Scott Hanselman

How to set a Network to a "Private Network" in Windows 8.1

May 15, '15 Comments [16] Posted in Tools | Win8
Sponsored By

A while back Windows introduced this concept of public networks and private networks. Basically it comes down to a question of "do I mostly trust this network?" However, it's never been totally obvious how to change this back and forth. There's lots of posts on the internet explaining how, but most are pretty complex with a lot of steps.

The most common reason to want Windows to treat the current network as a Private Network is so you can have someone connect to your machine, either share files over SMB, or connect via Remote Desktop (RDP). I hit this issue probably once a month where I can't figure out why I can't see this machine over Remote Desktop, and it's because it thinks I'm on a Public Network.

One technique is to go to Network within Windows Explorer and try to get this yellow bar to show up.

Network Discovery and file Sharing are turned off. Network Computers and devices are not visible.

Clicking on it will give you a choice that isn't clear to Non-Technical Family Member.

Do you want to turn on Network discovery and file sharing for all public networks? NO

No is the right answer, always. But this is a bad dialog because it looks like a Sophie's Choice.

You WANT to treat THIS NETWORK - the one you are on - as a Private Network. Select No.

A better, clearer way to change a Network to Private Network

  • Press the Windows Key + W to search Settings.
  • Type "Network Connections" and Press Enter

Windows 8.1 Network Connections

  • Click on your Network
  • Turn "Find PCs and Content" to ON. This Network is now a Private Network.

Find Devices and Content

Don't believe me? Bring it up side by side with the Classic Network Center and watch it switch back and forth in real-time!

Switching a Network Private in Windows 8
Switching a Network Public in Windows 8

I hope this helps you out as much as it did me!


Sponsor: Big thanks to the folks over at Grape City for sponsoring the feed this week. GrapeCity provides amazing development tools to enhance and extend application functionality. Whether it is .NET, HTML5/JavaScript, Reporting or Spreadsheets, they’ve got you covered. Download your free trial of ComponentOne Studio, ActiveReports, Spread and Wijmo.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
Hosting By
Dedicated Windows Server Hosting by SherWeb
Friday, 15 May 2015 21:00:41 UTC
On my Surface 3 Pro running Windows 8.1, I'm not seeing that option under the metro network settings for my wireless connection.
Jon
Friday, 15 May 2015 21:25:29 UTC
Jon - What do you see?
Scott Hanselman
Friday, 15 May 2015 21:28:26 UTC
Thanks. I always wanted to know how to change this.

My daughter pressed "yes" on her MacBook the other day. Guess I need to change this back now.
PRMan
Friday, 15 May 2015 22:02:11 UTC
Scott I'm also on a Surface Pro 3 with Win 8.1. On the Network tab, after tapping on my WiFi network's name, all I see is Data Usage heading with "show my estimated data use in the networks list" and "set as a metered connection" radios. No heading for Find Devices and Content.
Friday, 15 May 2015 22:03:55 UTC
Related support thread I found for above issue:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-networking/missing-network-settings-find-devices-and-content/bf4a8d57-f0b9-4689-88e8-ab6166ad6691
Friday, 15 May 2015 22:22:09 UTC
Don't forget about Set-NetConnectionProfile :)
Saturday, 16 May 2015 05:54:04 UTC
You can also do this via powershell :)
http://jermsmit.com/powershell-set-network-profile/
aL
Saturday, 16 May 2015 12:12:19 UTC
I have fought with this in the past, and fix it with regedit:

HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Profiles

Find the network. Category 0 = public, category 1 = private.
Jesse Temple
Sunday, 17 May 2015 14:01:47 UTC
To those not seeing the option. This option is not located in the Network flyout (Settings Charm, Network), but in the PC Settings app.
Asbjørn
Monday, 18 May 2015 12:52:21 UTC
Wow, thanks! I have considered private/public network //maybe// valuable but a pain to administrate.
:)

/Klas
Klas
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 13:21:14 UTC
Do you have a HANSELMAN-SLOW?
Will
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 18:05:29 UTC
Sorry for ranting, but... You'll need a Windows 10 version of this post in a few months. It will likely be completely different yet again for no apparent reason. There's no more Win+W anymore, for example... because... nothing. The UX around the entire network stack has been aggravating since Vista and with each release, they shuffle the deck again. The Modern/Classic split personality crap has only gotten more and more annoying. If you're like me, 90% of the time when you're looking for ANYTHING network related, it's the classic TCP/IP v4 properties dialog. WIN+X,W is the fastest way I've found to get to where XP would take you. Commit it to memory so you can untrain/retrain yourself something new in a year when it moves again.
scottt732
Friday, 22 May 2015 13:59:06 UTC
Please note that the option will not appear when your User Access Control (UAC) level is set to "Always notify." In this situation you will need to use the registry editor or lower the UAC level to change the network type.
Friday, 07 August 2015 03:18:49 UTC
I wish I could get this done the way you show, but cant find what you see in the Metro division (mine is not a pro version of 8.1). Thought this would help with my issue of changing this public network into a private one. NETWORK 12, whatever that is..ISP is of no help; MSFT is also of no help. WTH! So, not sure what to do from here. OY
Dallas
Friday, 07 August 2015 16:18:02 UTC
Very impressive article Thanks alot for screen shots it will prove very helpful for the readers of the article. You have done great job. Now a days it is very necessary for a business to keep its important data save. You have solved the problem by posting this blog.keep it up.
Monday, 10 August 2015 22:04:10 UTC
Oh man, that is what I needed from MSFT and Verizon and they could not figure it out. Patent this and send it to them.... Great. Glad I found your site and this info.

Now... what about that HIDDEN network that shows up?
Dallas
Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.