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I'm running Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and have 2 network interfaces, one connected to the pubic Internet and the other connected to a private LAN.

When looking at rules in Windows Firewall, what is the difference between rules applied to the Domain, Public and Private profiles? Is there a place where these profiles are defined?

I've read a bunch of write-ups on the profiles but the theme seems to be "when you're at home the private profile applies and when you're on a public wifi the public profile applies" and that's a bit too magical of an explanation for me...

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Windows detects the type of network on with logic similar to:

  1. If the computer can authenticate to a domain controller on this network, then this is a domain network.

  2. If a router is identifiable, and the user has determined this router is on a Home or Work network, then this is a private network.

  3. If the user has determined the router is on a public network, or the router is not identifiable, then this is a public network.

You can configure profiles in Network and Sharing Center. When you connect to a network for the first time, if the computer can determine the router, then it will prompt the user to answer what type of network this is, and stores the answer for next time.

Some articles that provide some more information about the Windows Firewall and Network Location Awareness:

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