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August 5, 2021

Typical Post-Upgrade Networking Checks and Repairs

There’s been a lot of Windows 10 upgrading going on around Chez Tittel lately. I’ve now upgraded 5 of my 6 former (and one current) 1909 PCs to 2004. My two Fast Ring Insider previews have also been through upgrades to versions 19640 and 19645 in the past two weeks. One more thing: I use the Remote Desktop Connection and its Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), to access most (if not all) of the other 9 PCs here from my production desktop. That’s why I’ve become initimately familiar with ways that networks can get weird in the wake of a Windows 10 upgrade. Let me explain things to check after an upgrade if RDP or other networking functions quit working. I’ve learned all these things through repeat exposure, so hopefully my now-ingrained fixes will also help others in the same boat.

Private Network Goes Public

Don’t ask me why this happens. I have no idea. But I’ve seen dozens of instances after a Windows 10 upgrade where Network Status changes from “Private” (which is what it should be, unless you’re using Wi-Fi in a public place like a coffee shop, airport, restaurant, and so forth). If you click Start → Settings → Network and Internet and see the words “Public network” underneath the symbol for your Internet connection (and you’re using a private network), this means you. Fortunately, this is really easy to fix. Click the “Properties” button under your active network connection and you’ll see the Network Profile radio buttons underneath that heading right up top. As shown in the following screencap, the Private radio button should be selected (again, assuming you’re on a private network).

Typical Post-Upgrade Networking Checks and Repairs.make-private

If it should be Private but says Public, click the Private radio button, please.

Only if the switch from Public to Private still doesn’t fix your issue(s) should you try the next settings changes. They’re only advisable on small, private networks where security comes as much from lack of easy access as anything else. If you have a wireless network and use these settings, you’ll want to turn MAC address filtering on in your Wireless Access Point(s) (WAPs) or in your router/wireless device if you’ve got a combo box (as so many of us do nowadays, including me). That means when legit visitors come calling to work on your network, you’ll have to temporarily add in their device’s MAC address (or give them a device to use that’s already allowed wireless or wired network access,  as is my own usual practice).

Loose Network Sharing Settings Get Tightened, and Must Be Re-Loosened

Again, please don’t ask me why these things happen. I don’t know in these cases, either. But I have observed over years of observation and experimentation that RDP (and other LAN access items) are most likely to work if the following settings under the Network and Sharing Center → Change advanced sharing settings are elected:

Guest or Public heading
Radio button for “Turn on network discovery” is selected
All Networks heading
Radio button for “Turn on sharing so anyone…” in Public folder sharing is selected
Radio button for “Enable file sharing for devices that use 40-…” in File sharing connections is selected
Radio button for “Turn off password protected sharing” in Password protected sharing is selected

WARNING! This is a classic case of trading convenience and improved ease of access and use against network security. Do NOT use these settings in a business or work environment, especially one where people can come in and connect their devices or PCs to your network without your knowledge and supervision. You’ve just opened the candy store to anyone who wants to take your candy. This is not a workable strategy except for access-controlled situations like home, home office and small business networks where only trusted users ever access the network. Even then, if you do this, you’ll want to sit with and watch anybody who might legitimately want to access your network to add devices (in my case, for example, that’s meant the Spectrum Cable TV tech and the ADT security tech, both of whom have added or swapped out devices on my network in the past 12 months). Watching what they do, and making sure it doesn’t compromise your network or its systems, is the only way to be sure there’s no bad behavior going on.

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

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