Windows 10 is full of features that make life easier for the average user. More innovations are added with each new major build, and this way, Microsoft improves on existing features and adds even more to the user experience.
Internet Connection Sharing is a feature that makes sharing the PC’s internet connection possible. Other computers can use the main PC’s internet network when ICS is turned on.
As useful as this feature is, some users would rather turn it off. Perhaps they don’t want to share their internet with any other PC or want to prevent unauthorized use of their bandwidth by other users.
Turning off ICS in Windows 10 is as easy as pie. The thing is that not many users know how to disable this feature, so they just leave it as is. If you’re in this camp, just keep reading – this guide will show you how to turn off Internet Connection Sharing.
On the other hand, you might be looking for a way to enable the feature. If that is the case, this article has got you covered too.
What Is ICS in Windows 10?
Internet Connection Sharing, or ICS, is a feature that has been embedded in the Windows operating system since Windows 98. This feature turns one computer into a gateway device through which other computers connect to the internet. The client computers have their internet traffic routed through the host computer.
Internet Connection Sharing essentially turns the host computer into a router to which multiple devices (in this case, computers) can connect. The host computer and the connected client PCs collectively form a Local Area Network (LAN).
The client PCs are connected to the host either through cables or wirelessly through the host’s wireless adapter. They all share the same internet connection. The host computer uses a wired connection, be that an internet cable or a USB connection to a modem or router.
ICS has gone through several iterations on the different versions of Windows. On Windows 10, ICS is a service. It provides Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and network address translation (NAT) for the PCs in the LAN network.
Here’s a rundown of what ICS provides the connected PCs with on Windows 10:
- Any device connected to the host PC can use the network without the need to install additional software.
- Non-Windows and non-PC devices can use the network of a Windows PC host.
- The client devices benefit from the host’s internet protocols, such as a connected VPN or proxy, without having to install and run those protocols separately.
- Each client is assigned an IP address and configured for DNS via the host PC.
Before you turn your PC into a host via ICS, make sure to establish a wired connection to a modem or router first.
How to Disable Internet Connection Sharing in Windows 10
If ICS is active on your Windows 10 PC and you’d rather turn it off, this section will help you do that. You may want to dispense with ICS and switch to a Wi-Fi connection for the client computers, or you may simply want to stop using the feature. Either way, using the steps here will culminate with ICS being disabled on your computer.
First, open the Run box by pressing the Windows and R keys at the same time. When the Run dialog box opens, type “ncpa.cpl” into the field (without the quotes) and hit the Enter key or click the OK button. This will open the Network Connections window in the Control Panel. Another way to get here is to right-click the network icon on the taskbar and select Open Network & Internet Settings. In the Status pane, click “Change adapter options” under “Advanced network settings”.
Both methods will get you to the Network Connections window. Then double-click the active network adapter to open the network’s Status dialog box. Click the Properties button to open the Properties dialog box. Or you can just right-click the active network and select Properties.
Now switch to the Sharing tab. Next, untick the “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection” checkbox. Click OK to save the changes and close all the windows.
You’ve now disabled ICS for your active connection. This method disables the feature only for the selected connection, meaning that if ICS is enabled for another network source, it will remain that way. If you want to disable ICS for your Ethernet or LAN or another source, you have to repeat the steps above for each individual network connection in the Network Connections window.
If you’d like to turn off ICS systemwide, you’re better off turning off the service itself. Disabling the ICS service will deactivate it across all network connections.
How to Turn Off the Internet Connection Sharing Service in Windows 10
Follow the methods below to disable ICS and stop your PC from serving as the host in an ICS-based local area network:
- Press the Windows key and R keyboard combination to open the Run box.
- Type “services.msc” into the Run field (without the quotes) and click the OK button.
- In the Services window, scroll down and locate the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service.
- Double-click the service to open Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) Properties.
- If the service is running, click the Stop button to stop it.
- Open the Startup Type drop-down and select Disabled.
- Click Apply and then OK to save the changes.
That is all. ICS is now disabled systemwide.
Some users are wary of employing ICS to share a network connection because of the possibility of malware spreading from one PC to all the others over a local area network. You can eliminate this worry by protecting your host with a powerful antivirus solution such as Auslogics Anti-Malware. It will keep your PC safe from malware entities, including those that replicate across a network.
How to Enable Internet Connection Sharing in Windows 10
If you’re actually looking for a way to enable the feature, we can help too. The first method below will enable ICS for the active network, and the second method will enable ICS systemwide.
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Enable Internet Connection Sharing for the active network by following the steps here:
- Right-click the Start menu and select Network Connections.
- Click “Change adapter options”.
- Right-click the active network adapter and select Properties.
- Switch to the Sharing tab.
- Tick the checkbox next to “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”.
- Click to save the changes.
Enable Internet Connection Sharing systemwide by following the procedure below:
- Type “Services” into the Start menu and click the Services app in the search results.
- Scroll down and double-click the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) service.
- In the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) Properties dialog box, click the Start button to activate the service.
- Open the Startup Type drop-down and select Automatic.
- Click Apply and then OK to confirm the changes.
We hope this helps.