With Windows 8, Microsoft changed the way you define a network type. Earlier, in Windows 7 and Vista, the operating system allowed the user to set the connected network as public or private quickly with one click. However, in Windows 8 and above, the way you are supposed to set your network connection to Public or Private is completely different and very confusing. I would like to share how you can change the network location type in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.
When you are connecting to a network for the first time, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 ask you which kind of network you are connecting to: Home or Public. If you pick Home, 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).
If you decide later to change the access type of the network you are connected to, you might even not find which settings to change!
There are two ways to change the network type in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.
Method one. Change network access type via the Control Panel and Settings app
While this method does not allow you to change the selected profile, you will be able to customize sharing and network browsing options. Here you go.
- Open the Settings app as described here: Learn all the possible ways to open PC Settings in Windows 8
- Go to Network -> Connections:
- Click on the connection type you are using, in my case it is Ethernet:
- Change the option "Find devices and content":
- if you need to turn your network into a Public network, i.e. unsafe for sharing, set it to "Off".
- if you need to make your network Private, i.e. network is safe for sharing and common access, set it to "On".
My network is Public and sharing is turned off.
There is an alternative way to customize the network type in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
- Open the classic Control Panel and go to the Network and Sharing Center:
- Click "Change advanced sharing settings".
- Here you can customize your sharing and access options using more detailed settings than in the PC Settings app:
Method two. Change network access type by Registry editing
You can change the network profile in WIndows 8 and Windows 8.1 using a Registry tweak. After you follow the steps described below, you can easily switch your network location type from Public to Private and vice versa.
- Open Registry Editor.
- Go to the following Registry key:
- You will see one or several GUIDs there, each of them represent a network you are connected to. See the following image to understand how it works:
- Go to the GUID subkey which matches your current network connection.
- Create a new DWORD value there, named Category. You might already have such a value, so you will only need to modify it.
- Set the Category parameter to one of the following values:
0 - means your network is public.
1 - means your network is private.
- Create a new DWORD value named CategoryType if it does not exist and set its value to 0:
- Restart your PC.
After the reboot, open the Network and Sharing Center and check out the state of your network. It should reflect the changes you made. For example, I set my Network to Private using the following values:
Category = 1
CategoryType = 0.
The result is as follows:
That's it. Feel free to post your thoughts, questions and suggestions in the comments.