Trying to maintain good security settings on my laptop, I want my home network to be interpreted as private and the university network at school to be interpreted as public. However, my home network is currently showing as public.

Here is what my Network and Sharing Center looks like:

How do I change my home network from public to private on Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

  • +1 to remove the -1 somebody did. I've only used XP so I suppose this private/public thing is in windows 8 and maybe a bit earlier. Could be the downvoter thought you weren't using the right terminology. A screenshot may have deterred them from having such a thought.
    – barlop
    Mar 1, 2012 at 3:23
  • For best security, set all networks as Public. Unless you're hosting file shares or other server-type services from your computer, you shouldn't need to open it up any more than that.
    – Iszi
    Mar 1, 2012 at 5:28
  • First make sure that your wireless network is private. Unless you've set a password it isn't. Nov 18, 2012 at 19:26
  • Are you asking how to change the network itself? If so, why do you say "How do I change my home network from public to private on Windows 8 Consumer Preview?" Are you trying to change a setting on your network or on your machine? And if on your network, why do you tell us all about your machine and nothing about your network? Dec 16, 2013 at 0:25
  • 1
    How is that related to this question? Are you trying to address Microsoft? Dec 17, 2013 at 14:30

8 Answers 8


There are a few paths to the correct UI.

"Easiest" : (Use homegroup to get to the UI / No right clicking needed)

  1. Tap Win+W to open the search charm for settings
  2. Type HomeGroup and Click the tile labeled only "HomeGroup"
  3. Click on the "Change sharing settings" button
  4. Then select the "Yes" option which corresponds to private networks

"Most Direct"

  1. Bring up the "Networks" UI via a Click on the network icon from the desktop taskbar or from the system charm (Win-I)
  2. Right Click on your connection and select "Turn Sharing On and OFf"
  3. Then select the "Yes" option which corresponds to private networks

Here is the correct UI:

Network Sharing UI

  • 5
    This does not work if the network is detected as 'Public"... but I want to change what it is detected as! Aug 2, 2012 at 22:15
  • As of Windows 8 RTM, this does work even with a network detected as Public. Dec 10, 2012 at 4:53
  • 2
    This doesn't really address the question. Huynh Son Tung's answer is more applicable.
    – Josh
    May 17, 2014 at 13:16
  • 2
    @Ari - good try. I thought this might help, but it appears Sharing does not equate to Public/Private. Another epic Microsoft UI failure.
    – jww
    Dec 30, 2014 at 0:31
  1. Press Win+R, then type secpol.msc
  2. Click on "Network List Manager Policies"
  3. Double-click on your network
  4. Click on "Tab Network Location"
  5. Set "Location Type" to "Private"

Go back to Network and Sharing Center to check the result.

enter image description here

  • 2
    +1 for changing the location type without enabling file sharing. Private networks allow for many other relaxed firewall settings besides those needed for file sharing (e.g. remote desktop). Jan 30, 2013 at 22:31
  • 13
    this worked, I could not get the accepted answer to work at all! Sep 14, 2013 at 9:19
  • same, this works beautifully, and instantly. Oct 25, 2013 at 22:01
  • 1
    This was the hint I needed, the higher voted answer had me turning on sharing for public networks. This answer showed me how to move the improperly designated network from public policy rules to private policy rules. Nov 15, 2013 at 20:38
  • 1
    This did not work for me. Windows 8.1 (up to date as of 2014-05-17). May 17, 2014 at 15:09

Things have changed for Windows 8.1. The public/private setting might be even less discoverable now. Well here is what you need to do:

  • Open the PC Settings (Win+C, Settings, Change PC Settings)
  • Go to Network -> Connections
  • Tap/Click on the network you want to change
  • A page with network details opens
  • There should be a switch "Find devices and content" -- turn it on

Caveats: The switch is not there if the machine is domain-joined and connected to the domain network. I think the switch is also missing if you are connected to an unsecure WiFi.

See also http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/find-pcs-devices-content-on-network.

  • 1
    This worked for me. Windows 8.1, up-to-date as of 2014-05-17. May 17, 2014 at 15:10
  • 1
    The switch "Find devices and content" doesn't show up for me, running as user, not administrator. Jul 6, 2014 at 7:13
  • There is no switch for me as well for "Find devices and content" on my HP notebook with Windows 8.1. My router requires a password. Don't know if there is more to it to make it secure WiFi - Windows says that the security type is WPA2-Personal. I don't know what a domain-joined network is, but I would think I don't have it. Only my laptop and a cord-attached PC on this network. Didn't do anything fancy with it. Incredible that Microsoft makes it so hard - or possibly impossible - to do.
    – Scooter
    Jan 14, 2015 at 2:46
  • My office laptop had some settings which prevented me from starting nodejs on private network turning the button off made my network public and I can develop at home! Jun 12, 2016 at 6:10

using Powershell

Set-NetConnectionProfile -interfacealias <Ethernet name> -NetworkCategory [Public,Private,DomainAuthenticated]


Set-NetConnectionProfile -interfacealias Draadloos -NetworkCategory Private

credit to an account called "Reader"


The HomeGroup troubleshooter worked for me. It noticed that I didn't have any private networks, and fixed the problem by turning my "public" network into a private network.


While the answer about secpol.msc is great, on my win8.1 there is no such program. I came up with another simple option: forget the network and add it again with the proper settings.

You can do this by clicking on the wireless icon, manage connection settings, manage known networks, select the network by clicking on it, click on forget network. After this you need to connect to the network again with the wifi password and select that you share printers and files, so Windows will put it into the private network category.


Correct me if I'm wrong here, but you are trying to keep good security posture by making the change from category of public to private on your home network?

Note that categorizing the network as public is actually more secure in this particular setting. If you change from public to private then you open yourself up more-so. It's a bit of a false positive if you take it at face value. It is asking you if this network is considered a public or private and not actually making it public or private.


on win10 it is quite easy....

  1. left click on your network icon in the task bar. This will list all the currently available wifi connects
  2. left click on your wifi connection. It will be top of the list and have Connected, secured. Also under that will be Properties (underlined)
  3. left click Properties
  4. a settings page will pop up. Right click on the private button and is done!

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