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Virtual WiFi/SoftAP fails to start with "The hosted network couldn't be started" on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2

On Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, when you attempt to start Virtual WiFi/SoftAP you may receive the error "The hosted network couldn't be started". 
This can occur if the "Allow the computer to turn off the device to save power" power option for the wireless network adapter is cleared.
Enable the "Allow the computer to turn off the device to save power" power management option for the wireless network adapter using the following steps:
  1. Click on the Start button and select Control Panel.
  2. Select System and Security.
  3. Select Device Manager under System.
  4. Select and expand the Network adapters from the list of devices.
  5. Find the wireless network adapter and right-click on it and select Properties.
  6. Select the Power Management tab.
  7. Under the Power Management tab, make sure the following option is checked (enabled): “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power".

Note: If you have Control Panel configured to view by small or large icons, you may not see the System and Security category listed in step 2. In this case, select System from the available Control Panel applets and select Device Manager from the left pane. You can then skip steps 2-3 and continue with step 4.

Microsoft Virtual WiFi/SoftAP is not supported on Windows 7/Windows Server 2008 R2 when this power option is disabled.

For additional information about Virtual WiFi/SoftAP, see the following MSDN article:

About the Wireless Hosted Network

Virtual Wifi, SoftAP,wireless hosted network
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

Article ID: 2625519 - Last Review: 09/29/2011 22:47:00 - Revision: 1.0

  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • KB2625519