Being connected to the Internet has becoming essential for all our devices. But whether you’re at home or away, it’s not always possible to get the best signal for every bit of your kit.

One easy solution is to turn your laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot. In big houses and offices, where the Wi-Fi may have dead zones - a hotspot gives access to devices that wouldn’t normally be able to connect.

Your laptop-hotspot can also come in handy when you’re out and about. If you’ve paid to connect to a public Wi-Fi, you can use your laptop to connect your other devices or friend’s computers and make the most of it!

Under Windows 7 it was relatively easy to share your Internet connection as part of an ad-hoc network. Though that functionality is still there in Windows 8, it’s much more difficult to configure. Instead, we’ll use a piece of software that can set up a hotspot for you whatever version of Windows you’re using.

To begin with, your laptop will need to be online. It could be connected up by Ethernet cable to a modem or via Wi-Fi. We’ve tried a couple of software solutions, but the easiest is Virtual Router Manager.

The program works on Windows Vista, 7 and 8 - and unlike other, similar tools, it doesn’t install any extra toolbars are adware when used.

Once installed, you can enter a new Network Name (SSID) and password for the hotspot. Select your Wireless Network Connection from the “Shared Connection” menu. Finally, click “Start Virtual Router”.

The hotspot’s name should now appear in the network settings of any of your WiFi enabled devices and you should be able to connect using the password you entered.

This article is part of the Dell Tech Zone series. Click here for more