Changing the Network Location in Windows 8.1

Solution up-front:

  1. Navigate to the Desktop (not the Start menu).
  2. Use the keyboard combination Windows (between Ctrl and Alt on most keyboards) + R.
    1. This opens a command prompt.  You can also enter “cmd.exe” in the Search field from the Start menu and you will find it.
  3. Within the command prompt, type “secpol.msc” and hit Enter.
    1. This automatically starts the Microsoft Management Console and loads the file you just executed; a Microsoft Management Console Snapin Control file which provides administrative control over the system’s Local Security Policy (a set of Windows management controls exerted over the operating system).
    2. This is ridiculous, eh?
  4. Select (left-click) “Network List Manager Policies” from the left.
  5. Right-click the name of your network on the right and choose “Properties.”
  6. Select the “Network Location” tab from the top.
  7. Choose “Private” and Apply the settings.


I find that I can no longer simply navigate to the Network and Sharing Center (damn you, search feature) and change the Network Location (it’s simply plain text rather than a link to modify the setting).  Instead, I find I have to open up secpol.msc (damn you, search feature) and modify “Network List Manager Policies.”  Only from within here, a location unheard of by 90% of the user base, I’m sure, it seems can I change the location policy (right-click the network and select “Properties” –>  Navigate to the “Network Location” tab –> Choose “Private”).

You know, I’m no Microsoft hater.  I think they do a lot of great things for the global IT community and I think they’ve done perhaps more than any other company when it comes to trustworthy computing and security for end users.  They are battling an incessant barrage of malice, the likes of which are seldom seen by other organizations, and they create solid, professional, feature rich systems which work coherently to build incredible enterprise architectures.  Their certification program is immensely respectable despite, again, the barrage of malice (this time in the form of cheating rather than hacking).  Their documentation is not perfect, but certainly industry-leading, and if you study hard the materials to which they direct you, it’ll blow your mind.  Some of the most valuable hours of my career have been spent in pursuit of MCITP certifications, and it has given me an extreme advantage when working with Linux in modern enterprises, for you will almost certainly need to integrate the two.

In fact, the dogmatism that separates the Linux and Microsoft worlds almost always arises out of an arrogant resistance to the unknown.  Education brings the wise to the middle way, an infinite path along which nothing is rejected.

Suffice it to say that I think it’s a good damn thing Microsoft exists.  I also think it’s a good damn thing UNIX and Linux exist.  EVEN Apple is probably a good thing in the long run…probably.

That said, I still can’t believe how horribly Microsoft seems to have stumbled with Windows 8.  You’d think they would have learned many lessons from Windows Vista, and the myriad irritating failures with Windows 8 should be obvious to any learned IT professional who spends time with the system.  The nature of these failures seems to cause me to hypothesize that they succumbed to marketing pressure and followed the empty suits at the top to failure. Windows RT, for example, seems a poorly thought-out stab at a market sector rather than an honest technical offering.  If they would just stick to their technical superiority and stop crawling into every hole they find in pursuit of market share, neither innovation nor opportunity would be short in stock, and they would further instill their dominance in large-scale technical solutions.  As it is now, free software is gaining on them (though still far behind), and they would be wise to focus their efforts.

Anyway, I digress.

(One more thing:  the touch interface and the live tiles are fine ideas, but to force the user to adopt a new desktop environment when that of Windows 7 could have been completely replicated with seemingly few modifications, I just don’t get it.  If their new interface is so vastly superior to the old, customers will naturally gravitate towards it; it need not be forced upon them.  Doing so will only alienate veteran users such as myself who now curse the search feature every time they attempt to open applications by simply typing their names and pressing the Enter key.  Where Windows 7 would quickly and reliably launch the application or utility being sought, Windows 8 takes a huge step back and often dumps the user to a search results screen or, worse, Bing.  Yes, I wanted to search the Internet for “secpol.msc.”  Thanks, Bing.)

That is lame.

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