Saturday, November 15, 2014

How to configure Internet connection sharing (ICS) in Windows XP

Internet connection sharing (ICS) is a method by which you can allow more than one computer on your network to access the Internet by using the connection set up on a single computer.  If you have a router or a wireless access point, ICS is unnecessary, but for those who only have an Internet connection through a single computer, ICS can allow multiple computers to get online at the same time.

To set up ICS, log into the computer that has the active Internet connection.  This computer must have the ability to connect to other computers as well, typically through an Ethernet cable connected directly to another computer, or connected to a hub or switch.

Click the Start button, and from the Start menu right click on My Network Places and select Properties.  If you don't see My Network Places on your Start menu, it should be on your desktop.  If it's not in either of those places, select Control Panel from the Start menu and double click on Network Connections.

In the Network Connections window, find the icon for your Internet connection.  It should be located under the "LAN or High-Speed Internet" heading, and it should say "Connected" underneath the name if you are currently able to get online.  Right click on this icon and select Properties.

Under the Advanced tab, there is a section labeled "Windows Firewall" and then beneath that, a section for "Internet Connection Sharing."  Put a check in the box labeled "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection."  In the box beneath that one ("Allow other network users to control or disable the shared Internet connection") remove the check mark, unless you want to give other users that much control over your connection.

Now all you have to do is click OK, and your Internet connection will be available to other users on your network.  (It may take a minute for the settings to take effect.)  When you look at your Internet connection's icon in Network Connections, you'll see an open hand under the icon, indicating that the connection is being shared.

If you have additional services that you want network users to be able to access, you can enable them by clicking the Settings button in the ICS section.  You can choose from the list of services (such as FTP Server, Remote Desktop, or Web Server) or you can create a new one by clicking the Add button.

The other users on your network can now access the Internet from their PCs by opening up My Network Places on their Windows XP computer (or Network, if they're running Windows Vista) and looking for the icon for your Internet connection.  It may not show up right away -- if it doesn't appear, advise them to click Refresh under the "View" menu.

(Originally posted on, January 2011)

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