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Connect your H/PC to the Network using Windows ME Internet Connection Sharing


Applies To

  • Windows Millennium Edition


This article describes how to enable Internet Connection Sharing under Windows ME. 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 Home Networking 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 Millennium 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 has been improved in Windows Millennium to allow for faster implementation of an ICS roll out than in the Windows 98 SE version.

Before proceeding please physically install the Network Interface Card (NIC).
Once you have physically installed the NIC and turned your computer back on, Windows ME 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

  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 locate Internet Connection Sharing, place a check mark into the box to its right. If you are presented with an error ensure that Dial-up Networking is installed from the same list. If it is missing, install it separately, reboot and return to install ICS
  8. Once Selected Click OK twice. At this point Windows may prompt you for your Windows Millennium CD.

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 or run the Home Networking Wizard from the Communications section of the Start Menu (which provides a slightly extended version of the Wizard than outlined below).

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

  2. The ICS Wizard under Windows Millennium uses a set of yes / no questions to gather its information. 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 that it is going to use the Internet, and that you are using 'A direct connection to my ISP using the following device'

    The drop box to choose your Internet connection may have more than one entry listed in it. The entries in the list provide an overview of any device on your computer capable to talking across the Internet (TCP/IP). This may include Modem connections (Dial-up) as well as Network connections.
    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 the name of the Dial-up Account
    2. USB connection to a DSL Modem or Cable Modem - Select the name of the Dial-up Account
    3. Certain Broadband and Cable providers using an Ethernet (PPPoE) based service - Select the Network card running your Internet connection

    If you are still unsure which connection you need to select, look at the name of the dial-up connection that you are using when you dial the Internet or consult with your Internet providers help desk.

    Once you have chosen the correct connection click Next

  3. Similar to the previous screen, this one asks whether you want to share your Internet connection with the rest of the network. This step actually enables ICS on your computer.
    From the drop down list select the Network Interface Card (NIC) which connects your PC to your home network (In effect the adapter which your Handheld PC will be communicating with over the LAN)

    Once you have chosen, click Next

  4. If you are a dial-up user or your Internet connection requires a username and password, ICS will prompt as to whether the connection should be automatically dialled whenever a resource on your network (Another Computer, Handheld PC etc.) requests it.

    Users should be aware that ICS can be prone to receiving accidental connection requests. If you have a dial-up Internet connection, you may wish to disable this option as the accuracy of the 'useful' Internet request system in ICS is fairly poor. As a result your phone line may be tied up in your absence. If you use a pay-per-minute Internet connection, then you should disable this as a matter of course.
    If you wish to enable Auto-dial, you must input your accounts username and password, click Next.

  5. Finally ICS will prompt you to create a Home Network Setup 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

  6. Congratulations you have now configured the Internet Connection Sharing under Windows Millennium. Click Finish to exit the Wizard.

  7. Once the wizard has finished reconfiguring your system you will be prompted to reboot your computer. You must do this to complete the reconfiguration.
  8. After the reboot, if the ICS setup has completed successfully you will be presented with the following message

Security Notes

Windows Millennium Edition 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 Millennium 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.

Remote Control

If you wish to make use of the remote control feature, you must also install the Windows Millennium UPnP service from Add/Remove Programs. There are no specific configuration options for the remote control system under Windows Millennium, to disable it either uninstall the Home Network Wizard disk from the client systems, or remove the UPnP service.


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. You may experience an improvement in functionality with some applications if the UPnP services is installed, however this is not guaranteed. The ICS Host computer is not affected by these issues.