You can use your Windows 10 PC to do any number of amazing things. You can even turn it into a hotspot and share your internet connection with other computers and mobile devices. This is possible thanks to the sharing feature which Microsoft introduced to Windows 7.

Enabling this feature, now known as the “hosted network”, in Windows 10 instantly transforms the PC into an internet-sharing hub that can be used simultaneously by multiple devices.

However, this function isn’t immune to bugs and errors that affect Windows from time to time. When users try to start the hosted network through Command Prompt, they may be getting the “The hosted network couldn’t be started” error message instead. At the same time, the PC cannot be used to share your network with other devices.

This guide talks about the problem and gathers possible solutions so you can troubleshoot the issue at your convenience.

What Is the “The Hosted Network Couldn’t Be Started” Error Message?

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) is one way to change a PC into a mobile hotspot. Tethering a PC helps to bypass the issue of your router only having a limited number of users that can be connected at the same time.

The process can be done through settings. However, using the Command Prompt is the most popular route of setting up a hosted network. The name itself implies that your computer is serving as the “host” of your Wi-Fi network and other devices can be connected to and through it.

In Command Prompt, the hosted network is started first by switching on the mobile hotspot feature:

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=”HotspotName” key=”password”

The words in quotation marks will be replaced by whichever name you choose for your PC’s hotspot and the password you choose respectively.

After that, you normally go ahead and start the hosted network with the following command:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork

This is where the problem arises for many people. Normally, upon running the command above, the user receives the “The hosted network started” message. However, with this error, the feature isn’t started and Command Prompt throws out the following error notification:

The hosted network couldn’t be started.

The group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested operation.

Sometimes, the error message differs slightly, but it is still the same error in essence. Here are some known variations of this unpleasant network error notification:

The hosted network couldn’t be started a device attached to the system is not functioning

Microsoft hosted network virtual adapter missing

The hosted network couldn’t be started the wireless local area network interface is powered down

Can’t find Microsoft hosted network virtual adapter

Microsoft hosted network virtual adapter not found in Device Manager

As they are all the same, the same solution applies to all of them.

Note that this error usually means that the Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter, which plays a large role in PC network sharing, is missing, corrupt, or not enabled. Outdated Wi-Fi drivers can also cause this annoying problem. The wrong driver configuration isn’t ruled out as a possibility either. The solutions in this guide have accounted for each of these possibilities.

How to Stop the “The Hosted Network Couldn’t Be Started” Error on a Windows 10 PC

If there is a bug in Windows, there will naturally be a solution or workaround. The “The hosted network couldn’t be started” error in Windows 10 isn’t different in this regard. We have gathered several possible solutions for your use so that you can swiftly resolve matters and successfully start your computer as a mobile hotspot.

Check Your Wi-Fi Connection

Obviously, you can’t use the internet via your wireless router, never mind hosting a network, if your Wi-Fi is turned off. Sometimes we unconsciously gloss over the fact that there are times when we need to manually set up a Wi-Fi connection on our computers by clicking the network icon on the right of the taskbar.

Also, check that you haven’t turned airplane mode on by mistake. It also helps if you can verify that the Wi-Fi network actually works so as to rule connectivity issues out of the reckoning.

Check Driver Support for Hosted Network Sharing

Running a hosted network on your PC is impossible if your driver doesn’t support hosted network sharing. Hosted networks are one of those features that depend on the hardware. In this case, your network card must be capable of supporting the feature.

Most people assume that their network card can do everything they can think of when it comes to Wi-Fi networking. This isn’t always the case, though. If you are in doubt about your PC’s ability to run a hosted network, you can verify whether there is support for the feature using the Command Prompt.

The procedure itself is pretty simple. On Windows 10, use the Windows Key and X combination to open the Quick Access menu and select Command Prompt (Admin) from the revealed options. As Microsoft has replaced Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in that menu for later builds of Windows 10, you may not find it there. In that case, open the Start menu and search for “CMD” from there. When Command Prompt pops up as the third result, right-click it and select Run as Administrator.

