Interface Technical Training

Changing the Network Location in Windows 8 and 8.1

I recently picked up a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. I’ve always liked tablet computers and this looked to be a great opportunity to test one out in advance of Windows 10 launching. Until now I’ve mostly stayed with Windows 7 as my primary desktop operating system. Learning some of the intricacies of Windows 8.1 has been interesting.

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One frustrating bit for me has been the over-simplification of network configuration in Windows 8 and 8.1. Many of the configuration settings that were easily accessed in Windows 7 are either relocated or removed from the graphical user interface (GUI) in Windows 8.1. In particular, I had some difficulty changing the network type for a wireless network from Public (the default) to Private. This was blocking some features from working, especially Remote Desktop Connection.

I found a simple way to change the network location type of a given network with just two commands. This technique works on both wired and wireless connections.

First, open a Windows PowerShell console as an Administrator.

Next, type ipconfig and press Enter to list the local network adapters.

Identify the name of the network adapter you want to configure. In this screenshot I’m changing a network adapter named “vEthernet (External)”.

Before you proceed, it is important to know that if your adapter name has a space in it you need to enclose it in double-quotes for the next command.

Assuming I want to set the vEthernet (External) NIC to the Private network location, I type Set-NetConnectionProfile –interfacealias “vEthernet (External)” –NetworkCategory Private and then press Enter.

That’s it! No reboot or network bouncing is necessary. The change is picked up immediately.


Mike Danseglio – CISSP, MCSE, and CEH

Mike Danseglio teaches IT Security Training, Windows, System Center and Windows Server 2012 classes at Interface Technical Training. His classes are available in Phoenix, AZ and online with RemoteLive™.