I have a problem similar to
this one. Windows Firewall prevents File and Printer sharing from working
and Why does File and Printer Sharing keep turning off in Windows 7?

I cannot turn on Network Discovery.

This is Windows 7 Home Premium, x64. It's a Dell XPS 1340 and Windows came installed from the OEM. This used to work. Now it doesn't. I don't know what has changed.

In windows Explorer, the UI looks like this:

enter image description here

When I click the yellow panel that says "Click to change...", the panel disappears, then immediately reappears, with exactly the same text.

If I go through the control panel "Network and Sharing Center" thing, the UI looks like this:

enter image description here

If I tick the box to "turn on network discovery", the "Save Changes" button becomes enabled. If I then click that button, the dialog box just closes, with no message or confirmation. Re-opening the same dialog box shows that Network Discovery has not been turned on.

If I turn off Windows Firewall, I can then turn on Network Discovery via either method.

The machine is connected to a wireless home network, via a router. The network is marked as "Home Network" in the Network and Sharing Center, which I think corresponds to the "Private" profile in Windows Firewall Advanced Settings app. (Confirm?)

The PC is not part of a domain, and has never been part of a domain.

The machine is not bridging any networks. There is a regular 100baseT connector but I have the network adapter for that disabled in Windows.

Something else that seems odd. Within Windows Firewall Advanced Settings, there are no predefined rules available. If I click the "New Rule...." Action on the action pane, the "Predefined" option is greyed out. like this:

enter image description here

In order to attempt to allow the network discovery protocols through on the private network, I hand-coded a bunch of rules, intending to allow the necessary UPnP and WDP protocols supporting network discovery. I copied them from a working Windows 7 Ultimate PC, running on the same network. This did not work. Even with the hand-coded rules, I still cannot turn on Network Discovery.

I looked on the interwebs, and the only solution that appears to work is a re-install of Windows. Seriously?

If I try

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Network Discovery" new enable=Yes

...it says "No rules match the specified criteria"

EDIT: by the way, these services are running.

DNS Client
Function Discovery Resource Publication
SSDP Discovery
UPnP Device Host

in any case, since it works with no firewall, I would assume all necessary services are present and running. The issue is a firewall thing, but I don't know how to diagnose further, or fix it.

Q1: Is there a way to definitively insure the correct holes are punched through the Windows Firewall to allow Network Discovery to function?

Q2: Should I expect the "predefined" firewall rules to be greyed out?

Q3: Why did this change?

  • I suggest you ensure that ALL relevant services are enabled/started, including the firewall service itself (Base Filtering Engine). There is no need to mess with the advanced firewall interface, you can just enable core networking, file/printer sharing, etc from the firewall app in Control Panel. – kreemoweet Jan 5 '12 at 19:15
  • It's not the services. Network Discovery depends on a set of services, right? But When I turn off the firewall, network discovery works. So that means, the required services are available. It's not the services. And, thanks for the hint about enabling those features in the firewall control panel app. Those features are not available in the UI, on my machine. Just like the "pre-defined rules" - they are missing. – Cheeso Jan 5 '12 at 20:30

This other question: What happened to my "Predefined rules" in Windows Firewall? How can I get them back?

...provided the solution.

The missing rules for Windows Firewall were the problem.

The hand-coded rules I tried to enter, as I described above, didn't cut the mustard. Surely I made mistakes in hand-entering everything.

But, when I restored the "predefined rules" that Windows ships with, and then enabled those predefined rules, Network Discovery began working again. Likewise File and Print Services.

I believe that someone had previously installed a security suite that pre-empted Windows Firewall, and also deleted the predefined rules for Windows Firewall. I don't know this for sure, I am only guessing. Or possibly it could have been a virus that removed the predefined rules. In any case, Windows Firewall had amnesia about its predefined rules. Restoring the predefined rules, and enabling them, allowed everything to work as expected.

I was not successful with the reg update. But I was successful going into the firewall advanced settings and I added predefined rules for file sharing and network discovery. Now the firewall is active and I can use the network.

  • Mark this as accepted then. – Synetech Sep 10 '12 at 0:32

protected by Community Sep 26 '12 at 12:49

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