Change from Public to Private Network in Windows 7, 8 and 10

In Windows, when you connect to a wireless network, it will either register it as a Public network or a Private network. Private networks are basically home and work whereas public networks are anywhere else, which you don’t trust.

Sometimes Windows detects a private network as a public one and vice versa. You can manually make some changes to ensure that you are not accidentally sharing either too much on a public network or blocking all sharing on a private network.

In this article, I walk you through the steps for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7.

Windows 10

In Windows 10, go ahead and click on the Ethernet or wireless icon in the system tray of your taskbar. The Ethernet icon is like a little computer and the wireless icon is, well, pretty well-known. Once you do that, click on the Network & Internet Settings link.

This will bring you to the PC settings dialog with the Status tab selected. If you are connected to a WiFi network, click on WiFi in the left-hand pane, otherwise click on Ethernet.

Go ahead and click on the name of the WiFi network or Ethernet network that has the Connected status. When you click on the network, you will now be able to select Public or Private.

For WiFi networks, you’ll also have the option to connect automatically when in range of the WiFi network.

Windows 8.1

In Windows 8.1, to change the network profile, we have to go into the PC Settings screen. To do that, open the Charms bar and click on Change PC Settings at the bottom.

change pc settngs

Now click on Network and you’ll see the list of connections, i.e Ethernet, Wireless, etc.

network connections

Now all you have to do is turn on the Find devices and content option. It’s automatically turned off for public networks, so when you turn it on, it changes the network to a private network.

find devices and content

Windows 8

For Windows 8, follow the following procedure. First, right-click on the network icon in the Windows 8 system tray and click on Open Network and Sharing Center.

network sharing

Here you will see the network you are connected to and what type of network Windows 8 has identified it as.

private network

As you can see above, my network is considered a Private network, which is correct since I’m at home and connected via Ethernet. If this is incorrect, there are a couple of things you can do. First, you can click on Change advanced sharing settings in the left-hand pane.

change sharing settings

Click on Private and then make sure you have these options enabled:

– Turn on network discovery

– Turn on file and printer sharing

– Allow Windows to manage homegroup connections

network sharing

Then collapse Private and expand Guest or Public and make sure you have these options set:

– Turn off network discovery

– Turn off file and printer sharing

public network

Once you have done this, you then need to go to the Windows 8 desktop and open the Charms bar. Click on Settings and then click on the Network icon.

network settings

You’ll see Network and then Connected. Go ahead and right-click on that and choose Turn sharing on or off.

turn sharing on

Now choose Yes if you want your network to be treated like a private network and No if you want it to be treated like a public network. Note that the label Private or Public may remain the same in Network and Sharing Center, but once you choose the sharing settings manually, the network will have the appropriate settings applied.

turn sharing off

Windows 7

In Windows 7, the process is a bit different. You still have to click on the network icon in your taskbar, but this time click on the Open Network & Sharing Center link.

Here, you will see an overview of your network connection. Under View your active networks, you’ll see the name of the Ethernet or WiFi network and it should have a link underneath called Home network, Work network or Public network.

Click on that link and you’ll be able to change between the three different network types.

There is also an option in Windows 7 to treat all future networks as public networks automatically, though I don’t think most people would find that useful.

Manually Force a Network Location

As a last resort, if you can’t change the network location using the methods above, you can manually change the network location using a tool called secpol.msc. This will not work on the Home, Student or Starter editions of Windows. In Windows, press the Windows Key + R, which will bring up the Run dialog box. Type in secpol.msc into the run dialog box.

run dialog

Then click on Network List Manager Policies at the left and on the right-hand side you should see a couple of items with descriptions and then something called Network, which is the current network you are connected to. It may also be called something else, but it doesn’t have a description. If you are connected to a WiFi network, it will be the name of your WiFi network.

network list manager policies

Double-click on it and click on the Network Location tab. Here you can manually change the network location from Private to Public and vice versa.

network location

That’s about it! Not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s Microsoft! If you are having problems with changing network locations in Windows, post a comment here and we’ll help. Enjoy!

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Transfer Files from Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8 to Windows 10 using Windows Easy Transfer

Whether you plan to upgrade your Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8 machine to Windows 10 or buy a new PC with Windows 10 pre-installed, you can use Windows Easy Transfer to copy all your files and settings from your old machine or old version of Windows to your new machine running Windows 10. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps to configure Windows Easy Transfer.

Before we get started, let me clarify exactly what you can transfer using Windows Easy Transfer:

– User Accounts

– Documents

– Videos

– Music

– Pictures

– Email

– Browser Favorties

It will not transfer over the programs. You will have to reinstall any programs that you want on your new Windows 10 PC.

Windows Easy Transfer on Windows 10

Before we get started, there is one big issue we have to deal with. Microsoft has removed Windows Easy Transfer from Windows 10 and now suggests some third-party program PCmover Express, which costs money! There is no way I’m paying any money just to transfer some data from one PC to another.

