This website is using cookies. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. More info. That's Fine
HPC:Factor Logo 

Connecting your H/PC to the Internet using Windows 98 SE Internet Connection Sharing


Applies To

  • Windows 98SE


This article describes how to enable Internet Connection Sharing under Windows 98SE. This article follows on from our Network 101 guide which discusses what you need to connect your Windows CE based Handheld PC to a Network.

Internet Connection Sharing primary role is to share your Internet connection with other Network clients. However in doing so it provides some automation for your Network addressing, meaning that you do not have to worry about configuring TCP/IP options on your Handheld PC.

How-to Guide

By now you should have purchased all the Network hardware and cabling that you need to create your Network. The first step in setting up your Network is to configure the Host computer. You can perform this manually by following this guide, or use the Home Networking Wizard (Preferred) which is available from the Start Menu.

NB: The Internet Connection Sharing Wizard will further automate the process of setting up your network and will allow you to create a disk which you can use to automatically configure other computers on your Network

Which computer should be the Host computer?

The Host computer for your router-less network is usually the main computer on it. It must have an Internet connection, either Dial-up or Boradband.
The Host computer will become the most important computer on the Network. As you are configuring your Network to provide automatic address assignment from this Host computer. In order for any client to connect to the Network the Host computer will need to be running and to provide an Internet service to the Network it must be logged on.

Configuring the Windows 98SE ICS Host

Microsoft have provided a Windows utility called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) to make this process easier for users of the Windows operating system. ICS was first introduced with Windows 98SE, and is not available under the original Windows 98 release. As ICS under Windows 98 is partially integrated into Microsoft Internet Explorer, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade to Internet Explorer 6.0 Service Pack 1 before continuing. Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1 can be downloaded from our Windows 98 Patching & Updates Guide.

Before proceeding please physically install the Network Interface Card (NIC).
Once you have physically installed the NIC and turned your computer back on, Windows 98SE will attempt install the driver software.

Depending on the age of your adapter, Windows may not be able to locate an appropriate driver for your Network Card. If it fails, you will need to insert the Floppy Disk or CD that came with your NIC.
Once this has finished you may wish to check Windows Update for updated NIC drivers.

Once installed in a router-less mode. The Network will currently be disconnected as it has no address information.

We want to use ICS to automatically configure this system's IP, Subnet, DNS and Gateway address information.

NB: This guide assumes that you have already setup a working Internet connection and have a working LAN adapter. If either of these is not true then you will received the error "Your network configuration is not complete. Please install your network hardware before installing Internet Connection Sharing" when attempting to install ICS

Install Internet Connection Sharing

Before beginning ensure that you have your Windows 98SE Installation CE present.

  1. Click Start
  2. Select Settings
  3. Open the Control Panel
  4. Double click Add/Remove Programs
  5. Open the Windows Setup tab
  6. Highlight Communications and click Details...
  7. From the list of options ensure that Dial-up Networking is ticked.

    If it is not, you must Install it now by ticking the box and clicking OK twice. Files will be copied to your computer. You then need to reboot and continue.
    If Dial-up Networking is installed click OK once
  8. Highlight Internet Tools from the available options list and click Details...
  9. From the list locate Internet Connection Sharing, place a check mark into the box to its right
  10. Once Selected Click OK twice. At this point Windows will attempt to copy files from your Windows 98 CD
  11. If prompted over a version conflict, answer Yes that you wish to keep the newer file
  12. You now must reboot your computer for the configuration changes to take affect

Configuring ICS

Once installed, the Internet Connection Sharing Wizard will being automatically. If for any reason you need to cancel the wizard and come back to it at a later time; or reconfigure ICS after installation you can return to the Internet Connection Sharing entry in Add/Remove Programs, tick the box and reinstall ICS.

  1. When you are ready to begin click Next to start the Wizard

  2. The ICS Wizard under Windows 98 is limited to ascertaining which method the software needs to use to find a Point to Point Protocol (PPP) connection to share to your network. As this computer is going to be the ICS Host computer - where the Internet Connection is shared from to other devices such as your Handheld PC you want to specify which method you use to access the Internet.

