It's important to understand that security software of any kind (anti-virus, firewall, combination suites, etc.) are specifically designed to disable all kinds of normal functions in Windows. That's their job. They can break networking, they can block program to program communications, and they may prevent programs from accessing critical system resources, such as the system registry. Understanding how security software functions is important because if you have a working Connectify Hotspot setup with your security software uninstalled, and installing the security software "breaks" Connectify Hotspot... the issue is unrelated to Connectify Hotspot. In fact, if it's good security software, there is nothing the Connectify Hotspot program can do to start working again. Any trick we might employ could also be used by malware. Security software, once installed, is completely in charge of other programs.
It is also critical that you only run one kind of security program at a time. It's possible that some anti-virus and firewall programs get along together, but it's also possible they overlap one another and cause weird and unpredictable conflicts. It is definitely true that two firewalls or anti-virus programs active at the same time will create a huge problem.
Now of course, if it blocked everything, the security software would completely disable Windows. So included in every kind of security software is some kind of a "white list". The white list is a list of trusted programs or other resources. Your security software may allow a program to be completely left alone, or may manage some features. For example, you may be able to open ports to the Internet -- allowing a program to run the HTTP protocol in a standard way -- but the software might block all other kinds of Internet access. Both firewalls and anti-virus applications have some kind of white list, though these go by different names depending on the program.
So to get Connectify Hotspot and your security software to cooperate, you must get your program onto the security software's white list. When you're using Microsoft's own Windows Firewall, Connectify Hotspot can usually configure the settings for this. This is because Windows already trusts Connectify Hotspot. Most Windows applications, like Connectify Hotspot, include a Digital Signature which Windows can use to determine that the program comes from who it claims to come from (e.g., you got a real version of Connectify Hotspot, not malware pretending to be Connectify Hotspot) and it hasn't been tampered with (it's the actual Connectify Hotspot, not one hacked to contain malware). Unfortunately, third party security software doesn't participate in this process. So when you're using something other than Microsoft's security tools, it's up to that company and you, the user of that software, to set up that security software's list of trusted programs.
Many security software users do understand this. But they need details from us to help. The first critical piece of information is that Connectify Hotspot is actually composed of several program components. These need to communicate with one another, and they need to have open network ports to allow them this communication.
Connectify Hotspot Resources
The first thing is to add these programs to any anti-virus or firewall white list that you might have available. Check your security software's configuration tools; many have "wizards" designed to guide the user though these setups. The programs are:
Next, you probably need to open ports in your firewall. A port is like a channel on the network, different applications use different specific channels. Connectify Hotspot uses two kinds of ports, UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), both very common Internet low-level protocols. The ports are used for UPnP (Universal Plug and Play), DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and DNS (Domain Name System) services.
In addition to the above named ports, if your firewall software has any settings involving Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), please enable support for these. Internet Connection Sharing allows you to share your connection to the internet with other machines on your local network. Microsoft implements this utility in Hosted Networks feature available in Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 8.
If you unblock all of the above ports, Connectify Hotspot itself will be fine, but a firewall may still prevent Connectify Hotspot from routing traffic to and from the Internet. We recommend granting full Internet access, all ports, to Connectifyd.exe in order for Connectify Hotspot to function properly. This is because Connectifyd.exe is Connectify Hotspot's route to the Internet. If you find that some Internet activities work (for example, normal HTML web pages) but others don't (video streaming, some kind of email, etc.), you probably have some ports blocked.
If opening the ports doesn't work, check the Network Connections control panel. You can find this quickly via Connectify Hotspot's menu > Control Panel > Network Connections. Check to see if there's a network "device" here from your security software provider. Some security companies these days are installing network filters that will interfere with the proper operation of your PC (in order to protect against malware, certainly, but they're also not always accounting for the proper use of the system in ways they have not expected). If you see one of these, try disabling it -- that may get Connectify Hotspot unblocked and working as it should.
The next place to look is on your devices themselves, the W-iFi device you plan to use for the Connectify Hotspot network, and the LAN or other Internet device you use to connect to the Internet, assuming this isn't the same device as used by Connectify Hotspot. Right click on the device icon, open "Properties", and look at the items listed. You'll see things like "Client for Microsoft Networks", "Connectify LightWeight Filter", maybe NDIS and Internet protocol drivers, etc. These are normal. Anything you see there from the security software company, particularly on your W-iFi device, may be interfering with Connectify Hotspot's normal operation. Try unchecking that item and see if your problems continue or not.
And DO contact your security software company for help as well. They shouldn't be setting things up in a way that prevents the use of Connectify Hotspot. We're trying as much as we can to help, but we are not in the driver's seat here, relative to the security software functionality. And yet, we certainly don't want to render your PC unsecured, by brute-force methods of stopping the security software. If you are having a problem, it's possible the security software company will know the answer. Or, if they hear enough from end-users, they'll figure out the answer.
If the issue persists after trying the above strategies, please create a log file by right-clicking the Connectify Hotspot tray icon and selecting “Help”, and then "Support Center". Then run Troubleshooter and submit a ticket with logs to our support team.
Some outside support can be found at the home of your security software. Some maintain knowledge base articles like this one, others maintain community support sites. There you will find experts on your particular security programs. We at Connectify are not experts on these matters. If the link leads you to a support forum, try searching for "Connectify", "ICS", or "Internet Connection Sharing".