In Windows, when you connect to a wireless network, it will either register it as a Public network or a Private network. Private networks are basically home and work whereas public networks are anywhere else, which you don’t trust.
Sometimes Windows detects a private network as a public one and vice versa. You can manually make some changes to ensure that you are not accidentally sharing either too much on a public network or blocking all sharing on a private network.
In this article, I walk you through the steps for Windows 10
Change from Public to Private Network in Windows 10
In Windows 10, go ahead and click on the Ethernet or wireless icon in the system tray of your taskbar. The Ethernet icon is like a little computer and the wireless icon is, well, pretty well-known. Once you do that, click on the Network & Internet Settings link.
This will bring you to the PC settings dialog with the Status tab selected. If you are connected to a WiFi network, click on WiFi in the left-hand pane, otherwise click on Ethernet.
Go ahead and click on the name of the WiFi network or Ethernet network that has the Connected status. When you click on the network, you will now be able to select Public or Private.
For WiFi networks, you’ll also have the option to connect automatically when in range of the WiFi network.
Manually Force a Network Location
As a last resort, if you can’t change the network location using the methods above, you can manually change the network location using a tool called secpol.msc. This will not work on the Home, Student or Starter editions of Windows. In Windows, press the Windows Key + R, which will bring up the Run dialog box. Type in secpol.msc into the run dialog box.
Then click on Network List Manager Policies at the left and on the right-hand side you should see a couple of items with descriptions and then something called Network, which is the current network you are connected to. It may also be called something else, but it doesn’t have a description. If you are connected to a WiFi network, it will be the name of your WiFi network.
Double-click on it and click on the Network Location tab. Here you can manually change the network location from Private to Public and vice versa.
That’s about it! Not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s Microsoft! If you are having problems with changing network locations in Windows, post a comment here and we’ll help. Enjoy!