How To Switch Network Between Public and Private in Windows 8.1 and 10

Since Windows 7, you must choose a network location when you connect to a network for the first time, either Home, Work, or Public. This automatically sets the appropriate firewall and security settings for the types of the network that you connect to. Pick the right location when connecting to a network to ensure that your computer is always set to an appropriate security level.

Types of network location in Windows

Basically, there are 4 types of network locations set in Windows.

  • Home Network – Computers on a home network can belong to a homegroup. Network discovery is turned on for home networks, which allows you to see other computers and devices on the network and allows other network users to see your computer.
  • Work Network – Network discovery, which allows you to see other computers and devices on a network and allows other network users to see your computer, is on by default, but you can’t create or join a homegroup.
  • Public Network – Designed to keep your computer from being visible to other computers around you and to help protect your computer from any malicious software from the Internet. HomeGroup is not available on public networks, and network discovery is turned off.
  • Domain – belong only to enterprise workplaces. It’s controlled by network admin and can’t be selected and changed.

How to find current network connection profile

Right-click the network icon in the system tray and select Open Network and Sharing Center.

Open Network and Sharing Center

And you will see the network profile right underneath the active network.

Network and Sharing Center - network profile

If you like PowerShell, you can also use the Get-NetConnectionProfile cmdlet to easily find out the current network profile as well.

Windows PowerShell - 2015-10-11 22_49_21

Change network profile in Windows 7

Changing a network location on Windows 7 is fairly easy and straightforward. Simply open Network and Sharing Center and click the link below the active Network name and then click the network link you want to change.

Changing Network Location - Windows 7

But doing it in Windows 8.1 and 10 is a little bit differently.

Change network location in Windows 8.1

  1. Click network icon in the system tray to bring up the charm bar, and click View Connection Settings.
  2. Click the Network icon that show Connected.
  3. In Network detail screen, slide the switch in Find devices and content Off to set as Public and On as Private.
  4. It’s done. The setting change takes place right away.

PC Settings - network - Network

Change network location in Windows 10

  1. Click the network icon in the system tray, and Network settings link. It opens Network & Internet section in Settings app.
  2. Click the network icon that shows Connected.
  3. Then in Network detail page, slide the switch in Find devices and content section Off to stay as Public and On as Private.
  4. And it’s done. The change takes place right away.

Network - find devices and content in Windows 10

Change network profile using PowerShell

You can use Get-NetConnectionProfile cmdlet to find out the active network and pipe through to Set-NetConnectionProfile to change the current network profile. For example, the following command changes the current active network profile to Public.

Get-NetConnectionProfile | Set-NetConnectionProfile -NetworkCategory Public

Note that you will need to open PowerShell as Admin to be able to run the command.

How to change network location settings

The default settings in each of the network profile are the best practice in each of the scenario. Changing any of the settings in each of location profile is not recommended, unless you know what you are doing.

To change it, right-click the network icon in system tray and choose Open Network and Sharing Center.

Open Network and Sharing Center

Then click Change advanced sharing settings to open Advanced sharing settings page where you can change the network discovery settings for each of the network locations.

Network and Sharing Center - advanced sharing settings

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 10/11/2015

Posted in: Windows 10 , Windows 8
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