Public or Private Network in Windows 10: What Each Network Profile Means and How You Can Change Them

We are going to explain to you what it means for the network profile to be public or private, explaining what each one of them is. When you connect to a network for the first time, it can be configured either as public or private, and depending on this will Windows set up a series of default configurations.

We are going to begin by explaining to you why it is necessary to choose between these types of network profiles, and what it means for the network to be public or private. Then, finally, we will tell you how you can change a network to be public or private after you have connected to it.

Why you should choose between these network types

When you connect to the Internet from your computer, you do so via a wired or WiFi network. It doesn’t matter which of the two you are, because Windows will ask you the first time if it is a public or private network. It does this to be able to apply a security configuration depending on the context in which you are going to use this network because as you will see later, it is not going to be the same to connect from home than from work.

That is why you are given a choice between these two environments, and depending on which one you choose, the security or Windows firewall parameters will be configured in a specific way. The security measures are going to be relaxed when you’re supposed to be in a domestic environment at home, and they’re going to be stricter if you’re in the office or a place that’s not your home.

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And that’s why there are these two types of settings so that when you set up your home network, you indicate whether you’re at home with a private network or you’re in a more exposed location with a public network. You’re going to have to decide this initially when you set up the network, but then you can also change it later.

What is a Private Network?

Private Network

The private network is the type of network settings you should set up in Windows 10 when you are the one who controls the network and the devices that are going to connect through it. Therefore, it is the type of network that you are going to have in your home or in a small office where there are several people, and you manage the network.

If you configure your network as private, Windows will understand that you have control of all the devices, and therefore will not establish such ironclad security between them. This will allow all the devices that are connected to this network to connect.

With this, you will have advantages such as being able to find your devices from others on a local network, which can give you advantages such as seeing what you have on the shared computer from a TV or other device through a homegroup, which is configured in private networks. You will also be able to send documents to the printer from another computer over the network.

Remember that this is because, with this configuration, you are telling Windows that all the devices on the network are trustworthy and that therefore you do not mind if it lowers the barriers that may exist between them.

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What is the Public Network?

Public Network

But you are not always going to set up networks in environments where you have control, and for those occasions, there are public networks. When you configure a network with this parameter, you are telling Windows that you do not have control of the network or of all the devices that are connected to it, and that therefore, you prefer to have greater security. This can happen, for example, in hotel networks, restaurants, stations, and other public places.

Therefore, when you configure your network as a public one, what Windows is going to do is to have disabled by default the visibility options of your device within the network, since you have let it understand that there are other devices connected to it that are not yours, so it will try to preserve your computer.

With this, what you are going to do is to isolate your computer from the rest of the devices. You will be able to connect to the Internet and do whatever you want online, but the other connected computers and devices will not see yours, nor will they be able to try to connect or interact with it.


Therefore, if you do not want your computer to be on a network, nor do you want to create a homegroup, this is the option to choose. But you should keep one thing in mind, and that is that this configuration will not protect you from all the dangers you are exposed to when you connect to public networks such as those of restaurants, stations, and so on. For this reason, it is recommended that you use a VPN on these large public networks to avoid malware attacks.

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How to Change the Network Configuration

Network  and Internet

To change the network type settings of the network you are connected to, you have to open the Windows 10 settings. Once you are inside, click on the Network and Internet section, which is where you can change the settings related to your connection.


Once inside the Network and Internet settings, you should stay in the Status section where you go by default. Once you are inside you will see the information about the network you are currently connected to, and you must click on the Properties button below to access its settings.

Public or Private

Once you enter the properties of the network you are connected to, you will first see the Network Profile section. In it, you can change the type of network profile between public and private as often as you need.

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