Since Windows 7 the OS has had the concept of Public and Private network locations designed help protect Windows when on a public network. With Windows in a public network you can’t browse other devices, other devices can’t see your PC on the network and you can’t connect to DLNA and network media services. When you join a network with Windows 10 it will ask if you want to enable device discovery for the selected network, if you say yes it will flag the network as private and if you say no it will mark the network as public.

I noticed that during the upgrade process from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 most of my network locations were changed from Private to Public so my HomeGroup setup no longer worked nor did Windows Media Player library sharing. Even after installing I have seen previously selected Private network had somehow changed to Public.

So how do you change your network location to Private? Each version of Windows seems to change how to set the network location and here is a simple way to change it in Windows 10. There are many other ways to change but this method works for me, see the comments for some other ways.

Note: Don’t set your location to Private on a network you don’t trust, if you do your computer could be at risk!

How to change your network location to Private in Windows 10:

  1. In the search/Cortana box type “Network and Sharing Center” (or right click on the network icon in the taskbar and select “Open Network Sharing Center”)
  2. Click on the HomeGroup link at the bottom left of the screen

  3. Windows will tell you can’t connect to a homegroup and the network must be set to Private. Click on the link that says “Change network location”

  4. Windows will then ask you if you want to allow your PC to be discoverable by other PCs on the network say Yes

  5. The location will then be changed to Private and the PC will try searching for a Homegroup.



Now your PC is on a Private network you will be able to browse other computers and use features like sharing Windows Media Player Libraries and DLNA.

4 thoughts on “How to change your network location to Private in Windows 10”
  1. There is an easier way than this too. Click the Network icon in the system tray and then click the network you want to change. This will open up Settings (new Control Panel) in “Network & Internet” and you should see your connection (in my case I’m using Ethernet so that is what opens). Now click the network link on the right and this opens up a new page showing your current connection properties. At the top of that page is a switch to turn on “Find devices and content”.
    That might be on or off depending on the current Public or Private status of the network. I can’t check Wi-Fi at the moment but I suspect it is very similar.

    1. you are probably right. It is a shame it doesn’t called it out as public and private in that screen.
      I have also seem Windows 10 forgetting the private setting and going back to public, but I haven’t worked out why

  2. This seems straightforward but when I get to the last step, I do not see the “Change network location” link at the bottom. I have searched many forums and cant’ seem to get this corrected. very frustrating.

  3. Adding this in case people that have this problem in the future find this article:
    I finally was able to fix this problem. Looks like the key here is to change the User Account Control (UAC) setting to something other than “Always Notify” (the highest setting). You can do that by typing “UAC” in the search box on the bottom left of the Win10 desktop. Once I did that I had the ability to change my network to private, and then to join a Homegroup.

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