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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.