Next, copy and paste (or type) the following command into the open CMD window and hit the Enter key:

netsh wlan show drivers

Running the command reveals information about the Wi-Fi drivers. What you are looking for will be further down the list. Look for “Hosted network supported” and the value assigned to it. If the value is “Yes”, then your PC supports hosted network sharing. If the value is “No”, then your PC doesn’t.

If you get an affirmative response, you can go ahead and try some of the fixes in this guide to get the hosted network feature up and running. If not, the best option available to you is to get a USB Wi-Fi adapter. With this tool, your laptop will be able to use Wi-Fi via the adapter.

Reset the Wi-Fi Network

For many errors on Windows, most guides advise a simple restart first. For the “The hosted network couldn’t be started” issue in Windows 10, a Wi-Fi network reset can work just as well. To reset the troublesome network, you must disable it first, wait a few moments, then enable it right back. Hopefully, the action will make whatever issue ails the network go away so you can proceed with using the sharing feature on your PC. Here is what you should do:

  • Right-click on the Start menu icon and select Control Panel from the options. If the option isn’t there, search for it in the Start menu and click the top result.
  • The View by mode on the main Control Panel screen should be set to Category.
  • Click the Network and Internet link.
  • Select Network and Sharing Center.
  • In the left-side pane of the Network and Sharing Center screen, click the “Change adapter settings” link.
  • A new window, the Network Connection Properties applet, will be open. Right-click the network for which you want to enable sharing and select Disable from the context menu.
  • Wait for a few moments, perhaps a minute or two. Then, right-click the network again and select Enable.

Doing this might fix the issue with your network adapter. If problems persist, try the next fix.

Change Wi-Fi Network Sharing Settings

If you want to enable a hosted network on your computer, it naturally means you wish to use the machine as a “hub” for other devices to connect to the internet. Of course, that option has to be enabled on your PC first, otherwise it won’t work.

Now, the feature, or rather the network sharing option, is enabled by default. If, however, all your attempts to get network sharing up and running have proved abortive, it could be that the feature has been disabled somehow.

Re-enabling the option to allow other networks to use the Internet through your computer might be all you need to do to overcome this issue once and for all:

  • Right-click on the Start menu icon and select Control Panel from the options. If the option isn’t there, search for it in the Start menu and click the top result.
  • The View by mode on the main Control Panel screen should be set to Category.
  • Click the Network and Internet link.
  • Select Network and Sharing Center.
  • In the left-side pane of the Network and Sharing Center screen, click the “Change adapter settings” link.
  • A new window, the Network Connection Properties applet, will be open. Right-click the network for which you want to enable sharing and select Properties from the context menu.
  • In the Properties tab for the selected network, switch to the Sharing tab.
  • In the Sharing tab, you must enable the first two options by ticking their boxes. These options are as follows:
    • Allow other users to connect through this computer’s internet connection.
    • Establish a dial-up connection whenever a computer on my network attempts to access the internet.

Once you’ve made these selections, click the OK button and close everything. Restart your PC now and sign back in. Everything should work flawlessly from here on out.

Change Network Adapter Power Properties

Several users reported that they fixed the “The hosted network couldn’t be started” issue on Windows 10 by enabling a power management feature of the network adapter. We’re unsure as to what power management has got to do with network sharing; at the same time, everyone knows Windows works in mysterious ways, so this might actually be effective for you too. There is no harm in trying, at least. Here are the instructions to follow:

  • Open the Run box with Win Key + R and type “devmgr.msc” (without quotes). Hit the Enter key or click OK.
  • When the Device Manager window opens, navigate to the network adapter section and double-click the option to expand it.
  • Right-click the problematic network adapter and select Properties.
  • In the Properties dialog of the selected network adapter, click the Power Management tab.
  • Check if the “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” option is already enabled. If it is disabled, enable it.
  • Click OK and exit all the windows.

Reboot your computer now and you should be able to run network sharing without further issues.

