Switch It Up: Public vs. Private Network Profiles in Windows 10

Choosing Public or Private network profile in Windows 10

Windows 10 makes it easy to set your network profile for wired or wireless devices to public or private. Here’s how.

In Windows 10, there are two sets of default security and sharing profiles when you connect to a wired or wireless network: public and private. The names of these two settings are fairly straightforward. Private networks are in your home or office, while public networks are everywhere—coffee shops, airports, libraries, etc.

That much is obvious. But how does Windows 10 treat public networks and private networks differently? And how do you switch from one to the other? That’s precisely what we’ll be covering in this article.

Set Your Network Profile in Windows 10 to Private or Public

When you first connect to a network, Windows will ask you what kind of network and what settings you want to use. If you don’t remember doing this or change your mind about creating a network, you can switch it.

Public vs. Private Networks in Windows 10

Generally speaking, when you set a network profile to “public,” the settings are more restrictive. Your PC won’t be visible to other devices on the same network. Other devices won’t be able to access your files or printers on the network.

On a “private” network, Windows 10 assumes that you are on a trusted network that only you and your family members have access to. Your device will be discoverable on the network (others can see it). If you are using Homegroups, you can share printers and files with other computers on the network.

Public and private networks also have different firewall settings. By default, both public and private networks have pretty restrictive firewall settings. But you can customize your firewall settings to be different depending on what type of connection you’re on.

How to Change a Wireless Network to Private or Public in Windows 10

To change from a public network to a private one or vice versa, connect to your network.

  1. You can do this by opening the available Network icon in the Notification area.
  2. Select the network, then connect to it. After connecting, select it, then click Properties.
    Network Properties Link in Windows 10
  3. Here you can change your Windows 10 Network profile to Public or Private. Choose the one that best suits your environment.
    Choose Public or Private network profile

How to Change a Wired Network to Public or Private

If you want to change the network profile for a wired network, open Start > Settings > Network & Internet > Ethernet.

  1. Next, click your network adapter.
    Wired network adapter in Windows settings
  2. Now, choose the profile you want.
    Choosing Public or Private network profile in Windows 10

Customize Public and Private Network Settings

You can change the settings for your public or private networks. For example, if you wanted to make your computer discoverable on public networks (not recommended) or disable file or printer sharing on a private network, you could.

  1. Open Start > Settings > Network & Internet. Under Change your network settings, click Sharing options.
    Change network settings dialog
  2. Expand Private or Public, then choose the radio box for the desired options such as turning off network discovery, file and printer sharing, or accessing homegroup connections.
    Advanced network profile settings

There you have it, easy ways to protect or give access to your networks.



  1. John Yungton

    November 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Too bad Win 10 changes ‘control options’ so often, I don’t have any network public / private options, shown above, to pick from. Win 10 Pro Ver. 1709 Build 16299.64

    • minnesotauser

      December 5, 2017 at 8:33 am

      I have the same situation as John Yungton. no public/private opttions. Version 1703, build 15063.726.

      • LED

        August 13, 2022 at 2:48 pm

        I believe it is because Win 10 removed the Homegroup settings and with some adjustments via Work Group and/or WiFi then changes can be made…

  2. Douglas Hardy

    April 2, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I can find the option but when I change it from turn off discovery to turn on discovery it lets me save it but as soon as i go back to check it i find that is has gone back to turn off discover all by itself.

    Any suggestions???????

  3. Regina

    July 17, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you for your explanation. I’m so frustrated with trying to get my wifi private as I see the same name with a ‘2’ behind it which is public and I want to delete it.

  4. Martin Halls

    October 22, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    does nt work for me very little of the above appears as shown above and it seems impossible to select private or public anywhere.

  5. advan

    February 12, 2021 at 9:01 am

    Open Settings.

    Click on the Network and Internet icon.

    As you are using a wired connection, click on Ethernet.

    Click on the connection name on the right. In my case, it is named just “Network”.

    Turn on the desired option

    • Albert

      August 5, 2023 at 8:20 pm

      Thank you!

  6. Distressed

    February 25, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    These instructions are pointless because Microsoft keeps changing the UI every release so nothing that worked before works a year later… I HATE that. And they do it everywhere. Hide options, move them around, make things more and more difficult for the average user on purpose.

  7. sagar

    April 8, 2021 at 12:56 am

    not working

  8. Freonpsandoz

    October 21, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    There’s no “Properties” button. #FW10

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