Windows network location awareness is pretty darn smart. It can tell if you are using a secure private network of devices, or if you’re on a public, risky network at a hotel or a cafe somewhere. So in those situations, you will not be able to access other devices that share the same network with your system, which is as expected.

But sometimes, your system when connected to your private network, still starts to act weird because windows network location awareness screwed up and hence, windows firewall starts being a prick. But don’t worry, there is a quick and easy fix to this moderately annoying issue. Just follow these steps for both wired and wireless connections on how to change network from public to private with simple to implement steps.

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Steps to Change Network from Public to Private

For Wireless Connections

If you are on a wireless network (WiFi), then do this to switch from public network type to private network type.

  • Click on the WiFi connection icon from your system tray at the bottom right corner.
  • Press on the properties option of the WiFi network you are connected to.
  • In the properties window, under the network profile option, you will see it might be still set to the public profile. Click on the private profile and reconnect to your WiFi connection if necessary.
  • Thus, This should get you back into full access to all the other devices that are sharing the same private network.

For Wired Connections

For a traditional, wired Ethernet connection:

  • Click on the Ethernet icon in the bottom right corner of the system tray.
  • In the menu that pops up, click on the network that is currently connected.
  • You will see a heading like Ethernet; you will find the same network. Click on it once again.
  • Now you will see the network profile. Simply, change network from public to private.
  • This will fix the issue on Ethernet connections and will get you back in it, with full access.

Make Sure the System is Discoverable

You can double check if your PC is discoverable on other devices or not. To do that, go into the WiFi network properties, as mentioned earlier. Under the Ethernet options, you will find the Make this PC discoverable toggle. Switch it to on position if you see it as disabled.

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Try the Home Group Control Panel

  • Just head over to the start menu and click on the search bar. Start typing Home Group and you will see the results pop up.
  • Click on the option that says Change network location.
  • It prompts your consent to make your PC discoverable to other devices and PCs in the network. Select Yes.
  • Now right-click on the internet icon on your bottom right system tray. Select the second option in the right-click menu that says Open Network and Sharing Center.
  • Now check to see if the network that you are connected to is showing up as “private.” If so, you successfully changed your network location. If not, there is another way to get this done.

Run the Home Group Troubleshooter

  • Open Network and Sharing Center again. If your network still shows “public” as its location, head over to Home Group option located at the bottom left corner of the window.
  • You will see an option that says ‘start Home Group troubleshooter,’ click on it.
  • In the troubleshooter wizard window, go to ‘advanced’ option. There, untick the box that stands for apply repairs automatically. We don’t want that. Simply hit next and wait for it to finish detecting any existent problems.
  • In the next screen, select troubleshoot network problems and wait while the network diagnostics tool is doing its thing. It then presents you with a selectable list of repairs and asks you to select the ones that you want to apply. Make sure the ‘change the network location to private’ tick box is ticked.
  • Hit next->Apply this fix. Once it says fixed on the right-hand side of the earlier listed issue, close the troubleshooter. Now you can see that the network location has been changed to private in the Network and Sharing Center.

Use the gpedit.msc

Now let me warn you. This method might keep your system strictly fixed on one single network type (private/public) based on what you choose, even though you want it to change automatically. So proceed only if nothing else that I suggested above did the job.

  • Navigate to Run by pressing Win+R keys and enter gpedit.msc, hit OK.
  • In the group policy editor, go to Computer Configuration / Windows Settings / Security Settings / Network List Manager Policies.
  • Then, change the Location type in Unidentified Networks / to Private (or Public, based on what you need) and hit OK. Close the window and restart your system. Your computer will now strictly prioritize the mentioned network group over pretty much anything that it can pick up from where you are. Again, it may not dynamically change anymore like before, so bear that in mind.

So, this was an in-depth guide to change network from public to private with some easy to implement ways.

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Avatar for Kaushal Malkan
You can always find me playing the piano or playing FIFA when I'm not binge-watching TV Series with pizzas. Fountainhead of TechWhoop. Life motto: The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.