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How to Share through Network Software in Windows 8

Time to be honest here; using a hardware network sharing device is definitely preferable to sharing a connection through software. For example, with a software solution

  • The Internet host PC on your network must always remain turned on if anyone wants to use the Internet.

  • You notice a significant slowdown on the host PC when several other PCs are using the Internet.

  • You can’t use software sharing on a network that already has domain controllers, DNS servers, gateways, or DHCP servers.

  • You still need a switch or wireless base station.

If you decide to use the built-in Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) feature of Windows 8 — perhaps to avoid buying a hardware sharing device — first double-check to ensure that you already have everything in this list:

  • A working Ethernet network: Emphasis on “working” — don’t try to share your connection if your network isn’t already running like a well-oiled machine.

  • A working broadband Internet connection to one of the PCs on your network: Okay, you can use ICS with a dialup connection as well, but don’t. Everything works much faster with a DSL, cable, or satellite connection.

  • An installed copy of Windows 8 on the host PC that’s connected to the Internet: This PC also needs two network cards installed — one that leads to the network switch and one that leads to the cable or DSL modem.

    Because many flavors of network cards exist (using many different connections, such as USB, PC Card, and the more traditional internal adapter card), follow the installation instructions provided by the card manufacturer to add both cards to your PC.

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Everything shipshape? Good. Follow these steps to share that existing Internet connection on your host PC with the other computers on your network:

  1. Verify that you’re connected to the Internet.

    Open Internet Explorer and do the Google thing.

  2. Display the Charms bar, click Search and then click Settings. Type Network into the Search box.

    You should log in with an Administrator account, so that you’ll have full rights to set things up — the account you used to install Windows 8 will be an Administrator account.

  3. Click the Network and Sharing Center button in the Search results pane.

  4. Click the Connections link for your Internet connection.

    Typically, this reads Ethernet. Windows 8 displays the Status dialog box for your Internet connection.

  5. Click the Properties button.

  6. Click the Sharing tab.

    You won’t see the Sharing tab unless you have at least two network connections (one to your DSL or cable modem, and one to your local network).

  7. Select the Allow Other Network Users to Connect through This Computer’s Internet Connection check box.

    You should disable the Allow Other Network Users to Control or Disable the Shared Internet Connection check box — this prevents someone on another of your network’s PCs from accidentally disabling your shared Internet connection.

  8. Click OK to save your changes, and then click Close on the Status dialog box.

    Windows 8 indicates that a connection is shared by adding a “couple of friends” badge under the connection icon.

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