How to change your network location from Public to Private, in Windows 10

Older versions of Windows operating systems had the option to set a specific network to be either Public or Private. If you want to find other computers, devices or any other content available on your network, then you should set it as Private, or if you don't want to, switch its location to Public. This seems to be backwards but it is not, as you would not want your computer to be discoverable and share folders on a public network such as one in a coffee shop or an airport. In Windows 10, the process for setting the network location is different than in previous versions of Windows. Here is how to change the network from public to private, and make your PC discoverable in Windows 10, or the other way around:

IMPORTANT: In order for the procedure to work, you have to be logged in with a user account that has administrator privileges. If you need a refresher on the purpose of network locations in Windows, what they mean and what they do, read this guide: What are network locations in Windows?.

Step 1: Go to the Settings app

If you want to change the location set for your existing network connection, you first have to open the Settings app in Windows 10. One of the simplest way to open it is to click or tap the Start button in Windows 10 and then Settings.

Step 2: Go to the settings of your active network connection

Next, you have to open the settings of your active network connection. The steps differ a bit, depending on what type of network connection you are using: through WiFi or Ethernet cable.

First, in the Settings app, click or tap Network & Internet.

If you are connected to a wireless network, press Wi-Fi in the column on the left and you see the network that you are connected to, on the right. Click or tap on the name of the wireless network that you are connected to.

If you are connected to a network using an Ethernet cable, in the column on the left, choose Ethernet. Then, click or tap on the name of the active network connection.

Step 3: Set your network to Private or Public, depending on what you want, for both WiFi and Ethernet connections

If you are connected to a wireless network, you see a list of switches and properties for your network connection. If you are using Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (released in October 2017) or newer, look for a section named Network Profile. There, choose Public or Private, depending on what you want. If you need to make your PC discoverable on the network, you have to choose Private.

If you use an older version of Windows 10, like Windows 10 Creators Update or Windows 10 Anniversary Update, look for a section that says: “Make this PC discoverable.”

If you set this switch Off, the network location is set to Public. If you set the switch On, the network location is set to Private.

 

If you are connected to a network using an Ethernet cable, you get to see only one switch and the properties of your active network connection. If you are using Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (released in October 2017) or newer, look for a section named Network Profile. There, choose Public or Private, depending on what you want for your network. If you need to make your Windows 10 PC discoverable on the network, choose Private.

If you use an older version of Windows 10, like Windows 10 Creators Update or Windows 10 Anniversary Update, look for a section that says: “Make this PC discoverable.” The setting that changes the location of your network from Private to Public and the other way around is named “Make this PC discoverable. Set the switch Off and the network location becomes Public. Switch it On and the network location is set to Private.

Close the Settings app and you are done.

Bonus: How to check what network location is set

If you use version of Windows 10 prior to Fall Creators Update, and you want to check whether the network location has been changed, open the Network and Sharing Center. There you see the actual location for every network connection, just beneath its name, as highlighted in the screenshot below.

Conclusion

As you can see, if you follow the steps described above you can to quickly change the location of your network from Private to Public or the other way around. The most important thing that this setting changes is whether your PC is discoverable or not, on the network it is connected to. For more articles on Windows 10, read the articles recommended below.