On Windows, when you connect to a wireless network, it either registers it as a public or private network. Private networks are mostly home and work networks, while public networks are somewhere else that you don’t trust.
Sometimes Windows defines a private network as public and vice versa. You can manually make some changes to prevent accidentally using too many files on the public network or blocking all sharing on the private network.
In this article, I will show you how to work with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, and Windows 7.
Windows 10 operating system
In Windows 10, click on the Ethernet or Wireless icon on the taskbar of the taskbar. The Ethernet icon is like a small computer and the wireless icon is pretty well known. After that click on the link “Network and Internet settings”.
You will be taken to the PC Settings dialog box with the Status tab selected. If you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, click WiFi in the left pane, otherwise click Ethernet.
Go ahead and click on the name of the Wi-Fi or Ethernet network that has the status Connected. When you click on the network, you can now choose “Public” or “Private”.
For Wi-Fi networks, you will also have the option to automatically connect in range of the Wi-Fi network.
Windows 8.1 operating system
In Windows 8.1, to change the network profile, we need to go to the PC settings screen. To do this, open the charms bar and click “Change PC settings” at the bottom.
Now click on “Network” and you will see a list of connections like Ethernet, wireless, etc.
Now all you have to do is turn on the “Find devices and content” option. It turns off automatically for public networks, so when you turn it on, it changes the network to private.
For Windows 8, follow the procedure below. First, right-click the network icon in the Windows 8 taskbar and select “Open Network and Sharing Center”.
Here you will see the network you are connected to and what type of network Windows 8 has detected.
As you can see above, my network counts as a private network, which is correct since I am at home and I am connecting via Ethernet. If this is not the case, there are several things you can do. First, you can click “Change advanced sharing options” in the left pane.
Click Personal and make sure you have the following options enabled:
– Turn on network discovery
– Turn on file and printer sharing
– Let Windows manage homegroup connections
Then collapse “Personal” and expand “Guest” or “Public” and make sure you have the following options set:
– Disable network discovery
– Turn off file and printer sharing
Once you’ve done that, you need to go to the Windows 8 desktop and open the Charms bar. Click “Settings” and then click the “Network” icon.
You will see Network and then Connected. Right-click and select Turn Sharing On or Off.
Now select Yes if you want your network to be treated as a private network and No if you want it to be treated as a public network. Note that the â€œPrivateâ€ or â€œPublicâ€ shortcut may remain the same in the Network and Sharing Center, but after you manually select the sharing options, the corresponding settings will be applied to the network.
In Windows 7, the process is slightly different. You still need to click the network icon in the system tray, but this time click the Open Network and Sharing Center link.
Here you will see an overview of your network connection. In the “View Active Networks” section, you will see the name of the Ethernet or Wi-Fi network, and below it should be a link “Home network”, “Work network” or “Public network”.
Click on this link and you can switch between three different network types.
Windows 7 also has the ability to automatically treat all future networks as public, although I don’t think most people will find this useful.
Manually force the network location
As a last resort, if you cannot change the network location using the methods described above, you can manually change the network location using the secpol.msc tool. This will not work on Windows Home, Student, or Starter editions. In Windows, press Windows Key + R to open the Run dialog box. Enter secpol.msc into the run dialog.
Then click on Network List Manager Policies on the left, and on the right, you should see a few items with descriptions, and then something called Network, meaning the current network you are connected to. It can also be called something else, but it has no description. If you are connected to a Wi-Fi network, this will be the name of your Wi-Fi network.
Double click on it and go to the Network Location tab. Here you can manually change the network location from private to public and vice versa.
That’s all! Not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s Microsoft! If you are having trouble changing your network location in Windows, leave a comment here and we will help. Enjoy!