How to Configure a Network Location in Windows 10

Instructor Rick Trader

In this short IT training video, Systems instructor Rick Trader demonstrates how to configure Network Location Services (Public and Private) in Windows 10.

Rick also presented how to establish and configure network locations in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.

Here is the video transcription:

Previously, I wrote about the Windows Firewall profiles and how those profiles are controlled through the network location service. In this video, I would like to show you how to configure those network location services, which will, in turn, control which Windows Firewall profile is currently in use.

I currently have a Windows 10 computer running. I’m running split screen so I can switch in the Hyper‑V Manager. If I bring up my Network and Sharing Service on this computer, notice my machine shows that I’m in a Domain Network.

The Domain Network will make my computer select a Domain‑Based Profile in the Firewall. What does this mean? It means, as an administrator, I can be less stringent in setting up the Firewall rules so that more domain‑based services can talk to this machine when it is inside a corporate network.

When this machine leaves the corporate network, I want to use either a Public or a Private profile to be able to control what’s going to be allowed to communicate with this machine outside the corporate network.

To simulate taking this machine out of the corporate network, I’m going into my Windows 10 computer and connect it to a different network segment.

If I open my network browser and click my network, notice that even though I’m in my domain‑based network, the Network Discovery and File Sharing Services are turned off by default in Windows 10, just like they would be in Windows 8 or Windows 7.

If I want this machine to be able to be browsed in network or I want people to be able to browse to this machine and access resources, I need to turn on the Network Discovery and File Service. Let’s go ahead and change that network segment.

I’m going to change it over to an external switch. This will take a few seconds because it’s identifying the network. It immediately came up was a Public Network.

I want to mention that because this computer has already been connected to this physical network before, if you had turned the machine on or you connected to this network for the very first time, wired or wirelessly, you would’ve received a big blue box.

In the big blue box there would’ve been text content displaying two options. One option would’ve asked you, “Do you want this machine to be visible on this network and discoverable on this network and share files?” The other option is you do not want this machine to be discoverable on the network.

What does this do? If you choose the option that asks you “Do you want to have this machine discoverable on the network?” it’s going to automatically put you into a Private Network Location. If you choose not to allow it to be discovered, it’s going to place it in a Public Location. I’m going to show you how you can change this once it’s been set.

The difference between Windows 10 and Windows 7: In Windows 7, when this notice would appear, it would ask, “Is this a Home Network?” “Work Network?”, or “Public Network?” In Windows 10, Microsoft changed the options a bit. Right now, my computer is in a Public Network because that’s what I was required to choose the last time I was logged in.

In a Public Network, if I bring up my File Explorer navigate to the Network area, notice I’m going to be prompted again. Do I want to be Discoverable on this Network, Network Discovery, and File Sharing?”

Because of how I’m connecting, I don’t want to turn this on. I would choose a Public Network if I’m at a coffee shop, or I’m at the airport, or a hotel, or maybe a conference, some place where I’m not behind a trusted or secure network device that’s going to protect me from those bad things on the Internet.

To change my connection settings to a Private Network, I will bring up my notification area which is now my Action Center. I’m going to All Settings then Network and Internet Settings and then click on Ethernet. Now, if I was using wireless, I would choose wireless. Connect to the Ethernet connection and there’s this simple slider bar here.

With this slider bar to the right, you are Private, and if the slider bar is to the left, it is Public. It’s that simple. To the left is Public, to the right is Private. If I slide the slider bar over to the right, I’m now going to be in a public‑based network. If I close this, and notice I’m in my private network.

Even while I’m in my private network, if I come down to the network, the difference now is, because the assumption is I’m in a private network, I’m going to want to share things, the Network Discovery Services turned on automatically, but what’s not turned on is the File Sharing Service.

If I still want to be able to share something, I have to turn off Secure Sharing so that I can share those resources on the machine.

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Rick Trader

Rick Trader’s experience includes proficiency with Network Administration, Computer Repair and Configuration, Network Operating System Implementation and Network Infrastructure. He was the program Lead for the TechTrax Career Program at InterfaceTT and was responsible for curriculum and exam development as well as ensuring the success of the career changer students Rio Salado Community College Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year (2001).


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  1. Pingback: Video - How to Configure your Network Location in Windows 7

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Upcoming Courses
Rick Trader Teaches

AZ-800T00 - AZ-800T00: Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure

SC-200T00 - SC-200T00: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst

AZ-900T00 - AZ-900T00: Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

AZ-104T00 - AZ-104T00: Microsoft Azure Administrator

AZ-800T00 - AZ-800T00: Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure

AZ-801T00 - AZ-801T00: Configuring Windows Server Hybrid Advanced Services

SC-300T00 - SC-300T00: Microsoft Identity and Access Administrator

AZ-140T00 - AZ-140T00: Configuring and Operating Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop

AZ-800T00 - AZ-800T00: Administering Windows Server Hybrid Core Infrastructure

AZ-700T00 - AZ-700T00: Designing and Implementing Microsoft Azure Networking Solutions

SC-200T00 - SC-200T00: Microsoft Security Operations Analyst