Network Location Type Stuck on Public
Network Location Types:
- Public network: By default, the public network location type is assigned to any new networks when they are first connected. A public network is considered to be shared with the world, with no protection between the local computer and any other computer. Therefore, the Windows Firewall rules associated with the public profile are the most restrictive. This blocks the following apps and services from working: PlayTo, file sharing, network discovery, and automatic setup of network printers, TVs, and other devices.
- Private network: A private network location type can be for home or small office networks, or when you know and trust the people and devices on the network. This setting allows your PC to connect to a homegroup and devices on the network, such as printers.
- Domain network: The domain network location type is detected when the local computer is a member of an Active Directory domain, and the local computer can authenticate to a domain controller for that domain through one of its network connections. This location type cannot, and should not be changed.
Note: There are at least half a dozen options for resolving this issue. The option below is the simplest to perform and probably the most configurable. This should work in Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10.
Change a Network Location in Registry Editor
- Click Run, and type ‘”regedit”, then click OK.
- If presented with a UAC prompt, click Yes.
- Navigate to HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\Network List\Profiles, and expand the key.
- Click on each GUID subkey, and view the ProfileName string value until you find your target network name (ex. Network 4).
5. In the GUID key containing the correct ProfileName key for your target network, check the Category DWORD value in the right pane.
6. Modify the value of the Category data to match the network location you want, as per the table below, and click OK.
|Network Location||Data Value|
7. Close the Registry Editor. You may need to sign out of your user account and back in to apply the change to the network location. The connection will now show up as Private (Work/Home) in the Network and Sharing Center.
8. If you have difficulties keeping these settings in place, after installing Windows Updates, there is an option to configure the setting in the Local Security Policy, but it’s less granular. Or maybe create a batch file to run at startup that loads the registry key. Here are a couple of shots of the Local Security Policy. Only the current connection can be edited unless you want to configure a default for all connections. Modify the properties, and change the network type.
So before you go checking firewall rules, adapter drivers, and shares, take a look at the network location and see if you’re stuck on Public, it could save you some time. Be the hero, not the zero! After all, when users can’t get their work done because they can’t get to the data, their excuse is that they’re waiting on the computer guy. “Here I come to save the day!” That’s how we want to be viewed, it’s better than “Oh no, here comes the computer guy to break something else.” My 8-year old grandson is playing football for the first time this year. He’s a little small in stature compared to the other players, but that’s just the physical view, his heart and determination are much bigger. He plays on defense and has earned the nickname Mighty Mouse from the other players’ parents because he will mix it up and not back down, and has a knack for blowing up plays.
William Hermanns quoted Einstein from a conversation with him in 1948,
“To simplify the concept of relativity, I always use the following example: if you sit with a girl on a garden bench and the moon is shining, then for you, the hour will be a minute. However, if you sit on a hot stove, the minute will be an hour.”
Still working? C’mon man, that’s not exactly what I had in mind, probably an ID10T moment, right? You earned it; leave the work at the office. Now, it’s time to relax.
With this simple resolution for the stuck on Public Network issue, you can get off the hot stove, save the day, and have time left over for that garden bench in the moonlight!
About The Author
Donny Hilbern is a network and systems consultant specializing in analyzing, designing, and implementing network and enterprise systems. Donny has been working in the IT field for over 25 years, with nearly 20 years of that time invested in network and system administration and infrastructure technology. He has experienced a number of undocumented or lightly documented issues during that time. His desire is to leverage that experience in sharing about some of those issues and how they were resolved to make IT work for his clients.