    Choose the correct method for your Internet Connection. Dial-up or ISDN users the top option or Broadband users the lower one.
    What you choose here depends on how you connect to the Internet
    1. Dial-up through an Internal or External Modem, ISDN Terminal Adapter or Cell Phone - Select Dial-up connection
    2. USB connection to a DSL Modem or Cable Modem - Select Dial-up Connection
    3. Certain Broadband and Cable providers using an Ethernet (PPPoE) based service - Select High-speed connection

    If you are still unsure which connection you need to select consult with your Internet providers help desk.

    Once you have chosen the correct connection click Next

  3. High-speed connection users ONLY
    Choose the Ethernet or Network adapter from the list which is connecting your computer to your broadband service provider

    Once you have chosen, click Next

  4. Finally ICS will prompt you to create a Client Configuration Disk. This is useful if you have other Windows (95, 98, Millennium) PC's which you wish to configure to automatically become a 'client' of the ICS host. Using the disk you can also remotely control the Internet connection from other Windows PCs
    The wizard is of no use under a Windows CE device, and will not run.

    If you select to create the disk, insert a blank, formatted 1.44MB floppy disk and click Next

  5. Congratulations you have now configured the Internet Connection Sharing under Windows 98SE. Click Finish to exit the Wizard.

  6. Once the wizard has finished reconfiguring your system you may be prompted to reboot your computer. You must do this to complete the reconfiguration.

Post Installation Configuration

Once you have configured Internet Connection Sharing under Windows 98, it is possible to change the ICS configuration without returning to the Wizard.

  1. Click Start
  2. Select Settings
  3. Open the Control Panel
  4. Double click Internet Options
  5. Select the Connections tab
  6. In the Local Area Network (LAN) settings area, click the Sharing... button.
    If the Sharing... button is not present, your ICS installation may not be configured correctly. If attempting to reinstall ICS using the steps outlined in the Installation section fails to restore the button. You can launch the configuration utility by:
    1. Click Start
    2. Select Run
    3. Type icssetup.exe and click OK
  7. The Internet Connection Sharing settings page will be displayed. Here you can specify additional options for the ICS server on your PC, as well as reconfigure which method is used to connect through to the Internet. This is useful you you change Internet providers, or upgrade to broadband from an existing dial-up connection
  8. Ticking the Show Icon in Taskbar option will enable the ICS configuration icon in the system tray, which allows you more immediate access to the options, start/stop control of the ICS server and can also display how many computers are currently connected through the system.

Security Notes

Windows 98SE does not contain a Windows Firewall as in Windows XP. A firewall is a method of blocking other people on the Internet from gaining access to your computer.

By connecting to the Internet without a firewall you are exposing your computer without question to security exploits which can seriously impair the functionality of your computer. Further, by enabling ICS without adequate security in place on at the very least the ICS host, you are exposing any device on your network to potential breaches of security.
HPC:Factor strongly recommends purchasing an adequate firewall solution for your computer.

HPC:Factor also recommends that all users visit Windows Update after completing the installation of ICS, and downloading any Critical or Recommended updates that are offered. Alternately please make use of the HPC:Factor Windows 98 Patching guide.

Technical Information

ICS will configure your network on a Class C IP range

The ICS Host computer will be assigned the following IP details:

IP Address:
Subnet Mask:

Dynamic IP address assignment over DHCP will be on the range of 192.168.0.x with the last octet having a range from 2 to 254. However there is a 10 client limitation on ICS enabled networks.

This means that you can only have 10 client computers (nodes) connected to your network at any one time. You can remove client computers if you need to add an additional computer, however a maximum of 10 computers cannot be exceeded.


Your ICS host will be configured to act as a basic DNS server. It will allow for Name resolution of Internet Domain Names and also Network nodes.


Internet Connection Sharing provides a basic level of application support for your Internet needs. However is is not comparable to a hardware or server level solution.

You can host public services using Internet Connection Sharing, including but not limited to a Web server, FTP Server and e-mail servers.

On its own ICS cannot intelligently route information back into your network. For example, if you use Microsoft Windows Messenger, you will not be able to receive files, video or audio from users outside of your network. The ICS Host computer is not affected by these issues.