Each computer has a network location. The network location is the type of network the PC is using with a network adapter.
There are three types of network locations that are available for the Windows 10 users to choose: public network, a private network, and domain network. By default, you are given the public network. This can make your computer sound a bit vulnerable, but it’s actually the public network that comes with the most security thanks to the Windows Firewall.
If you thought the private network would go with the most security, you are not alone—most people do. When you have your network set up as the public option, it means your computer is shared with the world and does not come with protection from the local computer or any other computer. Conversely, the Windows Firewall restrictions are set to a maximum and automatically blocks many applications from working.
The private network is more suited for a home network or office network, and you trust the people who are connecting to the network. The Windows Firewall restrictions are less and allow you to connect to many things by default, so nothing is getting in your way. This includes conventional peripheral devices such as printers and other office equipment that most people use.
The domain network is the least common and is there for when a local computer is a member of the Active Directory domain. The local computer needs to authenticate to a domain controller through a network connection.
How to Set Network Location to be Public or Private in Windows 10
There are quite a few ways you can change the network location using a version of the Windows 10 operating system. The most obvious way (and way we are demonstrating in this guide) would be to use the Settings application that comes built-in to Windows 10. The other ways you can do it include using the PowerShell, the Registry Editor, and the Local Security Policy.
Before selecting between the private and public network options, we will run through how you can find out what your current network location settings are so you know what it is set on now and how to confirm your changes have taken effect after you complete the guide.
Click on the search field available from the Windows 10 taskbar and type “Control Panel.”
Click on the “Network and Sharing Center” link that is available from the All Control Panel Items menu. (You only get to see this list if you have it set to show small icons that is available from the top right-hand corner of the screen. Just click on the View by drop-down menu and select the small icons option if you don’t have it set to show the smaller icons already.)
You then get to the page that shows your network name and the network location. The network name is bolded and featured above the network location. My network name is “TesltraEFD0A7, ” and my network location is set to be a Public network because I haven’t changed anything from Windows default settings when it comes to network locations.
That was how you could identify your network name and the network location. Now it’s time to know how to change the network location so you can choose to have it set to be a private or public network.
Now to begin settings the network location, click on the WiFi icon that is found in the system tray (the right side of the taskbar.)
Click on the “Network settings” option from the menu once it opens up.
The next part is where you need to find out if you are using an Ethernet connection or a WiFi connection. Most people will be using a WiFi connection because it’s the wireless of the two options and most households are moving away from using wires because it looks better (less clutter around the home.)
Nevertheless, there are still many people using these Ethernet connections in Windows 10. If you are one of them, you need to click on the Ethernet option from the left side pane.
Click on the Ethernet connection that you are currently connected to and then skip to the last couple of steps that are available in this guide because those are the screens you are going to be seeing next.
For everyone else who is using a WiFi network, your process is a bit different. Click on the WiFi option from the left pane.
Click on the “Manage known networks” under the WiFi heading on the right-hand side of the screen.
You then get a list of the WiFi networks that are in your range. Click on the WIFi network that is the one your house or office is currently using and then you get a new Properties box available.
Click on the Properties box.
If you are going to change it to the public network location, you want to turn this feature off where it says “Make this PC discoverable.”
Those who want to change it over to a private network need to turn on the toggle that is available for the “Make this PC discoverable.”
Close the Settings application, and you are finished.
You have now set the network location to private or public in your version of the Windows 10 operating system. The same guide works for all versions of the Windows 10 operating system—Home, Pro and no matter what update you are running.
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