How To Turn On Network Discovery

Network Discovery is one of the crucial features of Windows, allowing you to share files from one computer to other Windows computer over any local network. It allows multiple devices and computers operating under one common private network to connect with each other. This will save users from the hassle of transferring data to another secondary storage and repeating the same process on your target system. This peer-to-peer connection mode allows a more convenient and faster connection to transfer data. Also, it ensures the information is transferred only to the intended person. Apart from that, you also can provide controlled access to sensitive information. You may also share folders and files across stream media on Xbox or TV, computers, and print documents. You can turn on network discovery on Windows in several different ways. Below we have discussed how to turn on network discovery and thus utilize it to the fullest.

How to turn on Network Discovery

There are various ways of turning on the Network Discovery through Command Prompt, Settings, and Control Panel. At your convenience, you may choose any method.

From Settings

To turn on the Network Discovery through settings, follow the steps below:

  • First clock on your Windows logo
  • Next, to go to your Settings, select the gear icon
  • Click on the Network and Internet
  • Then click on Status and choose Sharing Options
  • Click on the available dropdown menu of Network Profile, public and private.
  • Choose Private
  • Next, click on the turn on network discovery option
  • Finally, click on Save Changes

From Control Panel

To turn on the Network Discovery through Control Panel, follow the steps below:

  • Navigate to the Search option
  • Next, type Control Panel and then click on it
  • Then select Network & Sharing Center
  • From your left-hand menu click on the Change advanced sharing settings
  • Then click on the available dropdown menu of Network Profile, public and private.
  • Then select Private
  • You need to click on the option Turn on network discovery
  • Finally, click on Save Changes

From the Command Prompt

  • In the search bar, type “cmd”
  • On the option, perform a right click and then select Run as administrator
  • Type “netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=” Network Discovery” new enable=Yes” on the command box without quotes.
  • Next press Enter
  • For turning off Network discovery, you may follow the similar steps for opening the command prompt
  • Type netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group=” Network Discovery” new enable=No
  • Finally press Enter

Turn on Network Security for the Public Networks

There are scenarios whereby you are connected to Ethernet connections or public Wi-Fi connections, but you may require the Network Discovery to share the files by not changing the category of the network. You can turn on the Network Discovery on the public connections also. To turn the Network Discovery on the Public Networks from the Settings window, you need to click on the tab named “Network and Internet” on your left sidebar.

From the right side of the network, find and then click on the option “Advanced Network Settings” to continue. On the next screen, you need to scroll down to find “Advanced sharing settings” to proceed, which is available under the section “More settings”. On the screen “Advanced sharing settings” find and click on the option “Public Networks” and then click the toggle switch available at the right edge of the tile to “On” it. Next, head to the option ‘File and Printer sharing’ available exactly beneath it, and then click on the toggle switch to ‘On’ it.

Sharing Folder on any Local Network

If the option of Network Discovery is turned on for your Windows PC, you can share a file or folder easily to other Windows devices available over the network. You can easily choose with whom you want to share a particular folder with personalized access rights to contents when you do not want the users to change the shared documents. To share a folder with the devices available on the network, you need to head to the folder you wish to share with the use of File Explorer. After you have found the files/ folder you want to share, you need to right-click on the icon to reveal the context menu. Click on the option “Properties” from the context menu to proceed. You can also press the keys Alt+ Enter together on the keyboard to open the properties.

Click on “Sharing” tab on the properties window. From the “Sharing” tab, find and click on “Share” button. You will see a separate window to be opened on your screen. From the section “Choose people to share with” click on the available dropdown menu. From the list, click for selecting ‘Everyone’. To proceed, click on “Share” available right in the window’s right corner. After you have shared, other users can find the folder in their File Explorer when they are connected to the same network. On the next screen, click on ‘Done’ button to close the window.

Reasons why Network Discovery cannot be turned on

Even if you have followed the above-mentioned steps, turning on the network discovery may fail. This may be because of different reasons like:

  • Windows Firewall or any other firewall is not allowing for the Network Discovery
  • The dependency services necessary for the network discovery are unable to work

To address the issues mentioned above, you may try the below-mentioned fixes:

Fix Dependency Services

The Network Discovery depends on UPnP Device Host, SSDP Discovery, Function Discovery Resource Publication, and DNS Client for it’s operation. If you see none of the services work, network discovery will not operate. To ensure the services are running, you need to set their status to Automatic. Follow the steps to do this:

  • To open the Run tool, press Windows key + R
  • To open the Services tool, type in msc
  • Find UPnP Device Host, SSDP Discovery, Function Discovery Resource Publication, and DNS Client
  • Next, right-click on any of the services and then click on Properties
  • You will find the service status under the General Tab
  • If you see that it is on Start, you need to select Stop
  • You can find Start-up type above the service status
  • Next, select Automatic
  • On the service status, you need to select Start
  • Then click on Ok

For all the services, you need to follow similar steps to ensure that their start-up type has been set to Automatic.

Permit Network Discovery in the Windows Firewall

It might be the case that network discovery has not been working because of the security reasons put up by the Windows Firewall and other firewalls. To address this, you must allow for the network discovery in Windows Firewall. Follow the steps below to do this:

  • Click on the Windows logo
  • Next, select the Control Panel
  • Navigate to System and Security
  • Then select the Windows Defender Firewall
  • From your left-hand menu, you need to choose the option Allow an app or feature through Windows Firewall
  • Next, click on Change Settings
  • Now, select Network Discovery and then check Private and Public
  • Finally, click on OK

If you have any other firewalls, you may change the settings, in the same way, to permit for network discovery via the firewall.

Reset Network

When none of the fixes mentioned above work, you may try to reset the network. Your computer will restart as a result, enabling the updated network-related drivers. Follow the below mentioned steps:

  • Click on the Windows logo
  • Next, navigate to Settings
  • Locate Network and Internet
  • From your left-hand menu, select Status
  • To find Network Reset, scroll down to your bottom
  • Finally, click on it and then select OK


Is Network Discovery Safe?

Definitely, this is quite safe on private networks. Also, there is an option to create strong passwords, which will limit the access to the users having a password and username on your computer. You may enable the sharing option that is password protected.

Can files be shared on more than one computer in the Network Discovery?

Yes, files can be shared with multiple networks provided they exist in the same network. Also, you can enable public folder sharing to make it easier to group share.

Experiencing difficulties with your Device, check out our “How To” page on how to resolve some of these issues.


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