A group of developers has exploited a hidden element of Windows 7 to turn any PC running the OS into a Wi-Fi hotspot with an application called Connectify.
Nomadio, consultants for military networks, used some software (known as Virtual Wi-Fi) buried within the OS, left over from a MS research group project, but apparently discontinued in 2006, according to TechWorld.
"A year ago, Microsoft talked a lot about this as a big feature in Windows 7. But driver support didn't get finished. The low-level code is in there, but the driver-level stuff isn't," said Alex Gizis, CEO of Nomadio.
Filling in the blanks
Nomadio used its software from its work into networking to complete the necessary functions, creating the new Connectify software.
The possibilities of this free (but beta) download are pretty interesting - it means you can pay for one connection but stream it out to multiple devices (or friends if you're feeling like helping out freeloaders).
However, Gizis has stated that he expects the software to eventually carry a cost when released as a full version in a few weeks, with a free, ad-funded option possibly available as well.
Either way - if you're one of those that has multiple Wi-Fi devices but can't afford to pay time and again every time you're in Starbucks, perhaps this is something you should check out.
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Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.