My Windows 8.1 has the setting "Turn on automatic setup of network connected devices":

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What exactly does this setting mean? Why would I want it?

I have been unable to find any useful information googling this.

The background to the question is that my Windows 8.1 machine has difficulty falling asleep, and powercfg -requests don't work like it used to, so I'm left guessing what is keeping it awake. "Network discovery" seems a possible culprit, but it is a nice to have it turned on. Perhaps turning off just automatic setup would help, but it would be good to know what it does.

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    It means supported devices that provided additional network storage would be automatically seen by Windows and configured. Why don't you just disable it and see if it makes a difference? – Ramhound Nov 1 '13 at 17:42
  • It'll open up some firewall ports, and allows things like finding and configuring network printers, file sharing, etc. – ernie Nov 1 '13 at 17:51
  • @Ramhound because it might be weeks, even months, until I connect a new network device. If that works less well because of disabling this setting, I will have forgotten the setting by then. – Klas Mellbourn Nov 2 '13 at 9:28
  • @ernie Do you have a source for that? Why would opening up firewall ports make a difference for making printer discovery from the computer? – Klas Mellbourn Nov 2 '13 at 9:30
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    This page states "It also automatically sets the appropriate firewall and security settings for the type of network that you connected to." I did poke at it enough to verify that the Network > Connections charm was toggling the same setting as the homegroup sharing you've got a screen shot of . . . – ernie Nov 4 '13 at 17:09

When this setting is enabled, Windows 8 and 8.1 are capable of detecting and setting up automatically network devices like hard drives attached to your router or other network devices. This devices can then be used by Windows 8/8.1 to provide you with services like automatic backups through the File History service. More details about how this works can be found in this guide: What is the Automatic Setup of Network Connected Devices in Windows 8?

If you don't have hard disks attached to network devices or PCs or you have them but you don't need to use them over the network, turning off this setting is OK. Otherwise, you should keep it enabled so that you can use these devices over the network.

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