Windows 10 allows you to set your network as Public or Private. There are several ways to do it. While Windows 10 Fall Creators Update makes the process easy and transparent, in previous Windows 10 versions, things can be very confusing. The options have been moved around, the Network flyout is completely different from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Let's see how it can be done.
When you are signing in to your account for the very first time, Windows 10 asks you which kind of network you are connecting to: Home or Public.
If you pick Yes, the OS will configure it as a private network and turn on network discovery. For a Public network, discovery and access will be limited. If you need to access your computer from a remote PC or browse the PCs and devices on your local network, you need to set it to Home (Private). To change it later, you need to use Settings or Registry Editor.
To set network to public or private in Windows 10, do the following.
- Open Settings.
- Click on the Network and Internet icon.
- Depending on the way you are connected to your network, you need to click the appropriate subcategory on the left. If you are using a wired connection, click on Ethernet. If you are using some wireless connection, click on Wi-Fi.
- Click on the connection name on the right. In my case, it is named just "Network". The following page will be opened.
- Turn on (tick) the desired option.
Public - this option will hide your PC from other devices on the network. Other PCs won't be able to browse for shared resources available on your computer.
Private - this option is suitable for your home network. Your PC will be discoverable and can be used for printer and file sharing.
The Public and Private options were added to Settings starting with Windows 10 build 16215. If you are running an older version of Windows 10, the option you need to change is called Make this PC discoverable. See the screenshot below.If you need to hide your PC in the local network area, then disable this option. If you need to use it for printer and file sharing, then enable it. For reference, see the following articles:
- Enable or Disable Network Discovery in Windows 10
- Change network location type (Public or Private) in Windows 10