How to Change a Wi-Fi Network From Public to Private in Windows 10

There are several reasons why you might want to switch a network from Public to Private, the main reason being securing your home or office network from being accessed by unauthorized devices. Given the abundance of Wi-Fi capable devices, it’s an easy process to change your network settings.

This article will show you several ways to change your Wi-Fi network to Private, such as using the PowerShell or Registry Editor, in Windows 10.

Switch From Public to Private Network Using Wi-Fi Settings

To change your network from public to private using the Wi-Fi settings:

  1. Click on the Wi-Fi network icon, found towards the far right of the taskbar.
  2. Select Properties under the Wi-Fi network that you’re connected to.
  3. From Network profile, select Private.

Switch From Public Network to Private Using Ethernet Lan Settings

To change your network from public to private using the Ethernet Lan settings:

  1. Open Settings from the Start menu.
  2. From here, select the Network & Internet settings option.
  3. Select Ethernet from the menu on the left.
  4. Click on the name of your connection.
  5. Select Private.

Switch From Public Network to Private Using the Registry

Note: A single mistake in Registry Editor has the potential to break an entire system, so consider creating a backup in advance. Once you’ve opened the Registry Editor, click on File > Export to save the backup in a secure location. If anything goes wrong, you can import the backup.

To change your network location from public to private using the Registry Editor:

  1. To launch a Run box, press Windows + R.
  2. Type “regedit’ then Enter.
  3. From the left pane of Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Profiles
  4. From the left pane, expand the Profiles key.
  5. Click on the subkeys to find the “ProfileName” that matches your current network connection’s name.
  6. Once you’ve found the right subkey, in the right pane, double-click Category and edit the DWORD to the following:
    Public: 0, Private: 1, Domain: 2.
  7. To apply the new network location, reboot your computer.

Switch From Public Network to Private Using PowerShell

To change your network settings from public to private using PowerShell, first enable Administrator access:

  1. Click on Start and then type “CMD” into the Search Bar.
  2. Right-click on Command Prompt, then select Run as administrator.
  3. To grant admin rights, you may be prompted to enter the admin’s username and password.
  4. Type: net user administrator /active:yes, then hit Enter.

Now launch PowerShell, then:

  1. To list the name and properties of the current network connection, paste or type in the following command Get-NetConnectionProfile, then press Enter.
  2. To change your network location from public to private, type in the following command— replacing “NetworkName” with your network name:
    Set-NetConnectionProfile -Name "NetworkName" -NetworkCategory Private
    • To change your network location back to public:
      Set-NetConnectionProfile -Name "NetworkName" -NetworkCategory Public

Switch From Public Network to Private Using Local Group Policy Editor

Changing from a public to private network using the Local Group Policy Editor:

  1. Access the Local Group Policy editor by clicking on Start then type “gpedit.msc” into the Search box then Enter.
  2. Now, click on Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Network List Manager Policies.
  3. Then, double-click on Unidentified Networks.
  4. In the Location type box, select the Private option.

Private and Public Network FAQs

Can I Customize My Public/Private Network Settings?

To customize your public and private network settings:

1. Click on Start from the taskbar.

2. Then select Settings > Network & Internet.

3. Select “Sharing options,” found underneath “Change your network settings.”

4. Expand “Private” or “Public,” and select the radio button for your preferred options e.g., turning off printer sharing.

Why Would You Want Your Network Set to Public?

You would set your network to Public to connect to Wi-Fi in a public place, such as a coffee shop or library. During that time, even when you’ve set up a Homegroup, your computer won’t appear to other devices, nor try to discover other devices on the network. Windows will also disable the file-sharing discovery feature.

Why Would You Want Your Network Set to Private?

Setting your network to Private is suitable for a home or office network environment, comprised of trusted devices that you may need to connect to. Discovery features are enabled, and your computer is seen by other computers on the network for sharing files, media, and other networked features.

