Network discovery is a feature that allows your computer to be found in the network. This is a required features for using file sharing and connecting printers in the network. The network could be a private one used for connecting computers from the same network like your home or office. Or it could be a public network that anyone can find your computer for sharing content. In this article, we will explain how to enable network discovery in Windows PC for allowing file sharing and other features.
Check Network Discovery
To find whether network discovery is enabled or disabled on your PC, press “Win + E” shortcut keys and open File Explorer app. The app will show multiple folders in the sidebar and click on “Network” option showing at the bottom. If network discovery is disabled, you will see an error message as shown below. The warning message will say that network discovery is turned off due to which the network computers are not visible in File Explorer. It will also ask you to turn on network discovery in Network and Sharing Center.
Turn on Network Discovery in Windows 11 from File Explorer
When you see the warning in File Explorer, click on “OK” button and close the dialog box. Now, you will see a notification showing below the address bar mentioning the same warning that network discovery is turned off. However, this time you will have an option to change the settings.
Click on the notification message and select “Turn on network discovery and file sharing” option.
This will remove the warning and show your computer name and other shared computers in the network.
Sometimes you will see an additional prompt asking you to enable network discovery for private or public network. Make sure to select “No, make the network that I am connected to a private network” option to enable network discovery for private profile.
Enable Network Discovery from Control Panel
If you are not able to turn the network discovery on from File Explorer, then you can go to the original settings in Control Panel and enable the option.
- Click Windows Search icon in the taskbar and type “control panel”.
- Find Control Panel desktop app from the results and open the app.
- When you are in Control Panel app, click on “Network and Internet” link.
- On the next screen, click on “Network and Sharing Center” link.
- When you are in Network and Sharing Center, you will see many links in the left sidebar. Click on “Change advanced sharing settings” option.
- Finally, you will see advanced settings section showing multiple profile sections for Private, Guest and All Networks. Click on “Private (current profile)” option to expand its settings. Enable “Turn on network discovery” radio button under “Network discovery” section. Also make sure to enable “Turn on automatic setup of network connected devices”. This will allow you to view the available devices under “Network” section of File Explorer app.
Under “File and printer sharing” option, turn on file and printer sharing if you want to share files and folders from your PC to other devices like Mac.
Connecting Computers in Private Network
Private profile allows you to view other computers connected to the same network. Similarly, your computer name will be visible to other computers on the same network. When someone tries to connect your computer from the network, they need to provide the user account and password of your PC. Otherwise, the access to your computer will be denied. So, this is the safe option for home or office networks and you can setup read or write permissions while sharing the files/folders.
If you required, you can also enable network discovery for guest profile and public folder sharing for all networks. However, we strongly recommend you to turn off these settings to avoid unauthorized access to your computer without your knowledge.