One issue that has frustrated me a number of times is having a computer lose network connectivity and the connection status is listed as Public, rather than Private. Normally, if the location type is wrong, you can click on it, and change it. But at times, it gets stuck on Public and is not accessible for editing.
This issue is a little obscure, in that, it’s probably not the first troubleshooting item on your list. A user calls and says that they cannot connect to a company share, you start looking to verify the share is still in place, verify the IP addresses of the machines, and see what access they actually do have. Here’s one tip: The user has a valid IP, and can connect to the Internet, but can’t get to the internal network. Check to make sure the location hasn’t switched to Public, i.e they’re not stuck on Public.
Windows Updates, surprisingly (tongue planted firmly in cheek), will throw you for a loop and change some settings back to default that you thought, or know that you had configured differently. It’s bad enough that Microsoft changed the Windows Updates model to all or nothing so that now we admins can’t pick and choose which ones to install. Either we do or we don’t, our only recourse is to delay their installation and let someone else be the guinea pig. The last thing we want is to have an update hork our computers or network, and then wait for Microsoft to fix it. Some updates will also reset settings to the original configuration or replace files that have been changed. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes it’s not. Almond Joy or Mounds: sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t! Maybe you had to be around in the 70’s to get that, but the gist is, give us options, let us choose. Updates should not be one size fits all, and each should carry a description clearly telling you what will be changed or reset.
So, for one reason or another, you’re faced with a network location that is stuck on Public. I recently encountered this at one of our smaller clients. There is no domain or server, and one of the workstations hosts their shared company file. After updates, one of the computers could not connect to the host computer. After troubleshooting for a bit, I discovered other computers could connect to the host, so the issue was on the first computer that reported the trouble. I then quickly determined that the network location was stuck on Public. Thinking that the adapter driver had been updated, and was buggy, I started downloading a previous driver to roll back to. In the past, I’ve jumped through other hoops as well in order to get this location to change, such as deleting and rediscovering the adapter and playing with the Network Location Awareness service settings. Well, as the driver downloaded, I stumbled onto a much easier fix for this issue, and the steps and screenshots are listed below: