How to Fix: Change Network from Public to Private in Windows 10

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Tim C. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I recently upgraded to Windows 10 and have a rather perplexing issue. A few days ago I opened my laptop and Windows 10 presented me with a window, asking me if I was using a public or private network. I clicked the public network button, not thinking much of it - however, ever since then I cannot connect to my laptop using Remote Desktop (from the PC), nor can I use TightVNC, which is an alternative to Remote Desktop. Also, when I launch some programs (for example, Kodi to play movies), the Windows firewall tells me that the program I just launched is trying to access my network and it asks me if I should allow the connection. Long story short, I believe I have selected 'public' network when I should have chosen 'private' network as my default. The problem is that I cannot figure out how to change back from public to private network in Windows 10. Can you help? "

My response:

I've had this exact same problem on multiple Windows 10 PCs and laptops in my home. For some reason, my network location settings changed without asking me - even on my desktop PCs. After that happened, I had the exact same problems as you described. What tipped me off is that my Remote Desktop stopped working, and when I disabled the Windows Firewall, it would work again. Eventually I figured out that my network location somehow got switched from private to public.

Changing from Public to Private Network Using Windows 7

In Windows 7, you can right click the network icon (next to the clock), then the Network and Sharing Center will appear. On the proceeding page it will list your networks under "View your active networks", and tell you whether your network is Home (Private), Work, or Public. In Windows 7, the Home (Private), Work, or Public network has a clickable link that will let you change it (click that link to see a picture) - but in Windows 10, that blue link is not there anymore.

Changing from Public to Private Network Using Windows 10

Changing the network location (from public to private) in older editions of Windows 10 means used to mean having to jump through hoops - but now it is relatively simple.

  1. To begin: in your tray bar near the click, look for your network connection. It will either be an ethernet connection icon (which sort of looks like an LCD monitor - click here for an example pic which shows the ethernet icon next to the battery icon in the tray bar), or, it will be a Wifi symbol if you're using Wifi. Right click either icon and select either icon Open Network & Internet Settings.
     
  2. On the following page the connection it will say "Status" near the top, then "Network Status" just underneath. Under that it will tell you your primary network / Internet connection, such as "Ethernet Public Network", or such. If you want to change it to Private network, then click the "Change connection properties" link. On the following page you can choose "Public" or "Private".

Using PowerShell to Set Network from Public to Private in Windows 10

If you do not see the "Change connection properties" link mentioned in Step #2 above, and are unable to click on "Public or "Private" on the proceeding page, it likely means you're using an old version of Windows 10. In that case, you can manually set any connection that is Public to Private using an administrative PowerShell.

To do so:

  1. Click Start, then type in "PowerShell" (no quotes); wait for "PowerShell" to appear in the list, then right click it and select "Run as Administrator".
     
  2. Next, use your mouse to highlight the text below:

    Get-NetConnectionProfile |
    Where{ $_.NetWorkCategory -ne 'Private'} |
    ForEach {
    $_
    $_|Set-NetConnectionProfile -NetWorkCategory Private -Confirm
    }
     
  3. Right click the above highlighted text, then select "Copy" from the dialogue menu.
     
  4. Go to the PowerShell window you opened in Step 1 above and right click in the middle of the window. The text you copied in Step #2 should be output. Press Enter to execute the script. The script will then check your network settings. If it finds any network connections that are Public, it will ask if you want to switch it to Private. Note: if none of your network adapters are set as Public then the script will not output anything.

That's it!

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

kakero2's picture

hello
thanks alot for guide,
but for home , which one is safe? private or public?

Dennis Faas's picture

Home network settings should be "private". Anything outside of the home which is not on a secured network would be "public". A "work" network is of course used in a work environment.

kakero2's picture

thanks for answer ,
if i put network setting to "public" in home for more secure network , is it good?

Dennis Faas's picture

The network setting for "home" and "public" and "work" have little to do with security. The only thing that is going to keep you "more secure" is to: use an operating system that is actively supported by the manufacturer (I.E: don't use Windows XP or Vista), use a firewall and configure the firewall appropriately, download and install updates for your operating system regularly, use antivirus with real time protection, keep that antivirus up to date, and scan for malware using a third party program once a month. Also, don't download email attachments and/or click on links to install programs with little or no reputation. That pretty much sums it up.

kakero2's picture

thank you for great security guide

Juned Abdulla's picture

I have similar issue as the topic says.
1) Laptop PC's in out work have recently started registering itself as Private or Public network. Initialy i was clueless even to solve this issue, But then i found a work around and started deleting network profile from Registry(Which is a temporary solution). then i disable and re-enable network adaptor to detect it as a domain network, some time i need to change category to 2. It is giving me a very bad impression in my work place. Need kind support Inorder to resolve this issue ASAP>
Thanx in advance.

sasterling96_9509's picture

I followed along step by step but I ran into a snag at number 4. My options on the homegroup page are "change advanced sharing settings" and "start the homegroup troubleshooter." Neither of these options allow me to follow the rest of the guide, and therefore I have no idea how to change it from public to private which I am in dire need of doing for my job so I can have remote access.

Dennis Faas's picture

Try deleting the network adapter via Device Manager. This should reset it.

tjlatto_10745's picture

If I change from Public to Private, will it effect the other users that I share a wifi connection with?
I'm using the same wifi connection as the people that I am renting space from and I don't want to mess up their connection. But I would like to set up my own separate homegroup of two computers.
Any problems with this?

Dennis Faas's picture

The public vs private network setting is specific to your operating system. It only affects how your operating system works, so it won't affect others on the same network UNLESS you are trying to share files (for example) with other users on the same network.

The whole point of public vs private has to do with pre-configured firewall settings which are automatically applied depending on whether your network has been set as public or private.

Let's look at an example. If you are using a public network (free wifi at a restaurant) you wouldn't want file sharing turned on so that other users on the same network can access your shared resources. The opposite would be true if you're using a private work network. Hence, if the setting is not set properly, it will have an impact especially if you're sharing resources (files).