Apr 6, 2016

Windows 10 Network Settings

Microsoft has made many major changes to the GUI of Windows in the past couple of releases. This includes the network settings and connection details as well. This post will show you how to access many of the common network settings and features in Windows 10. You’ll find them mixed between the good old Network and Sharing Center and the new Settings app.


 

Viewing the Connection Details

In Windows 8 and earlier, you could quickly get to the network and connection properties by right-clicking the name from the network list. However, starting with Windows 8.1, you can’t right-click networks on the list. In Windows 10, you can click the Network settings link near the bottom and then on the Settings app, click Advanced options. Here you can view the Properties of the current connection and optionally click Copy so you can then paste/save the details elsewhere.

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Figure A: This is an example of the native network list in Windows 10, accessible from the icon in the system tray.

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Figure B: These are some network settings and properties in the Settings app.

For further details, such as the connection speed and default gateway IP address, or to edit the properties like a static IP or changing the Wi-Fi security, you can still access the traditional connection status window: right-click the network icon in the system tray, select Open Network and Sharing Center, and then select the connection name in the upper-right area of the window.

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Figure C: The familiar network connection status window is still in Windows 10.

 

Changing the Network Location

Windows 10 still utilizes the network locations, such as private and public, to automatically disable/enable sharing of your files and to toggle other firewall settings. However, changing which location type a network is assigned to isn’t as apparent as earlier versions of Windows. Before you could open the Network and Sharing Center and click the location name to change it.

On the Advanced options page of the Settings app, you can enable Make this PC discoverable to classify the current connection as a private network or disable for a public network. This is shown in Figure C. After making a change, you’ll see the location type change in the Network and Sharing Center.

Keep in mind, another way to change a connection from public to private is to browse the network. If the connection is currently set as public, you’ll get a prompt saying network discovery and file sharing are turned off. You can then click that prompt to enable sharing by making the current connection private or enable network discovery and file sharing for all connections classified as public. Most likely, you don’t want to ever choose the latter option.

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Figure D: This shows the prompts you’ll see when browsing the Network when the connection is classified as Public.

 

Viewing Details for Networks via the GUI

In Windows 7 and earlier you could always manage the wireless network profiles via the GUI in the Network and Sharing center. You could prioritize the networks, add/remove networks, and also open the profiles to view/change the security, password, and connection properties. However, now Windows automatically prioritizes your networks based upon your usage and other parameters. Additionally, you can only view/edit the full network profile via the GUI for your current connection.

On the network list in Windows 10, you can select a Wi-Fi network within range to enable/disable the Connect Automatically setting. On the Advanced options page of the Settings app, you’ll find the two only options you have for other known networks that are out-of-range (and those within range too). Once you select a network, you can either share it or forget it.

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Figure E: This is where you can share or forget networks you’ve previously connected to.

Selecting Share utilizes the new Wi-Fi Sense feature to share the password for that particular network among the contacts for the services selected. However, you must first re-enter the password in order to complete the share. Selecting Forget will delete the network from the list and profile from Windows, thus Windows can’t connect to the network again until you re-enter the password.

 

Managing Other Networks via the CLI

You can still manage all the settings of saved wireless network profiles in Windows 10 as you could in Windows 7 and earlier, but you must do so via the CLI. Open a PowerShell or Command Prompt window and refer to the commands below to get started. Ensure you replace the UPPERCASE parameter with your desired selection. For instance, you should replace PROFILENAME with the desired network name that can be found with the first command and replace FILENAME with the full path to the desired file, such as C:\Users\User\Desktop.

Show all the saved wireless profiles on the PC:
netsh wlan show profiles
Disable automatic connections to a particular network:
netsh wlan set profileparameter name=”PROFILENAME” connectionmode=manual
View the settings of a particular network along with the security details and password:
netsh wlan show profile name=“PROFILENAME” key=clear
Delete a saved network profile, which is the same as forgetting it via the GUI:
netsh wlan delete profile name="PROFILENAME "
Export a saved network profile, allowing you to make changes and so you can import onto other computers:
netsh lan export profile folder=FILENAME interface="INTERFACENAME"
Import a previously exported network profile, which can include changes:
netsh lan add profile filename="FILENAME.xml" interface="INTERFACENAME"

 

Connecting to a VPN

In Windows 8 and earlier, there was a wizard that helped you configure the native VPN client with a VPN server. However, in Windows 10 you must use the new Setting app to configure VPN connections. You can click the Network settings link near the bottom of the network list and then on the Settings app, click the VPN tab on the left.



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Figure F: This shows the VPN screen of the Settings app, where you can manage VPN connections.

 

Summary

We looked at various network-related settings in Windows 10, some of those with new locations when compared with prior Windows releases and some brand new settings/features introduced with Windows 10. Remember, although there are some network details now shown in the Settings app, you can still access the familiar network connection status window.

You’ve seen that Microsoft has started to move some of the settings and functionality of the Network and Sharing Center to the Settings app. This includes network location, which is now manageable on the Advanced options page in the Network & Internet section of the Settings app. Additionally, they’ve removed the ability to manage the wireless network profiles in the Network and Sharing Center and only give the option to share or forget known networks in the Settings app. Further details and changes, however, can still be made to profiles via the CLI.

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