How to Enable Network Discovery and Sharing in Windows

This brief tutorial shows students and new users how to enable Network Discovery and Sharing option in Windows 10.

Network Discovery is a feature in Windows and allows Windows computers to find and discover other computers and devices on a network. When you’re connected to a private network, like your home or workplace, the discovery feature is automatically turned on.

On public networks like guest Wi-Fi or networks that are not trusted, it is disabled so that other machines are not automatically discovering your devices.

In some instances, Network Discovery is disabled in private networks as well, and won’t automatically allow other machines to be discovered.

If Network Discovery is disabled in a private network and wish to enable it, the steps below should help you.

To get started with enabling or disabling Network Discovery in Windows, follow the steps below:

Enable Network Discovery

If your Windows devices are not able to see or discovery each other on your private network, it might likely be that Network Discovery is disabled.

To enable Network Discovery:

Click Start and go to Settings.

When the Settings window appears, click Network & Internet.

The Network & Internet page will display your Network and Internet related settings

In the panel on the left, click either Wi-Fi (if you’re connected to a wireless network) or Ethernet (if you’re connected to a network using a network cable).

A window with settings for your network will appear on the right as shown below.

Under Related settings click Change Advanced Sharing options.

In the Advanced Sharing option pane, expand the network profile currently assigned to your network connection.

It should be labeled “current profile” when on a designated network. Since I’m on my home network, it shows Private as current profile.

Check the boxes to Turn on network discovery and also Turn on file and printer sharing.

When you’re done, click Save changes and exit.

Public Folder Sharing

On the same Advance sharing options page, scroll down All networks.

There you should see settings for Public folder sharing, Media streaming, File sharing connections and Password protected sharing.

Windows should automatically turn on file and printer sharing in private networks. However, in some instances, this will not be enabled.

If you can not automatically find printers and shared resources in your private network, then File sharing option may be disabled.

If you enable password protected sharing, only people who have accounts on the local computer or in domain environment will be able to access shared files and printers.

Make your changes and save, then exit.

Command Line

The settings above can easily be done using the commands below when run as administrator.

netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="File and Printer Sharing" new enable=Yes
netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Network Discovery" new enable=Yes

You must open the command prompt as administrator to run the commands above.


This post showed you how to enable Network Discovery and File and printer sharing in Windows. If you find any error above, please use the form below to report.