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I'm setting it like this:

netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=MyNet75 key=mysuperkey keyUsage=persistent

and getting message that all is ok:

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.

However, I can't start it:

netsh wlan start hostednetwork
The hosted network couldn't be started. The group or resource is not in the correct state to perform the requested operation.

Any ideas what gone wrong?

UPD I was able to launch SoftAP under freshly installed Win7 inside VMWare, so I can assume my hardware is compatible. Any ideas, what can be wrong with my host OS?

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Make sure your hardware actually supports it and you have the Windows 7-specific driver. –  billc.cn Sep 2 '11 at 11:58
Well, setup command finished ok, so I assumed my hardware is ok. How I can check if hardware supports it? It named "Atheros 11G USB Adapter" in description. –  arry Sep 2 '11 at 12:36
The MS article ( msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd815243%28v=vs.85%29.aspx ) say you need a device with Windows 7 logo. Many Atheros chips supports AP mode, so you'll just have to make sure you have the latest driver from your vendor. –  billc.cn Sep 2 '11 at 14:10

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