Qubes OS: Connect to Wi-Fi or Ethernet or another network

A couple of days ago we decided to give Qubes OS a go and see what it could do for a regular user. The installation was easy as it uses the same installer as Fedora, so we just created a live USB and formatted a laptop that had built in Wi-Fi.

To our surprise, we could not figure out how to change the network settings and activate an internet connection! Going to the NetworkManager (nm), even with root, would show us all fields as disabled when trying to create any new connection!

Some time passed before we realized that the NetworkManager of XFCE4 was not the way to go. After inspecting the Virtual Machines on the Qubes VM Manager, we saw that the sys-net VM was the only one that had in its hardware settings to access the Ethernet and Wi-Fi modules. So we got the hint, we needed to modify sys-net in order to connect the entire OS with its VMs to the network.

To modify the settings of the sys-net VM we needed access to the Settings Application, which was not available in the application menu. So the first thing we did, was to use the sys-net: Add more shortcuts... option under the group ServiceVM: sys-net to enable the Settings application shortcut.

In the [Dom0] Settings: sys-net window, we went to the Applications tab, on the left list we scrolled down to find the Settings option.

After selecting the Settings option, we clicked on the > button to move the Settings option to the right list.

Then we clicked on the OK button to apply the changes.

Going back to the application menu and the group ServiceVM: sys-net we could see the new option for sys-net: Settings.

Clicking on the sys-net: Settings showed us the usual settings manager for Gnome.

From there on, our job was easy, we just clicked on the Network option that gave us the window to modify all network settings. Then we selected the Wi-Fi network that we wanted to connect to, which worked without a hitch!

Finally, we had to test if the configuration was working as expected. From the application menu, under the group Domain: personal, we selected the option personal: Firefox to start the Firefox application on the personal VM.

Once Firefox started we could see that internet connection was active and everything was working as expected!

Activate a wireless hotspot on Windows 10 1


  • You must be an administrator of the machine to complete this guide.
  • You need to have at least two network devices.
  • One of them needs to have access to the internet and the other one needs to be a WiFi adapter which has Hosted Network support.

To check if your wireless adapter supports the functionality for Hosted Network, open a Command Prompt and type NETSH WLAN show drivers.

To open the Command Prompt, press the buttons Windows+R on your keyboard.
A new run command prompt will appear.
Type in the input box cmd and hit the Enter button.

In the new Command Prompt type NETSH WLAN show drivers, the results should be similar to below.

C:\Users\bytefreaks>NETSH WLAN show drivers
Interface name: Wi-Fi
    Driver                    : Realtek RTL8188CU Wireless LAN 802.11n USB 2.0 Network Adapter
    Vendor                    : Realtek Semiconductor Corp.
    Provider                  : Realtek Semiconductor Corp.
    Date                      : 3/4/2016
    Version                   : 1027.4.630.2015
    INF file                  : ????
    Type                      : Native Wi-Fi Driver
    Radio types supported     : 802.11n 802.11b 802.11g
    FIPS 140-2 mode supported : Yes
    802.11w Management Frame Protection supported : Yes
    Hosted network supported  : Yes
    Authentication and cipher supported in infrastructure mode:
                                Open            None
                                WPA2-Personal   CCMP
                                Open            WEP-40bit
                                Open            WEP-104bit
                                Open            WEP
                                WPA-Enterprise  TKIP
                                WPA-Personal    TKIP
                                WPA2-Enterprise TKIP
                                WPA2-Personal   TKIP
                                WPA-Enterprise  CCMP
                                WPA-Personal    CCMP
                                WPA2-Enterprise CCMP
                                Vendor defined  TKIP
                                Vendor defined  CCMP
                                Vendor defined  Vendor defined
                                Vendor defined  Vendor defined
                                WPA2-Enterprise Vendor defined
                                WPA2-Enterprise Vendor defined
                                Vendor defined  Vendor defined
                                Vendor defined  Vendor defined
    Authentication and cipher supported in ad-hoc mode:
                                Open            None
                                Open            WEP-40bit
                                Open            WEP-104bit
                                Open            WEP
                                WPA2-Personal   CCMP
    Wireless Display Supported: Yes (Graphics Driver: Yes, Wi-Fi Driver: Yes)

In the results you need to find the line Hosted network supported and verify that the value is set to Yes, if it is not, then you cannot proceed with this wireless network adapter.

In case you got a permission error on the above command, try to open a new Command Prompt with admin rights.

Press the keys Windows+X, in the pop-up menu select Command Prompt (Admin). If your account has enough access rights, a new run command prompt will appear. In the new Command Prompt (Admin) type NETSH WLAN show drivers, the results should be similar to above.

If this failed as well, you cannot proceed with the current account, you either need to sign in with another account or ask your system administrator to perform this task for you.

How to setup the hotspot

In the Command Prompt enter the following command:

NETSH WLAN set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=BYTEFREAKS key=0123456789

Update ssid=BYTEFREAKS with the name that you want to give your network. e.g. ssid=MY_NETWORK.

Update key=0123456789 with the password that you want to give your network. e.g. ssid=y0m2ZSQ3ng.

The new network will use WPA/WPA2 PSK security policy so your password needs to be at least 8 characters long.

The results will be similar to the following block.

C:\Users\bytefreaks>NETSH WLAN set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=HIDDEN007 key=0123456789
The hosted network mode has been set to allow.
The SSID of the hosted network has been successfully changed.
The user key passphrase of the hosted network has been successfully changed.

How to activate the hotspot

Once the Hosted Network is created, enter the following command as is to activate it

NETSH WLAN start hostednetwork

C:\Users\bytefreaks>NETSH WLAN start hostednetwork
The hosted network started.

After this step, your network will be visible to connect to but it will not provide its users with internet access.

Please note that due to the lack of commands in the documentation (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dd815243(v=vs.85).aspx) it is not possible to prevent your hotspot from broadcasting its SSID to everyone. In other words, it is not possible to hide your network from other users, so use a strong password!


How to share internet connection with the hotspot

Press on the keyboard Windows+X to open the Power User menu, and select Network Connections.


You will notice that a there is a new device in this list. The name of this device will be something line Local Area Connection* 12. That device is the new virtual device you created in the previous step to create the hotspot.


Right-click the other network adapter, that has an active internet connection and select Properties.


Click on the Sharing tab.


Enable the Allow other network users to connect through this computer's Internet connection option.

From the Home networking connection drop-down menu select the virtual device that we created.

Click OK to close the configuration and apply the changes.

By completing this step, all devices connected to your Hotspot will have access to the internet via the connection of the second network device.

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