Run the Network Adapter Troubleshooter

The Network Adapter Troubleshooter was included in Windows 10 for reasons like the one you’re currently dealing with. It is Microsoft’s fix-it tool for network issues. So if you are trying to resolve the “The hosted network couldn’t be started” error in Windows, it is recommended that you give this tool a try early in the troubleshooting process. If it happens to find a solution for you, that will save you the bother of trying out other troubleshooting steps.

The Network Adapter Troubleshooter can be accessed directly from the Settings app. Launch the app from the Start menu and select the Update & Security option. Then, in the left pane of the Update & Security screen, click the Troubleshoot tab to reveal various troubleshooting options on the right. Scroll down the list until you get to Network Adapter. Click the Network Adapter option once and then click the Run the Troubleshooter button.

The Network Adapter Troubleshooter will open. From there, select the particular network adapter that is causing issues for you. If you’re unsure of which one to choose, select “All network adapters” and click the Next button.

The troubleshooter will start looking for network issues. If it can fix what it finds, it will. If it cannot do so or doesn’t find any issues, it might recommend some changes for you to make.

If this step doesn’t resolve your issue, check out another solution from this guide.

Enable the Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter

To use your PC as a mobile hotspot in Windows 10, you need the Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter. It has to be present and enabled for the hosted network feature to work properly. If it is disabled, this can explain the “The hosted network couldn’t be started” issue.

You can check whether the Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter is enabled or not and turn it on if needed. This method requires going into the Device Manager applet and making the necessary changes:

  • Press the Windows logo key and X button simultaneously and select Device Manager from the displayed menu.
  • When the Device Manager comes up, click the View tab and select “Show hidden devices” from the dropdown menu. Having done this, you will see all hidden devices, including the one you’re looking for here, displayed.
  • Navigate to Network Adapters and expand it. The Microsoft Hosted Network Virtual Adapter will now be shown there.
  • Right-click the adapter:
    • If it isn’t already enabled, select Enable from the context menu.
    • If it is already enabled, select Disable from the context menu. Wait for a minute, then right-click it again and select Enable.

Should this not fix the issue with the Wi-Fi adapter, try another solution.

Use HT Mode for Your Wireless Adapter

Going into the wireless adapter properties and choosing HT mode solved the “The hosted network couldn’t be started” bug for some users. After switching to HT mode, it is recommended to run the “netsh wlan show drivers” command in CMD. Once it shows Yes, your problem should be fixed.

Before that, here is how to enable HT mode for the problematic network adapter:

  • Open the Run box with Win Key+R and type “devmgr.msc” (without quotes). Hit the Enter key or click OK.
  • When the Device Manager window opens, navigate to the network adapter section and double-click the option to expand it.
  • Right-click the problematic network adapter and select Properties.
  • In the Properties dialog, click the Advanced tab.
  • In the Property list, look for HT Mode and select it.
  • Then, in the Value field, select Enabled.

You can now click the OK button, close all windows, and check driver support for hosted network sharing in Command Prompt.

Replace or Roll Back the Network Driver

The “The hosted network couldn’t be started” error could be due to a faulty Wi-Fi driver. Perhaps a recent driver update messed up the network or a recent Windows update installed fresh drivers that proved incompatible. Some hardware just happens to work better with some drivers than others. Moreover, the new driver could be corrupt. It is instructive that many of those who faced this issue had recently installed a Windows update.

Rolling back the driver is one option to get things back to normal. Replacing the driver with another driver or a fresh one from the manufacturer’s website is another option. Let’s first explain how you can roll back a Wi-Fi driver to the previous version:

  • Open the Device Manager. Use Win Key + X to open the Quick Access menu and select it from there. Alternatively, search for “device manager” using Search and click the top result.
  • In the Device Manager window, look for the Network Adapters node and expand it. Right-click the Wi-Fi adapter that is giving you issues and select Properties. You can double-click it instead, and that will also display the Properties dialog.
  • In the Properties dialog for the selected Wi-Fi adapter, click the Driver tab. You will see buttons to update the driver, roll back the driver, disable the driver, uninstall the driver, and view driver details.
  • Click the Roll Back Driver button.
  • A prompt will show up asking, “Are you sure you would like to roll back to the previously installed driver software?” Click Yes. Also, if you’re asked to select a reason for rolling back the driver, choose one from the given options.
  • The wizard will go ahead and roll back the driver to a previous version. Once it’s completed, the Roll Back Driver button will become greyed out. Now you can reboot the PC.

Replace the Driver

If you’re lucky, Windows has stored the previous version of the driver and you can use the method above to install it. If you’re unlucky, the Roll Back Driver button is greyed out and you can’t do anything about it through the Device Manager.

However, if you know what the previous driver version is, you can obtain it through the manufacturer’s website. You can even get a replacement driver through that method and manually install that instead:

  • Open the Quick Access menu and select Device Manager from there. Alternatively, search for “device manager” using Search and click the top result.
  • In the Device Manager window, look for the Network Adapters node and expand it.
  • Carefully examine the name of the problematic hardware and search for its driver on Google. You should click a link that takes you to the website of the vendor. You may be able to land directly on the download page for the driver. You can also simply visit the vendor’s website, navigate to the support or download page and then search for the driver for your specific hardware there.
  • Once you’ve found and downloaded the driver, install it as you would install any normal application and reboot the PC.

Sign in after the reboot and create your hosted network without further issues.

Update the Network Driver

If a rollback doesn’t work or if you can’t find a replacement driver manually, you can update the driver through either the Device Manager or a third-party driver updater. Those two mediums have a high success rate. The Device Manager will generally find the latest driver version present in a Windows update that hasn’t been installed on the PC yet. However, driver-updating software like Auslogics Driver Updater has a wider database of drivers and casts a wider net when searching for appropriate drivers.

  • Update Your Wi-Fi Driver via Device Manager

The process of updating a problematic Wi-Fi card through the Device Manager isn’t much different from the rollback process explained above:

  • Open the Device Manager. Use Win Key + X to open the Quick Access menu and select it from there. Alternatively, search for “device manager” using Search and click the top result.
  • In the Device Manager window, look for the Network Adapters node and expand it. Right-click the Wi-Fi adapter that is giving you issues and select Update Driver.
  • In the next window, select the “Search automatically for updated driver software” option.

Windows will commence a search for the required driver and install it if one is available. Otherwise, it will inform you that the current driver is the latest one.

  • Update Your Wi-Fi Driver via Auslogics Driver Updater

The last sentence above is one reason third-party updaters are often needed. Windows is often unable to find the exact driver required even though one is available out there.

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Auslogics Driver Updater, on the other hand, will look for compatible drivers for your hardware. It will download only drivers recommended for your system and architecture. It will download a 32-bit driver for a 32-bit system or a 64-bit one for a 64-bit Windows platform. It also uses drivers compatible with your Windows version.

The tool creates a backup before driver installation in case you need to roll back in the future. After updating your Wi-Fi driver with this tool, reboot the computer as usual and then try running the hosted network again. This time, there shouldn’t be any issues.

Use a Third-Party App to Set Up a Hosted Network

Windows contains everything you need to set up most processes, including Internet use and sharing. However, if something goes wrong and a feature of the OS isn’t working as expected, that doesn’t have to be the end of the road.

In case setting up a hosted network on Windows proves complicated, many third-party apps are available to take the stress off of you. Choose the best one for you and utilize the app to set up network sharing through your Windows 10 PC. With this method, you don’t have to solely rely on the Command Prompt to create a hosted network.

Conclusion

You can turn your computer into a hotspot for other devices by enabling Mobile Hotspot in settings or using the “netsh wlan set hosted network” command in Command Prompt. Third-party apps also remain an option. However, if the Mobile Hotspot method doesn’t work and Command Prompt returns the” The hosted network couldn’t be started” error, it can be very frustrating. With the solutions provided in this guide, you should be able to resolve that issue and successfully share your network through your PC.