11 May, 2013

Change Network Locations in Windows 7 / Windows Server 2008 R2


I came across this issue several times and each time I see this, I can’t remember quiet well what to do... So I decided to document my procedure.
Problem:

With Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 editions, you have the “Network Locations” options. Basically, whenever your computer connects to a new network Windows is asking you if you are connected to a “Home” network, “Work” network or a “Public” network. Based on your choice Windows sets its firewall settings automatically. This feature is really clever as you don’t want your firewall to be open to everyone while you are connected to Starbuck’s “Public” network and you absolutely don’t want your file sharing to be blocked while you are at home (Home) network.  If you ever made a mistake choosing your network location, you can always go back to “Network and Sharing Center” from “Control Panel” and click on the link that defines the actual network location.  Now the problem is, sometimes this option is grayed out or the option is disabled and you can’t change your network locations...


Solution:

The easiest way to solve this problem is to remove you network card from your computer and reinstall it. If you are working with a virtual machine, you should follow this option and you will be asked for a new network location as soon as your network adapter is reinstalled.

If you are working with a physical machine and removing the NIC is not an option for you, you can follow these steps;

1-      Hit the “Windows + R” button to bring the “Run” window and type in “gpedit.msc”

2-      Browse to “Computer configuration, Windows Settings, Security settings, Network List Manager Policies”

3-      On the right pane, double click on “All Networks” and choose “User can change location” under “Network Location” section.

4-      Click on “OK” on all windows and restart your machine.