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Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

Microsoft's Windows 98 Second Edition (as well as Windows 2000) includes a new feature, called Internet Connection Sharing (ICS).

With ICS you can share a single Internet Connection across your (home) network, making it easier to connect to the Internet from your Networked computers.

There are several 3rd party products available, which let you do the same thing. The advantage of a 3rd party product over the Microsoft offering is that they are generally more user-friendly, and can be customized to suit your needs. For the average home user, however, Microsoft's ICS should be a good alternative.

Microsoft's ICS comes with no useful documentation, that's why we have made an attempt here to show you how to install & troubleshoot Microsoft's ICS.

See the following pages for more information:

How to Install Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) is part of Windows 98 Second Edition (or Windows 2000), so you'll need either one of these operating systems to be able to install ICS. For more information about obtaining Windows 98 SE, see this document.

Notes before getting started:

Installing ICS:

  1. After you install Windows 98SE, select Start > Settings > Control Panel, and double-click Add/Remove Programs
  2. Select the Windows Setup tab
  3. Double-click the Internet Tools icon, and put a check-mark in the box for Internet Connection Sharing
  4. Click OK to close the Internet Tools window, and click OK again to close the Add/Remove Programs window
  5. ICS will launch its setup wizard to guide you through the process

ics-wizard.gif (25325 bytes)

The first selection you need to make in the Wizard is for the type of connection you will be using. Make sure you select the right one.

If you are using a cable modem, you will be asked to select a Network adapter (NIC). Be sure you choose the adapter that is attached to your cable modem. If you don't choose the correct NIC, ICS won't install correctly and you'll probably have to remove and reinstall it and try again. You will see that the ICS Wizard numbers your NIC's #1 and #2, but here's no clue as to which is connected to the cable modem and which is connected to your LAN. You have to guess, and if you guess wrong, you get to go through the whole process again!

Next the Wizard will tell you to create a Client Configuration Disk.

The next window will finish the installation and reboot your system.


Running Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

After installing, ICS should be ready to go.... But where to find it?

You can access ICS's controls from Internet Options in Control Panel. When ICS is installed, you'll find a new Sharing button on the Connections tab.
ics-internet-properties.gif (10145 bytes)

!!! Note: It is possible that after you install Microsoft Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), the Sharing button will be missing from your Internet Options dialog box.

This issue can occur if the Inetcpl.cpl and Inetcplc.dll files are not version 5.00.2614.3500 or later. This is part of the same error that won't update your version of Internet Explorer 5, which was installed previous to installing Windows 98 SE. For more information on how to "force" the latest version of Internet Explorer 5 (ver. 5.00.2614.3500) to install see: Windows 98 Second Edition Update doesn't update Internet Explorer 5.

If you just wish to install the latest version of the Inetcpl.cpl and Inetcplc.dll files, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Select Start > Run, and type sfc in the Open box, and then click OK
  2. Select Extract one file from Installation disk
  3. Type inetcpl.cpl in the Specify the system file you would like to restore box, and then click Start
  4. In the Restore From box, type the drive letter and path to the Windows 98 Second Edition CD-ROM folder
  5. In the Save File In box, type the full path to the \Windows\System folder (eg. C:\Windows\System), and then click OK
  6. Click OK to use the default backup folder when you are prompted
  7. Click OK to start extracting the file
  8. Repeat steps 3-7, using the Inetcplc.dll file in step 3

Clicking on the Sharing button brings up the ICS Control Panel. There are not a lot of options, however. No control of logging, no ability to open special ports, no control over Client network access (other than to shut off ICS), no control over ICS' DHCP server.

Note the Help button in the screenshot. Clicking it will bring up ICS help. The Client machine setup information isn't much help and is confusing because it referred to the LINKLOCAL 169.254.X.X addresses, when ICS uses the 192.168.0.X address for the LAN.
ics-control.gif (9864 bytes)

I suggest checking the Show Icon in Taskbar box so that you'll have easy access to the ICS Control Panel.

When you right-click on the ICS Icon in the system tray, you can choose:

ics-cp-tray.gif (2776 bytes)

If ICS installs itself properly, go ahead and try your browser on your Shared computers. If things don't work, however, (which happened to me), you may want to see if ICS installed properly. Here are some things to check:

  1. Select Network in Control Panel... you'll see some new additions:
  2. Select Start > Run and type winipcfg in the Open box. You should find an ICSHARE adapter replacing the type of adapter you used to connect to the Internet (Dial-up adapter, cable modem NIC, etc.).

winipcfg.gif (11632 bytes)


Troubleshooting Internet Connection Sharing (ICS)

If you can't get ICS to work, you'll have to do some troubleshooting.

You get a Page can not be displayed message on the client. ICS status will show 1 computer is using the Internet Connection.


