How to Change a Network Location in Windows 8

Windows 8, like its predecessor, uses broad “location” categories to help users configure appropriate network settings. When users first connect to a network on their PC, they can choose to categorize the connection as either “Home,” “Work,” or “Public,” with each choice increasing the default security and limiting sharing options. “Home” and “Work” are considered “private” connections while “Public” is, as its name suggests, considered a “public” connection.
How to change network location Windows 8
These categories can be very helpful for quickly configuring PCs on new networks, but if your network conditions change, or if you select an inappropriate location by mistake, there’s no clear way to change it after the fact. So here’s how to change a network location in Windows 8.

Our Example

For our example, we’re using a PC on which we inadvertently chose “Public” for our network connection location during the installation of Windows. We want to change this back to “Private” in order to access shared devices on our home network.
How to change network location Windows 8

Windows 8 Pro

There are a few ways to change a network location in Windows 8, but not all of them are available to users of every edition of the operating system. First, if you have Windows 8 Pro, you can use the Local Group Policy Editor to manually configure each network connection.
First, press Windows Key + R to bring up the Run window, type the following and press Enter:

gpedit.msc

Once the Local Group Policy Editor window loads, navigate on the left side of the window to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Network List Manager Policies. Find your network connection on the right side of the window (in our example it’s simply called “Network”) and double-click to open its Network Properties window.
How to change network location Windows 8
Head to the Network Location tab and change the “Location Type” selection to the desired setting. For our example, we’ll select Private. Press “Apply” and then close the Properties window and the Local Group Policy Editor.
How to change network location Windows 8
Now, if you head over to the Network and Sharing Center (Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Network and Sharing Center), you’ll see that your Network connection is now set to the desired location.
How to change network location Windows 8

Windows 8

For non-Pro versions of Windows 8, or for users who don’t have access to the Local Group Policy Editor, you can effectively change a network’s location by changing the sharing settings for the connection.
To get started, open the charms bar on the right side of the screen, choose “Settings,” and select your network connection from the list of icons at the bottom. Alternatively, if you have a network icon present in your Taskbar’s Notification Area, you can simply click once on the icon to achieve the same result and open the Networks menu.
How to change network location Windows 8
Here, find your network connection (again, in our example the connection is named simply “Network”), right-click on it, and choose “Turn sharing on or off.” Note that our example PC has a single wired Ethernet connection. If you’re working with a PC with a Wi-Fi card, you’ll see additional options in this menu related to wireless networking, so your menu might not match our screenshots.
How to change network location Windows 8
You’ll now be presented with two options:

No, don’t turn on sharing or connect to devices – this configures your network location as public.

Yes, turn on sharing and connect to devices – this configures your network location as private.

Select the desired option. You may be prompted by Windows User Account Control for permission to make the change. Press “Yes” to finish.
Once you’re done, head back to the Network and Sharing Center and you’ll find that your network’s location is now set to the correct location.

10 thoughts on “How to Change a Network Location in Windows 8”

Avatar Stephen Mangai says:
Great solution, thanks
Avatar Blight says:
thank you :D
Avatar LokizFenrir says:
here goes:
linux – ooh look free updates and apps that may or may not break my system. – Democratic
windows – ah updates to fix these bugs,free apps to do whats not included by default. – Socialist
mac – where do i have to pay? – Capitalist
Consumer focused versions:
win 95 – nice
win 98 – sucks
win 98SE – nice
win ME – sucks
win xp – nice
win vista – sucks
win 7 – awesome
win 8/8.1 – sucks (ps microsoft allows win 8 license holders , including oem versions to be down/upgraded to win7)
win 10 – ? (nice since i have been using the tech preview)
there is no rivalry, but those the users imagine.
Mac – rigid
Windows – free-er
linux – too free for their own good
use what works for you,and your pocket , take care.
Avatar Richard Thomas says:
This is nonsense. The guide for Win8 non-Pro doesn’t work at all. I wanted to change a connection from Public to Private, Windows hadn’t given me the option when I went through the Windows first-launch setup wizards. To change it I had to forget the network, then rediscover it, and when asked if I wanted to discover devices on the network I said yes, which forced Windows to label the connection as private (which has sharing allowed, whereas public does not).
Crazy Microsoft software. So damned infuriating!
Avatar sacksmack says:
Thanks buddy, you just saved me loads of time
Avatar Lorenzo Pieri says:
Thanks a lot! Best guide I’ve found on the web :)
Avatar Cana Alberona says:
what do you do if it doesn’t let you right click your network option?!
Avatar Frank Taylor says:
I am so infuriated by this. I do not have Pro and I cannot change sharing settings. I’m so angry at Windows for not allowing me to simply chang emy network from public to private. I need to do this for work and yet it won’t let me. argh!!!
Avatar Joel says:
Goddammit Microsoft. Why did you do away with my ability to change public to private in the Control Panel? To make matters worse, you don’t even let me select public or private when I add the network – I have to allow the computer to autoconnect to everything. Why? To make your computers more “friendly” to the Apple crowd (read: idiots and women)?
Avatar n8tivATL says:
Joel, you think Windows is trying to make it easier for the ‘Apple’ crowd? I do far more hoop-jumping on Windows to accomplish the same tasks that I do on Mac systems. And given your post, it sounds as if Windows’ new ‘friendlier’ OS is giving you quite the challenge so if it’s supposed to be so easy an idiot can do it, what does that say about you?
Avatar Joel says:
Microsoft likes to claim they are simply making their software easier to use, but they really are just reducing functionality (placating the crowd I mentioned earlier – because too many options confuses people). At least they still sell the version for smart people – it’s just more expensive. I guess it’s good business so maybe I should respect it.
Avatar Ruthlyn Wills says:
THANK YOU so much!!!! First it was that 8.1 changed the driver for my network card… got that sorted by reinstalling my original driver. Then my network suddenly given public status and me no internet connection! So thanks for your wonderfully simple solution for the pro edition :).

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