Friday, November 19, 2010

Windows 7 Private Vs.Public Network Security Problem

For some time now I have been struggling with an annoying problem with my Laptop computer. I am confident my home network has adequate security for wireless use, and I want to be able to share resources on my computer with other computers on my home network. However, when I take the computer to a coffee shop, I don't want those services to be available. The simple answer was to set up very strict security rules for "public" networks, and to leave them relaxed for my home network.

Last May or so, Windows 7 security decided that my home network is a public network, apparently because I connect to it wirelessly. It did not provide me with any means to change that setting. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling my wireless drivers several times. Eventually, I started relaxing my public security settings so I could use my computer at home.

Finally I decided to research the problem. Apparently Microsoft decided that since the most common private network address range is used almost universally in coffee shops, that the default address range commonly used by home wireless routers is public by definition. (viper1ab, 2010)

Fortunately, I found instructions to override this setting. These instructions are my adaptation of Bill Grant's solution to a similar problem reported on Microsoft's TechNet support forum: (The first four items were copied directly from Bill Grant's post. I removed some details that did not apply to my situation, and I added the fifth instruction.)

1. Start --> run --> MMC --> press enter
2. In MMC console , from menu file select Add/Remove Snap-in
3. Select Group Policy Object editor --> Press Add --> select Local computer --> press OK -->press OK
4. Open Computer configration -->Windows Settings -->Security Settings -->select Network list manger policies on the right side you will see options for your home network.
5. Double-click your home network, and change the status of the network to private in the properties form.

(Grant, B., 2010)

Now I can re-assert my strict security rules for public networks, and enjoy relaxed rules on my home wireless network!


viper1ab. (2010, February 1). Home Network changes to Public when enabling ICS for Wireless Broadband connection [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Grant, B. (2010, February 2). Home Network changes to Public when enabling ICS for Wireless Broadband connection [Web log post]. Retrieved from

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