How to change Windows 10 network location from Private to Public

Posted by Paul Braren on Oct 29 2015 (updated on Oct 18 2017) in
  • HowTo
  • Network
  • Windows
  • network-icon-only-without-cursor

    If you're at an airport or hotel WiFi, you'll want to be sure your Windows 10 is set to the Public network type, to block network neighborhood browsing by you, and of you. Yes, Network Location Awareness might guess wrong. As Tim Anderson explains, this can also be a common, self-induced scenario described at ITWriting:

    So I arrive at a hotel and turn on wi-fi and connect. That little dialog comes up, Do you want to find PCs devices and content on this network? The correct answer in a hotel is No, but in my jet-lagged stupor I click Yes. Oops.

    This article shows you exactly how to fix this manually, easily, and usually takes under 30 seconds!

    You'll need to know your exact Windows version to get to the exact fix below that's for you. Press your keyboard's Windows key + R, type winver, then press the Enter key. Note your Version number (as pictured below), then click on the link below that matches that number:


    Windows-Version-1709-TinkerTry

    Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Version 1709 Build 16299

    It's gotten much easier since all previous Windows 10 versions, thank you Microsoft! I don't have video or screenshots ready quite yet, meanwhile, here's the step-by-step instructions:

    Fix for Wired Network Connections

    1. left-click the tiny network icon (computer screen symbol) in your system tray at bottom-right (near your clock), then a menu pops up
    2. left-click the first network item that comes up near the top of the menu, such as Network Connected or similar network name
    3. under the top section labeled Ethernet, left-click the first network item that comes up near the top, such as Network Connected
    4. at the top, under Network profile, change from Private to Public

    Fix for Wi-Fi Network Connections

    1. left-click the tiny Wi-Fi network icon (beams icon) in your system tray at bottom-right, near your clock)
    2. left-click on Properties below the network item near the top of the menu, such as Wi-Fi or your Wi-Fi network's name (aka SSID)
    3. at the top, under Network profile, change from Private to Public

     
     


    Windows 10 Creators Update, Version 1703 Build 15063

    Windows-Version-1703-TinkerTry

    Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Version 1607 Build 14393

    Windows-Version-1607-TinkerTry
    here's-how-Network-Location-looks-win-Windows-10-1607-by-TinkerTry
    Here's how Network Location looks in Windows 10 Versions 1607 and 1703

    Both versions use the same fix, with menus appearing very nearly the same:

    Make this PC discoverable
    Allow your PC to be discoverable by other PCs and devices on this
    network. We recommend turning this on for private networks at
    home or work, but turning it off for public networks to help keep
    your stuff safe.

    Fix for Wi-Fi Network Connection

    For Wi-Fi networks, this short video loop demonstrates every step. Mouse-over to reveal playback controls. Only applicable to Windows 10 Version 1607 Build 14393.

    Fix for Wired Network Connection

    For Wired networks, this short video loop demonstrates every step. Mouse-over to reveal playback controls. Only applicable to Windows 10 Version 1607 Build 14393.

    No single fix works for everybody, with several fix methods listed in this article. The most successful & common fix is shown above, taking under 30 seconds. More techniques appear below. This article and videos were created on my Windows 10 Pro SuperServer Workstation.


    Jul 12 2016 Update

    Windows 10 Threshold 2, Version 1511 Build 10586

    Windows 10 RTM, Version 1507 Build 10240 (initial release)

    These instructions look the same for Builds 15063, 14393, 10586, and 10240, see Windows version details in the table here.

    Below is an archive for reference, and yes, Microsoft completely changed how the user interface looks in Version 1607, which has been detailed above.

    Change from Private Network to Public Network (Windows 10)

    Fix (wired or wireless)

    Video playback controls let you pause/unpause at will. To make the controls go away, simply move the cursor away.

    See also at TinkerTry

    mouse-over-minimized-task-manager-and-itll-pop-up-cpu-memory-disk-and-network-utilization
    Click to learn how to auto-start this handy tray icon.

    See also

    In this Wiki page, you can see the version number consists for the first 2 digits being the year, and the second 2 digits being the month the finalized bits were released to Window Insiders, which was usually a month or two before the GA (Generally Available) date.

    • Windows 10 version history
      Wikipedia:

      Version 1507 Build 10.0.10240 GA'd on 07/29/2015, First Release/GA/RTM, codename Threshold 1
      Version 1511 Build 10.0.10586 GA'd on 11/12/2015, November Update, codename Threshold 2
      Version 1607 Build 10.0.14393 GA'd on 08/02/2016, Anniversary Update, codename Redstone 1
      Version 1703 Build 10.0.15063 GA'd on 04/05/2017, Creators Update, codename Redstone 2
      Version 1709 Build 10.0.16299 GA on 10/17/2017, Fall Creators Update, codename Redstone 3
      Version 1803 Build TBD (ETA 1Q2018), codename Redstone 4