How To Fix Domain-Joined Windows Computer That Says It’s Connected to Private or Guest/Public Network

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Here is the fix if you run into a scenario where a domain-joined Windows server shows connected to a “Private networks” or “Guest or public networks” within Windows Firewall instead of “Domain networks”.

The fix is to restart the Network Location Awareness (NLA) service via Windows Services. The NLA service is supposed to figure out what type of network the computer is connected to but sometimes gets it wrong. Resetting it usually resolves the issue and it’ll correctly display as being connected to “Domain networks.” Fixes it immediately, doesn’t require a reboot and I’ve never seen it cause negative impact.

Why is being connected to the wrong network type an issue? I ran into a scenario where a customer’s IT person couldn’t RDP into their print server. I looked into Windows Firewall on the server and noticed that it says it’s connected to “Guest or public networks” and RDP was disabled in the firewall for that type of connection. I reset NLA service, it said connected to domain and the customer was then able to RDP in.

Jason

Jason works as a project specialist at an IT MSP in Pennsylvania, USA. He's an IT/security professional with 20 years experience.