Luckily, there is a way to get around this problem. Basically, the Windows Easy Transfer program is already installed on Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you are using Windows XP or Vista, you can download the appropriate version from here:

Windows XP Easy Transfer –

Windows Vista Easy Transfer –

Now, if you try to download the Vista version and run it on Windows 10, it gives you an error. However, if you have a Windows 7 64-bit machine, you can copy over the folder that contains the Windows Easy Transfer program to a USB stick and then run it on Windows 10 and it works just fine.

If you do not have access to a Windows 7 64-bit machine, I copied the folder and zipped it up, which you can download from here. If you have 32-bit Windows 7, run the preinstalled 32-bit version on the Windows 7 machine, but download the 64-bit version on Windows 10. It can import a 32-bit version of an Easy Transfer file. Simply uncompress the folder and run migwiz.exe.

Run WET on Old Computer

To get started, you need to open Windows Easy Transfer on your old PC or the PC that is running Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8. Note that if you are doing an upgrade, think of the old machine as the old version of Windows, in this case Windows XP, Vista, or 7.

Also, note that if you are upgrading Windows XP or Vista, you will need to download and install Windows Easy Transfer as it does not come with the program built-in. If you are running Windows 7 or 8, it’s already there and you can just search for it. The download links are above.

Note that it says it’s for transferring from XP or Vista to Windows 7, but you can use it to transfer to Windows 8 also. In Windows 7, just search for Easy Transfer and you’ll see it show up:

windows easy transfer

To start, we will open Easy Transfer on the old machine, in my case Windows 7. Once you start it, the Welcome dialog will pop up and give you an overview of what items you can transfer:

windows 7 to 8

Click Next and then choose the method you want to use to transfer between the old PC and Windows 8. You can choose from Easy Transfer Cable, a Network, or an external hard disk or USB flash drive:

transfer methods

If you are upgrading a computer to Windows 10, then you can choose external hard disk or USB flash drive since the old and the new computer is actually the same computer. You’ll, of course, have to have a external drive or USB flash drive in order to do this.

If you’re transferring between two computers, then the best option is a network connection since you probably have the computers on the same wireless home network. If you don’t have any network setup at home, then you can use an Easy Transfer Cable, which is a special cable you have to buy. Here is a list from Amazon:

In this article, I’ll go through the network method since that is what most people will be using. If you are transferring to Windows 10, then choose the USB method instead. Click on A network and choose whether this is the old or the new computer. In our case, we are starting with the old computer, so click on This is my old computer.

old computer

On the next screen, you’ll see some instructions and you’ll see a Windows Easy Transfer key. You will need to use this key on the new computer.

transfer key

Now go to your new Windows machine and start the Windows Easy Transfer wizard.  You can open it in Windows 8 by going to the Start screen and then right-clicking anywhere until you see All apps at the bottom right. Then scroll to the right and you’ll see it under Windows System.

windows system

In Windows 10, you’ll need to either download the Windows 7 64-bit WET in the link I have above or you can do it yourself by going to the following folder on your Windows 7 PC:


Find the migwiz folder and copy it to a USB flash drive or to the cloud, etc. However you do it, just copy that entire folder to your Windows 10 PC and then double-click on migwiz.exe.

Now follow the same steps as above: click Next on the welcome screen, choose a network for how you want to transfer, and then choose This is my new PC. On the next screen, you have to tell Windows whether you installed Easy Transfer or if you’re running Windows 7, in which case it’s already installed.

windows 7 transfer

In my case, I am transferring from Windows 7, so I chose My old PC is running Windows 7 or Windows 8. Click Next. You’ll get the instructions to go to your old PC and get the key, which we already did. Click Next again.

new transfer key

Now go ahead and type in the key that you got from your old computer and click Next. The program will download any updates to the Easy Transfer program first:


Once it has done that, it will scan the user accounts on the old computer (which takes a few minutes) and tell you exactly how many MBs worth of data will be transferred:

account transfer

You can click on the Customize link to see exactly how big each folder will be and you can uncheck specific folders if you don’t want to transfer everything like Music or Videos, etc. If you click on the Advanced link here, you will get an Explorer dialog where you can check and uncheck specific folders under each of the main folders.

customize transfer

If you click on Advanced Options, you can change how the mapping of the user accounts will occur. If the names of the accounts on both computers are the same, it will automatically link them, but you can change it here:

advanced options

That’s pretty much it. Click on Transfer and your files and settings will be transferred over! The most important thing here is the App Settings, which is really useful if you installed some heavy-duty programs on your computer like MS Office, customized them, and now have to reinstall them on Windows 10. If you transfer the settings using the Easy Transfer wizard, you can install the app on Windows 10 and retain all those settings and customizations. If you have any questions about the transfer process, post a comment here and I’ll try to help. Enjoy!

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