How to Turn On Network Discovery: A Step-by-Step Guide


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Network discovery is a feature in Windows that allows your computer to find other devices and be found by other devices on the same network. This is particularly useful for sharing files, printers, and other resources. Enabling network discovery is a straightforward process, but it’s important to understand the steps involved to ensure a smooth experience. This article will guide you through turning on network discovery in Windows, ensuring that your network devices can communicate effectively.

What is Network Discovery?

Network discovery is a network setting that affects whether your computer can see (and be seen by) other computers and devices on the network. When network discovery is turned on, you can see other devices and they can see your device, making it easier to share files and printers. If network discovery is turned off, your computer is hidden from other devices, which can be a security measure but may limit functionality.

Why Enable Network Discovery?

Enabling network discovery has several benefits:

  • Ease of Access: Quickly access shared files and printers on other networked devices.
  • Efficient Resource Sharing: Share resources like printers and scanners across the network without needing to physically connect them to each device.
  • Simplified Networking: Facilitate easier setup of home or office networks, allowing devices to communicate seamlessly.

Steps to Turn On Network Discovery in Windows

Follow these steps to enable network discovery on your Windows computer:

1. Open the Control Panel
  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard or click the Start button.
  2. Type “Control Panel” and press Enter.
  3. Click on the Control Panel app from the search results.
2. Navigate to Network and Sharing Center
  1. In the Control Panel, select Network and Internet.
  2. Click on Network and Sharing Center.
3. Access Advanced Sharing Settings
  1. In the Network and Sharing Center, look for the option that says Change advanced sharing settings on the left-hand side and click it.
  2. This will open a new window with various network sharing options.
4. Enable Network Discovery
  1. In the Advanced Sharing Settings window, you will see different network profiles: Private, Guest or Public, and All Networks.
  2. Expand the Private profile by clicking the downward arrow next to it.
  3. Under the Network discovery section, select Turn on network discovery.
  4. Check the box that says Turn on automatic setup of network-connected devices.
  5. Repeat the same steps for the Guest or Public profile if you want network discovery enabled for those networks as well.
5. Save Changes
  1. After selecting the appropriate options, click the Save changes button at the bottom of the window.
  2. You may be prompted to enter your administrator password or confirm your selection.

Troubleshooting Network Discovery Issues

Sometimes, network discovery may not work as expected. Here are some common troubleshooting steps:

1. Check Network Services
  1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Type “services.msc” and press Enter.
  3. In the Services window, ensure that the following services are running:
  • Function Discovery Resource Publication
  • SSDP Discovery
  • UPnP Device Host
  1. If any of these services are not running, right-click on the service and select Start.
2. Verify Network Type

Ensure that your network is set to Private. To check this:

  1. Click on the network icon in the system tray.
  2. Select your network connection and ensure it is set to Private. If it is set to Public, click on it and change the network profile to Private.
3. Firewall Settings
  1. Open the Control Panel and select System and Security.
  2. Click on Windows Defender Firewall.
  3. Select Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall.
  4. Ensure that Network Discovery is allowed for both Private and Public networks.


Turning on network discovery in Windows is a simple process that can greatly enhance your ability to share resources and communicate with other devices on your network. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can enable network discovery and troubleshoot any potential issues that may arise. Whether you are setting up a home network or managing devices in an office, network discovery is a valuable feature that simplifies the networking experience.


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