A wireless network is easy to connect to but like any other network, it doesn’t offer an isolated environment to each system that is connected to it. Instead, all devices, regardless of their type are visible to others on the network.
If you’re connected to a private network e.g., a network at home or at work, it is generally safe. Users that try to access your system over the network will be known users who likely have access to it. A malicious attack is less likely.
If you’re on a public network though, you may want to keep your system hidden to be extra safe.
Hide a computer from network
A computer can be hidden from any type of network, public or private. The method detailed below will work for both types of networks. Hiding a system from a network will offer it some protection but this should not be the only method you use to keep your system safe.
Turn off network discovery
The trick to hiding a Windows 10 system from a network is to turn off network discovery.
- Open Control Panel.
- Go to Network and Internet.
- Click Network and sharing center.
- Click Advanced sharing settings in the column on the left.
- Under Network Discovery, enable the “Turn off network discovery” option.
- Click Save Changes.
- Your computer will be hidden from the network.
Network visibility settings
An important thing to know about network visibility settings is that they are network specific. If you hide your system on a work network, it will be hidden only on that network. If you later connect the same system to a home network, you will have to disable network discovery again.
When you join a new network, Windows 10 asks if you want to be visible to others on the network. If you see this prompt, choose to keep yourself hidden and it will turn network discovery for that system off.
By disabling network discovery, you will be unable to interact with other systems on the network even if they have network discovery enabled. You will also be unable to interact with network devices like printers, media centers, or network drives.
Turning network discovery off hides your system from other systems but you are still part of a network and you’re connected to it via a router. Anyone that can access the router’s admin panel can see your system and its MAC address, among other things. The router’s admin panel won’t allow anyone to access files on the computer.