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What is Network Discovery and How Can You Turn it On for Windows Devices?

In today's interconnected world, network discovery plays a crucial role in facilitating communication and file sharing between devices within a local network. It allows computers and other devices to identify and locate each other, making it easier to collaborate and share resources. In this article, we will explore what network discovery is, how it works, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to turn it on for Windows devices.

How Does Network Discovery Work?

Network discovery relies on protocols and technologies such as UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) and SSDP (Simple Service Discovery Protocol). When network discovery is enabled, devices on the same network can communicate with each other, exchange information, and share resources seamlessly. This includes accessing shared folders, printers, and media files.

How to Turn on Network Discovery on Windows 10 and Windows 11:

There are multiple methods to enable network discovery on Windows devices, including using network profile settings, control panel settings, advanced network settings, and the command prompt. Let's explore each method:

How to Turn on Network Discovery Using Network Profile Settings:

  • Open the Start menu and navigate to the "Settings" app.

  • Click on "Network & Internet" and select "Ethernet" or "Wi-Fi" depending on your network connection.

  • Scroll down and click on "Network and Sharing Center."

  • Under "Private network," click on "Change advanced sharing settings."

  • In the "Network discovery" section, select "Turn on network discovery."

  • Save the changes and exit the settings.

How to Turn on Network Discovery Using Control Panel Settings:

  • Open the Start menu and search for "Control Panel."

  • Open the Control Panel and navigate to "Network and Internet" followed by "Network and Sharing Center."

  • Click on "Change advanced sharing settings" on the left-hand side.

  • Under the "Network discovery" section, select "Turn on network discovery."

  • Save the changes and exit the control panel.

How to Turn on Network Discovery Using Advanced Network Settings:

  • Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box.

  • Type "control" and hit Enter to open the Control Panel.

  • Navigate to "Network and Internet" and select "Network and Sharing Center."

  • Click on "Change adapter settings" on the left-hand side.

  • Right-click on your network connection and choose "Properties."

  • Scroll down and check the "File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks" option.

  • Click "OK" to save the changes.

How to Activate Network Discovery Using Command Prompt:

  • Press the Windows key + X and select "Command Prompt (Admin)" or "Windows PowerShell (Admin)."

  • Type the following command: netsh advfirewall firewall set rule group="Network Discovery" new enable=Yes.

  • Press Enter to execute the command.

  • Close the command prompt window.

How to Turn Off Network Discovery:

If you wish to disable network discovery, follow the steps below:

  • Navigate to the network discovery settings using any of the methods mentioned above.

  • Select "Turn off network discovery" instead of "Turn on network discovery."

  • Save the changes and exit the settings.

Why Network Discovery is Not Working:

If network discovery is not functioning as expected, consider the following troubleshooting steps:

  • Ensure that the devices are connected to the same network.

  • Verify that network discovery is enabled on all devices.

  • Check for any firewall or antivirus software blocking network discovery.

  • Update the network drivers on your Windows device.

  • Restart your router or access point if necessary.

How to Stay Safe When Network Discovery is On:

While network discovery enhances collaboration, it's essential to prioritize security. Here are a few safety tips:

  • Enable password protection for shared folders and printers.

  • Regularly update and patch your operating system.

  • Use strong and unique passwords for your devices.

  • Enable a reliable firewall and keep it updated.

  • Be cautious when allowing access to your network and only connect to trusted devices.


Network discovery simplifies communication and resource sharing between devices on a local network. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily turn on network discovery on your Windows 10 or Windows 11 device. However, it's crucial to balance convenience with security by implementing best practices to stay safe while network discovery is enabled.

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