October 24, 2020

Managing Network Discovery

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One of the new features that Vista had in the networking areas was the concept of different types of networks you connect to. The three types of network are as follows:

  • Home
  • Work
  • Public Location

Not many people realize the ramifications of your choices when you make that first click. The biggest one being whether Network Discovery is turned on our not. Now the cry from the masses of “So?” is deafening 🙂

And really it isn’t a big deal unless you want to connect to someone else’s computer quick and easy or have them connect to you. The security behind this is simple, when you are at home for example you don’t mind the fact that your computer broadcasts its existence to the other devices on your network. Now on the other hand if you are at your local Starbucks enjoying your favorite caffeinated beverage while surfing your favorite sites you do not want your computer announcing your presence to everyone who is also on a computer there.

Now every setting has its default and here it is:

  • Home – Network Discovery On
  • Work – Network Discovery On
  • Public Location – Network Discovery Off

I am connected to my home network so we can go in and see the discovery of all the devices on my network.

  1. Go to the Start Menu and then go to Network
  2. After clicking on Network you will see there is quite a bit of information available for most devices:

Now just because there are default behaviors it doesn’t mean that you can not override them when you want to. To override them for specific networks heres what you do:

  1. Go to Network & Sharing Center in the control panel

  2. Look in the Sharing and discovery section, click the arrow to expand the section Network Discovery

  3. Choose the radio button you want the setting to be and then click Apply

Thats it you have now overridden the defaults. What’s that? You only want to change it for a specific network and not for your whole computer? Ok, we can do that too… sometimes you people are a little pushy 🙂

Ok so we are still in the Network and Sharing Center… if not just type it into your Start Menu search bar and it should jump up and bite you.

Now in the Network & Sharing center we are going to focus on the part at the top that shows you what network you are connected to.

  1. Click on Customize and you will be able to change several things about this network

  2. Go ahead and set your network type (remember Private means everything is open, and Public means everything is closed) and change the name or network icon and click Next. This will bring you to a summary of what you just changed.

Note: If your computer is a member of a domain you will not be able to change these network settings, the network administrator will set them up by default.

Well thats about it for Network Discovery, as always you can leave questions and comments below!


  1. Need Help about Vista Home Premium Network Sharing Center.

    I can see 2 connections my original wireless connection and the other is “Unidentified Network”..but the problem is I can’t browse in the internet..

    How can I remove this 2nd Network Connection?
    Please Help I don’t want to restore..

  2. Hey Hi i have a Problem with “Network Discovery On/Off” when i tried to choose the radio button “On” it is showing a diloag box saying “Access denied” . Iam have the all Administrator rights for my Account but iam unable choose the Options and Same thing Happing for choosing the Option of Password Protection …. Can any one pls help me to resolve this issue ….

  3. William Colflesh says

    I have several computers, with various operating systems. I need them to network. When I first install Vista or Windows 2008, I choose the network type “Work”. This is fine for a while, but often something occurs that causes the machine to stop having the network type “Work”. It now has network type “Public”. This is particularly troublesome when it happens to my on Hyper-V servers. How can I change the network type back to “Work”?

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