Can I Change Network to Private Using Homegroup?

Homegroup does not have a feature for making changes to the network connection.

During the Homegroup setup process, you may be asked to change the network privacy settings on your computer. Depending on your internet connection set up (wireless or ethernet cable), this can be done through the Wi-Fi settings or “Network & Internet settings” option.

To change your network to private using the Wi-Fi settings:

1. Click on the Wi-Fi network icon, found towards the far right of the taskbar.

2. Select Properties under the Wi-Fi network that you’re connected to.

3. From Network profile, select Private.

To change your network to private using the Ethernet Lan settings:

1. Open Settings from the Start menu.

2. Select the Network & Internet settings option.

3. Select Ethernet.

4. Click on your connection’s name.

5. Select Private.

How Do I Create a Homegroup in Windows 10?

1. Type in “homegroup” in the Search bar on the taskbar, then click on Homegroup.

2. Click on Create a homegroup and then Next.

3. Select the devices and libraries you wish to share with the homegroup, then Next.

4. Make a note of the password that pops up on your screen; this will allow other PCs access to your homegroup.

5. Click on Finish.

To add other computers to your Homegroup:

1. Again, type in “homegroup” in the Search bar and click on Homegroup.

2. Click on Join now then Next.

3. Select the devices and libraries you wish to share, then Next.

4. Enter the homegroup password, then Next.

5. Click on Finish.

To share an individual file or folders:

1. Type “file explorer” into the search text field on the taskbar, then select File Explorer.

2. Click on the item, then select the Share option.

3. Depending on your computer’s set up, whether it’s connected to a network and the network type, select an option from the Share with group:

· Select a person’s account to share items with them.

· Select a Homegroup option to share with your Homegroup members, e.g., libraries.

· Click on the Share tab, then Stop sharing to prevent a folder or file from being shared.

· Click on the Share tab, then Homegroup view or Homegroup (view and edit) to modify the level of access to a folder or file.

· Select Advanced sharing to share a  location e.g., a system folder.

To share/stop sharing your printer:

1. Type in “homegroup” into the Search bar and click on Homegroup.

2. Select Change what you’re sharing with the homegroup.

3. Click on Shared or Not shared next to Printers & Devices.

4. Then Finish.

How Can I Keep My Internet Connection Secure?

Here are four things to consider to help prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to the Wi-Fi on your home network:

Rename Your Routers and Networks

Once you’ve set up your router for the first time and it’s up and running, change the generic username and password that accompanies it. The username and passwords provided with routers are public record, making your Wi-Fi easily accessible if unchanged.

Use Strong Passwords

Make your passwords stronger by:

· Making it at least 16 characters long.

· Not using personal information or common phrases.

· Using a mixture of numbers, special characters, upper and lowercase letters.

· Ensuring it’s unique; don’t reuse passwords.

Keep Everything Up-to-Date

Whenever a vulnerability is detected, router manufacturers will update the router firmware. To stay protected, set a reminder every month to check that your router settings are up-to-date.

Turn On Encryption

Encrypting your router is one of the easiest ways to secure your internet connection:

1. Find the security options on your router’s settings.

2. Then find the WPA2 personal setting.

3. If that option isn’t there, select WPA Personal. However, this is a sign of an outdated and vulnerable router; consider updating to one that includes WPA2 encryption.

4. Set the encryption type to AES.

5. Enter the password or network key; this password is different from the router password and will be used to connect all your devices to your Wi-Fi network.

Securing Your Wi-Fi Network

Windows 10 offers us the flexibility of switching our internet connection settings between public to access the internet in public places and private for a home or office setup. The change can be made using a variety of methods.

Now that you know how to change your network from public to private, and other ways to strengthen the security of your internet connection; what method did you use to change the setting; via the Wi-Fi/Ethernet Lan settings or using command prompts? Have you employed further practices for a more secure home network? Please let us know in the comments section.

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