Host Settings

Please note that my setup is with a Dial-Up Adapter, so if you have another setup, you'll need to substitute all occurrences of Dial-Up Adapter, with the type of Adapter/NIC in your system.

Control Panel > Internet Options > Connections tab


Client Settings

Control Panel > Internet Options > Connections tab

Below is how winipcfg looks on my client machine.
winipcfg-2.gif (9796 bytes)


Microsoft Knowledge Base Articles dealing with Internet Connection Sharing

  1. ICS Does Not Install File and Printer Sharing By Default Q227141
  2. Unable to Connect Error Message Using MIRC and ICS Q227148 Updated 23 August 1999
  3. Netscape Does Not Recognize ICS During Setup Q227150
  4. Unable to Play a Network Game of Need for Speed III Using ICS Q227157
  5. Your Computer Restarts Before ICS Wizard Is Set Up Completely Q227172
  6. Prodigy Internet Service Does Not Install on ICS Client Q229125
  7. Cannot Change "Send Image Size" Option in a NetMeeting Call Q229132
  8. CU-SeeMe Internet Conferencing Does Not Work Using ADSL Q229151
  9. You Can Select a Disabled Network Adapter in ICS Q229233
  10. Prompted to Restart Computer After Viewing Network Properties with ICS Installed Q229239
  11. CompuServe 2000 Is Incompatible with Internet Connection Sharing Q229248
  12. Fighter Ace 1.5 Does Not Function Correctly on the Zone with ICS Q229267
  13. Internet Connection Sharing Is Not Set Up Correctly Q229829
  14. Using Internet Connection Sharing with User Profiles Q229842
  15. Delay in Assigning IP Addresses from an ICS Host Computer Q229882
  16. Time-Out Errors Sending Web Page Requests to an ICS Host Q229890
  17. Files Installed with Internet Connection Sharing Q229965
  18. Both Client and Host Require Logon for ICS to Function Q229971
  19. Connection Error Messages When You Use ICS with an FQDN Q229974
  20. ICS Cannot Autodial 3rd-Party Internet Dial-Up Connections Q229978
  21. TCP/IP Must Be Bound to All Adapters Connecting ICS Host to the LAN Q230070
  22. Description of the Microsoft Browser Connection Setup Wizard Q230087
  23. ICS Does Not Disconnect When You Are Finished Using the Internet Q230108
  24. How to Disable Internet Connection Sharing Q230112
  25. Slow Transfer Rates with ICS and High-Bandwidth Devices Q230116
  26. Only One Internet Connection Sharing Host Is Required on a LAN Q230140
  27. How to Change the IP Range for the ICS DHCP Service Q230148
  28. How to Configure a Permanent IP Address for Network Devices Q230150
  29. How to Configure ICS to Use a Static IP Address Q230151
  30. Dns_off.inf and Dns_on.inf Files Are Not Used in Windows 98 SE Q230203
  31. Err Msg: The Page Cannot Be Displayed Q230206
  32. How to Use AOL with Internet Connection Sharing Q230233
  33. ICS Icon May Take Up to 15 Minutes to Update Number of Connections Q230355
  34. ICS Does Not Pass WINS Server Information to Clients Q230357
  35. ICS Does Not Work If You Reinstall Windows 98 Second Edition Q230361
  36. How to Use a Macintosh Computer with Internet Connection Sharing Q230585
  37. How to Map a Port in ICS Using an .inf File Q231162
  38. ICS Does Not Function with Unidirectional Adapters Q231648
  39. No Sharing Option If You Close ICS Wizard Q231651
  40. Closing TCP/IP Properties Prompts You to Restart Your Computer Q231696
  41. Internet Connection Wizard Runs After Browser Connection Setup Q231706
  42. ICS Client Starts Wrong Web Site When Accepting Chat Request Q231709
  43. Net Nanny May Not Filter Inappropriate Internet Sites Q231787
  44. Install MSN Internet Access for LAN Connection without a Modem Q231867
  45. Program Sharing and Whiteboard (T.120) Do Not Work Properly with ICS Q232002
  46. Cannot Connect to PCAnywhere Host Computer Running ICS Q232780
  47. Cannot Use Whiteboard, Chat, or File Transfer in NetMeeting Q232786
  48. Establishing a VPN Connection with an ICS Host Q234773 New 10 August 1999
  49. Description of Internet Connection Sharing Q234815
  50. No Sharing Button After Installing Internet Connection Sharing Q236152
  51. Problems Joining Games Using Internet Connection Sharing Q236429
  52. ICS Does Not Automatically Dial an Internet Connection Q236445
  53. Description of How ICS Appears in Network Properties Q236465
  54. ICS Setup Error Message: Your Network Configuration Is Not Complete Q237802
  55. Dial-Up Connection in ICS Does Not Prompt to Disconnect on Client Q237806
  56. How to Troubleshoot Internet Connection Sharing Problems Q238135 New 10 August 1999