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Differences between Public & Private Network & How to Switch

Differences between Public & Private Network & How to Switch

Every time a new device is connected to Windows 10, it will give you the choice to select the type of network you want. However, it will always set a network to be public by default if you don’t make any choice. The two network options available to you are Public and Private. Find out what these networks stand for and how you can change from public to private in this operating system.

Types of Network

Find out what public and private networks stand for before learning to switch from one to other.

Public Network in Windows 10

As the name suggests, Public network is the type of network that you connect to in a public area. It is available in places in cafes, airports, and train stations. Some of the main features of this type of network are as follows:

  • When you connect to such a network, Windows 10 will make your device invisible to other devices
  • It prevents you from engaging in activities like printer, file, and resource sharing
  • It is recommended to use this type of network when you don’t want to connect with other devices
  • Windows 10 turns off all discovery features
  • This network will even disable a Homegroup that you may have set up on your system.

Windows Firewall is configured by default to use the rules of this type of network. These rules have many other restrictions. For example, the Firewall will prevent most apps from connecting to the internet. This is the preferred setting if you have a single computer or mobile device.

Private Network on Windows 10

A private network, as the name suggests, is configured to allow only designated devices to connect to it. It doesn’t allow any other device to connect to the network. The rules of this network are focused on creating a secure environment.

  • Even the allowed devices have access based on how they are configured. However, a public network allows anyone to connect to it with very few or no restrictions.
  • Private networks are usually preferred for home networks, businesses, and organizations
  • If you seek high level of security for your device and data, you should be using this type of network 
  • This type of network is more difficult to configure because several factors have to be addressed when creating a secure connection
  • This type of network prevents how many devices can be connected to it
  • It involves installation of advanced applications and hardware for high level of security
  • In a private network, there is increased emphasis on web server protection. There is more focus on controlling access to the internet to prevent malicious threats from putting the network security at risk.

Current Network

If you want to change your network from public to private, it will be required to first confirm the type of network you have. The following steps should help you determine what type of network you have.

  • Click and open the Start menu
  • Search for ‘control panel’
  • Open Control Panel
  • Open ‘Network and Internet’ (you may also open ‘Network and Internet’ from Settings from the Start menu
  • Next, open ‘Network and Sharing Center’
  • You will be able to see all the active networks and the type of network mentioned against each. It will show the network type for the connected networks.

How to Change from Public to Private Network?

There are a number of ways that can help you change network type in Windows 10.

First Method: Local Security Policy

Use the following steps to change the type of network through local security policy change:

  • Click on Start menu and type ‘Run’
  • Click open the ‘Run’ app
  • Type the following into the box: secpol.msc
  • Click on ‘Network List Manger Policies’ (all available networks will be listed on the right side)
  • Select the required network and double click on it
  • Click on the tab, ‘Network Location’
  • You can change it to ‘Private’ (Another options is ‘Not Configured’) 
  • You can set each connected network to Private by double click on them and following the above-mentioned step.

Second Method: From Windows Settings

There is another method for configuring a public network to private one. This method uses the Windows Settings.

  • Open Control Panel by searching for it in the Start Menu (Another alternative is to click on Settings in Start Menu)
  • Click and open ‘Network & Internet’
  • Click on Change Connection Properties
  • Click on the radio button against ‘Private’ under the Network Profile section
  • Close the Window and this will set the network to private. It will be required to configure each network this way if you have multiple networks. 
  • In case of multiple networks, it will be required to select each network from within Network & Internet Window and then click on Change Connection Properties.

Advantages of Private Network

There are many advantages of configuring your network to be private compared to keeping it public. The most notable ones are as follows:

  • Enhanced level of security
  • More control
  • More customization
  • Network availability

Besides the advantages linked to security, having a private network also provides resource advantages. There is control over the traffic, ensuring that network connectivity is always available. Since there is control over the access to the network, there is enhanced level of security. 

A private network can be a work or home network. It is perfect for those who want to have access to complete networking features available in the operating system. This can include features like:

  • Network device setup
  • File sharing
  • Network discovery

There is one more way to change a network to private. However, it is best suited for users who have more advanced knowledge. You should be able to configure it by making changes to Windows Registry. This method is preferred for advanced users who want to make the changes involving multiple systems or devices. It involves the use of just one registry file.

So follow all these tips to change from public network to private. It is important to understand the features and benefits of moving to a private network before you make these changes.

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