Foolproof Way to Get Mac Internet Sharing to Work on Windows PC

by: - Last updated on: December 17th, 2016


Back in 2009, when Windows 7 was introduced, the newly included Wi-Fi hotspot (Virtual Wi-Fi) feature hogged enough limelight. But this feature has been present in Mac OS X for a long time under the name Internet Sharing. This built-in service let’s you share your wired or USB internet on Mac with other devices like iPhone, iPad, android and Windows PCs.

Internet Sharing on Mac: iDevices vs Windows

Recently, I have had some issues with my primary internet connection and I was looking to get my iMac (which uses the secondary USB internet connection) share the internet with my iPhone, iPad and my Windows PC. I found tons of articles describing how one can setup and use Internet Sharing feature of Mac OS X. We shall see that in a while, but it is important to note that, getting the iDevices to connect to the shared internet was straight-forward and simple. But to get the Windows 7 PC connected was a tedious task. Not anymore!

Guide to use Mac Internet sharing with Windows PC

Note: This tutorial is based on iMac using Mac OS X 10.7.4 & tested on iPhone 4S (iOS 6 beta), iPad 2 (iOS 5.1.1) & Windows 7 Ultimate (with SP1).

1. On your Mac, go to System Preferences -> Network, and connect to the internet.

2. Now go back to System Preferences and then click on Sharing.

3. On the list of services to the left, you’ll see Internet Sharing. Do not check it yet. We need to get the configuration done before that.


4. On the right pane, choose the internet connection you want to share and then check Wi-Fi. Note: On Mac running 10.6 and older OS, you’ll see Airport instead of Wi-Fi.

5. Then click on Wi-Fi options. In this window, you must provide a name for the Network. It is advisable to have a smaller name without spaces. Then choose the security to be 128-bit WEP. Provide a 13-character password and click on OK.


6. Now check the Internet Sharing box on the left. If Wi-Fi is disabled, you will be asked to enable it. Else, you will see a dialog box to confirm turning on of Internet sharing feature. Click on Start.

start sharing

This should be enough to get the internet working on your iPhone or iPad or other Mac devices. On Windows 7 PC, you’ll be able to see this new Wi-Fi network, but you won’t be able to connect to it, no matter how many times you try. For that, you need to setup a profile first.

7. On your Windows PC, go to Start -> Control Panel -> Network & Sharing Center.

8. Click on Manage wireless networks link on the left.

9. Now click on Add button and you will get a pop-up dialog box asking you how do you want to add a network. Choose the first option, i.e Manually create a network profile.


10. Here, enter the network name exactly as you had set on Mac, choose security type as WEP & enter the same password as you had set on Mac. Click on Next.


11. In this screen, click on Change connection settings. This will open a new window. Click on Security tab and choose Shared as the Security type. This is very important to get the internet working. Then select WEP as the Encryption type and enter the same password for Network security key. Click on OK & Close.


That’s it. You should now be able to browse the internet on your Windows PC using the internet sharing option of Mac OS X. If something isn’t clear still, shoot your queries through the comment section and I’d be happy to help.

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  1. 0
    down vote

    For any users still having other problems after trying this solution. Here’s a solution that worked for me.

    I also assigned 13 character WEP password (using characters 0-9 and a-f
    only) and this did fix my connectivity a few weeks back. However, today,
    the windows machine, which connects to my mac’s 3G internet connection,
    which is by way of USB Dongle, stopped working again.
    I went through the procedure mentioned above on both machine’s, but still couldn’t connect.

    I checked to see if I could browse with my iphone, also connected wirelessly. Same problem. Which now pointed to the Mac being the culprit and not the win7 settings I’d entered.

    It then occurred to me that I should check the network settings
    (System preferences/Internet and wireless/Network) on my Mac, which was sharing the internet, to see what was
    connected to the internet. I noticed that ethernet(en6) was connected to
    the internet (which must have been my 3G USB dongle) and airport was on
    but had a self assigned IP address and could not connect to the

    So I first tried to renew Airports DHCP but still couldn’t
    connect. So I set DHCP manually using self assigned IP address. The IP
    address for the ethernet(en6) connection that did work was
    so I used for Airport. This confirmed that airport was
    now connected to the internet.

    However, same problem, neither iphone, nor win machine could connect to the internet.

    I then went back to the internet sharing menu and played around with
    “share your internet connection from” in my case it was ethernet(en6). I
    changed it to airport and tried to connect but same problem, no
    connection. After cycling through the various connections I could share
    from, I went back to Ethenet(en6)

    Oddly enough this fixed the connection problem and now iphone and winmachine can connect to the internet again.

  2. Thanks a lot for sharing. Extremely useful tutorial ! Just one thing for those whose Little Snitch, don’t forget to allow the connection from your PC :-) My Mac was not in the same room and it took me ages to work that one out…

  3. Solution worked perfectly, thanks! The key for me was using “Shared” security type on PC and using a 13 char long key instead of 5.

  4. I would like to have a Bluetooth Internet Sharing (for iPhone/iPad) on my Windows PC like it can be done on Mac.