This post shows students and new users how to find or view other computers on a network or Windows Workgroup or domain. Windows 11 allows you to quickly find devices and other computers on a network inside a shared workgroup.
A network is group of devices connected to the same domain or workgroup at home or office that can share things, such as your internet connection, file and folder resources, or a printer. When you’re home or at the office, Windows should be put in a private network. Outside of your home and business, make sure to use the public network profile in Windows 11.
In a Private network, devices on the same network can see each other and can also share files and printers. A private network is a trusted network and should be used at home or work.
In a Public network, devices can not see or communicate with each other, and should mostly be used on public networks like at the airport, coffee shops with public Wi-Fi hotspots.
One thing to remember is you can only find devices or computers connected to the same network switch or router, and have file sharing and network discovery enabled. We’ll show you how to do that below.
To get started with seeing other computers on your network in Windows 11, follow the steps below.
How to enable private network in Windows 11
Based on your network profile, Windows 11 will determine whether you can see other computers on your network or deny access to them. If you’re at home or in a business environment, you can switch Windows 11 network profile to Private.
Doing that will allow you to see other computers, and the steps below show you how to do that.
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 the 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:
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, and select Wi-Fi or Ethernet on the right pane of your screen shown in the image below.
Each adapter can be set to either public or private. Click either Wi-Fi or Ethernet (Wired), then select a profile which fits it.
The default is Public (Recommended). As we mentioned above, Public profile is suitable at public spaces and not intended at home or work.
Select Private profile for your home and business network.
The profile you select for the adapter will automatically go into effect. In some cases, you’ll have to reboot for the settings to fully apply.
Do the same for the Wi-Fi connection if you want to configure that as well. When you’re done, exit the setting pane.
How to enable file sharing and network discovery in Windows 11
File sharing and network discovery must be enabled in order to view other computers. You can do that using the steps 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.
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:
In the Control Panel, select Network and Internet as highlighted in the image below.
On the next pane, select Network and Sharing Center as highlighted below.
Next, select Change advanced sharing settings as highlighted below.
In the Advanced sharing center, select the Private (current profile) and Turn on file and printer sharing.
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.
Make your changes and save, then exit.
Turn on file sharing and network discovery 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.
How to view other computers in Windows 11
Now that your computer is in set up with Private network profile, and file sharing and network discovery are enabled, go to File Explorer and click the Network link on the left menu as highlighted below.
You should then see other computers that are connected to your network.
That should do it!
A commenter mentioned below to enable SMB 1.0 / CIFS File Sharing support in the Control Panel, under Programs and Features ==> Turn Windows features on or off.
Below is how to enable additional features in Windows 11.
This post showed you how to find other computers in Windows 11. If you find any error above, please use the form below to report.