Enable Network Discovery and Sharing in Windows 11

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This post shows students and new users how to enable or turn on Network Discovery and Files Sharing in Windows 11.

The new Windows 11 comes with many new and wonderful features with refreshing new graphical interface, including centered Start menu and taskbar, rounded corners windows, themes and colors that makes the OS look more modern and cohesive.

Included in Windows 11 is a improved Network Discovery is a feature which 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 that’s the case and you wish to enable, the steps below should help you.

Also, when you’re a student and new user and you want to learn how to use Windows, the easiest place to start is Windows 11. Windows 11 is a major release of the Windows NT operating system developed by Microsoft. Windows 11 is the successor to Windows 10 and it’s expected to be released later this year.

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

Enable Network Discovery in Windows 11

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, continue below.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + i shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

windows 11 settings button

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click Network & internet, then select Ethernet on the right pane of your screen shown in the image below.

windows 11 network internet

In Ethernet settings pane, under Network profile type, choose Private. This profile will allow devices in your network to be discovered. This profile should also be selected if you need file sharing or use apps that communicate over this network.

The private profile is suitable for home, work places and network that are trusted.

network discovery in windows 11 profile

If you have other networks like Wi-Fi (if you’re connected to a wireless network) or Ethernet (if you’re connected to a network using a network cable), you can also set the profile type to be Private.

When you’re done, exit and network discovery should be enabled.

Turn on Public Folder Sharing in Windows 11

Use the steps below to setup file sharing.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done from its System Settings pane.

However, change account username is still done in the old Control Panel. To get to Control Panel, you can click on Start and start typing Control Panel as shown in the image below:

windows 11 control panel

In the Control Panel, select Network and Internet as highlighted in the image below.

windows 11 control panel network and internet

On the next pane, select Network and Sharing Center as highlighted below.

windows 11 network and sharing center

Next, select Change advanced sharing settings as highlighted below.

windows 11 change advanced sharing settings

In the Advanced sharing center, select the Private (current profile) and Turn on file and printer sharing.

windows 11 advanced sharing center 1

Save your changes and exit.

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.

windows turn off password protected sharing

Make your changes and save, then exit.

Turn on File Sharing from 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 11. If you find any error above, please use the form below to report.

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