Common Internet Connection Sharing Problems in Windows 7: How to Fix Them


There are two ways to share a single Internet connection among several computers within a network, that is:

  • by using a router
  • by enabling Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

This article discusses some common problems encountered while enabling and/or using Internet Connection Sharing in Windows 7, and their corresponding troubleshooting procedures. Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) is a built-in feature in Windows that enables multiple computers to share one Internet connection from a single computer (called host). This local area network setup consists of a modem connected to the host computer, and then the client computers connected to the host computer either thru wired or wireless connection. Below is a sample diagram on how ICS is setup in a Local Area Network (LAN):

Click the option below that matches the ICS problem you are currently experiencing:

Problem #1: Getting a message “An error occured while Internet Connection Sharing was being enabled. (null) “

If you are receiving this error message while trying to share your Internet connection on a Windows 7 computer, follow the steps below:

STEP 1: Click Start then Run.

STEP 2: In the Open field, enter “services.msc” then click OK.

STEP 3: On the Services window, look for the following services:

  • Application Layer Gateway Service
  • Network Connections
  • Network Location Awareness (NLA)
  • Plug And Play
  • Remote Access Auto Connection Manager
  • Remote Access Connection Manager
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
  • Telephony
  • Windows Firewall

STEP 4: Double-click each of the services and make sure the Startup Type is set to Automatic, then click OK.

STEP 5: Close the Services window, restart the computer, then check if ICS is now working.

STEP 6: If you are still getting the same error, try turning off the User Account Control (UAC) feature. For instructions on how to do this, click here.

Problem #2: Client computer can already share files but cannot get online through the host computer

If this is the scenario you are currently experiencing on your network, try setting up a network bridge on the host computer as an alternative option. Creating a network bridge in Windows is a method that allows a computer to communicate and share its connection with other computers connected to it, whether wired or wireless in nature. For instructions on how to set up a network bridge in Windows 7, perform the steps below:

STEP 1: Right-click the network icon (computer icon) located on lower-right hand corner of your taskbar then select Open Network and Sharing Center.

STEP 2: Click on the Change adapter settings link.

STEP 3: Hold down the [CTRL] key then select the two networks that you want to bridge.

NOTE: When creating a bridge connection, there must be at least two networks to be connected (normally one Local Area Connection and one Wireless Network Connection).

STEP 4: Right-click on one of the networks that you want to bridge then select Bridge Connections.

NOTE: Click Yes when prompted by the User Account Control (UAC) authorization window.

STEP 5: Once the Network Bridge icon appears and indicates that it is connected, check if the client computer can now access the Internet.

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