is applicable, you will be able to fix the problem by accessing the Network Connections tab and modifying the default Sharing configuration so that network data passthrough is allowed.

If you’re looking for specific step-by-step instructions on how to do this, follow the instructions below:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘ncpa.cpl’ inside the text box and press Enter to open up the Network Connections tab. If you’re prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant admin access.
    Opening the Network Connections tab
  2. Once you’re inside the Network Connections tab, look through the list of network adapters and identify the one created specifically for hosting hotspot networks. Traditionally, it should be named Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter. 
  3. After you have managed to identify the correct network adapter, right-click on it and choose Properties from the context menu that just appeared.
    Accessing the Properties screen of the Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter

    Note: When you’re prompted by the UAC (User Account Control), click Yes to grant admin access.

  4. Once you’re inside the Properties screen of the Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter, access the Sharing tab from the menu at the top, then check the box associated with Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.

    Allowing other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet Connection
  5. Finally, click Ok to save the changes, then restart your computer.
  6. Attempt to start the hotspot network once again and see if the issue is now resolved.

In case the same kind of problem is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 4: Re-enabling the Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter

If none of the methods above have worked in your case, you should also consider the fact that you might be dealing with a common glitch that is affecting the Microsoft Wi-Fi DIrect Visual Adapter.

Several users dealing with the same issue have confirmed that they manage to fix this problem after facing the same issue by using Device Manager to temporarily disable the Microsoft Wi-Fi DIrect Visual Adapter before re-enabling it again.

This will be effective in fixing the vast majority of glitches that might end up affecting the virtual adapter responsible for bridging the hotspot network.

If you haven’t tried this yet, follow the instructions below to use Device Manager to re-enable the Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Virtual Adapter and fix the “We can’t set up mobile hotspot’:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘devmgmt.msc’ inside the text box and press Enter to open Device Manager. If you’re prompted by the UAC (User Account Control) prompt, click Yes to grant admin access.
    Opening Device Manager via Run box
  2. Once you’re inside Device Manager, use the ribbon bar at the top to click on View, then click on Show Hidden Devices to make every hidden device visible.
    Making Hidden devices visible in Device Manager
  3. Once you have succeeded in making the hidden devices visible, expand the Network adapters drop-down menu, and locate the entry named Microsoft Wi-Fi Direct Visual Adapter.
  4. After you manage to locate the correct entry, right-click on it and choose Disable from the context menu that just appeared.
    Disabling the Direct Virtual Adapter Device
  5. Once the device is successfully disabled, wait for a full minute before re-enabling it again by right-clicking the same entry and choosing Enable device from the context menu.
  6. Attempt to enable the local hotspot once again and see if the problem is now fixed.

If this issue is still not resolved, move down to the next potential fix below.

Method 5: Resetting the Network adapter

If none of the methods above have allowed you to fix the issue, one last thing you can try in order to fix the “We can’t set up mobile hotspot’ error is to simply uninstall the current network adapter via Device Manager, forcing your Windows 10 installation to re-detect the network adapter and hopefully install a new driver equivalent.

This particular fix was confirmed to work for a lot of Windows 10 users that were previously unable to establish a hotspot out of their PC.

Follow the instructions below to essentially reinstall the network adapter and fix this particular error code:

  1. Open up a Run dialog box by pressing Windows key + R. When you’re prompted by the text box, type ‘devmgmt.msc’ and press Enter to open up Device Manager.
    Opening Device Manager via Run box

    Note: If you’re prompted by the UAC (User Account Control) prompt, click Yes to grant admin access.

  2. Once you are inside Device Manager, expand the drop-down menu associated with Network adapters, then right-click on the entry associated with your main network adapter.
  3. Next, from the context menu that just appeared, click on Uninstall.
    Uninstalling the Network Adapter
  4. Once the device is successfully uninstalled, exit Device Manager and restart your computer in order to force your Windows 10 computer to detect the important network driver that’s missing and hopefully install a newer equivalent.
  5. After the next startup is complete, attempt to create another hotspot to see if you’re still encountering the same kind of error.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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