Should wireless be public or private?

Skyzoomer

Member
I just got my Vista 64bit laptop working wireless with my WinXP desktop through a Belkin router. I can transfer files using either PC and can print from the laptop on the two printers connected to the desktop. IOW, I can do everything I need so far.

When I open Vista's Network and Sharing Center on the laptop, I see the SSID name that I'm connected to, with "Public network" next to it. Is there any reason I should change it to Private? Either way, could someone please explain the pros and cons of having it set to public or private?

PS: I'll be trying to use the laptop from a hotel room in Vegas for the first time at the end of this month. Not sure yet if room provides wired or wireless access.

Thanks,
Skyzoomer (total novice when it comes to networking and especially wireless networking)
 

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K1K1D33

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Skyzoomer

Member
hello:

---here is our forum tutorial page info--->http://www.vistax64.com/tutorials/126388-file-sharing-turn-off.html?nojs=1#links---

---please post your results---thank you---

peace
Hi kikidee,

The link you provided says:

If your network location type is set to Private (Home or Work), then file sharing is turned on by default.

If your network location type is set to Public, then file sharing is turned off by default.

This doesn't seem to be the case for my setup. In Vista's Network and Sharing Center, my wireless connection is set to "Public". Yet I can share files and folders without any problems. File sharing does not appear to be turned off by default.
 

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Barman58

Staff member
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Hello Skyzoomer,

Although the system is set-up with predefined network modes Public, Private, and Domain (work), which initially set up things a certain way, these defaults may be overridden, either by the user or by software, although you should recieve a prompt to confirm changing the set-up.

The Private zone is designed for areas where you know the users of the other computers on the network and trust them enough to share files with them.

The public zone is designed for places such as hotels and internet cafe hotspots where you will not normally wish to allow anyone access to your files.

The Domain (work) zone is a special form of private network for use with managed business networks.

I would advise that you re-build your network at home as a private network and when you get to the hotel network you set up a network as a public type with all sharing switched off
 

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Skyzoomer

Member
Hello Skyzoomer,
I would advise that you re-build your network at home as a private network and when you get to the hotel network you set up a network as a public type with all sharing switched off
Hi barman58,
To do what you said, are these the correct steps?

1. I'm logged on to my home network via wireless. Say the SSID is "My Network".

2. In Vista's Network and Sharing Center I see:
My Network (Public network)............. Customize <=(I'm connected to "My Network")

3. I click Customize and can then change the Location Type from Public to Private.
However in the "Help me choose" help dialog, it says:

"Warning - Choosing 'Private' permanently changes the firewall configuration to allow communication. This can be a security risk."

I'm concerned about the word "permanently". Does this mean once I select Private that I can never change the firewall back to public mode?

Thanks,
Skyzoomer
 

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Barman58

Staff member
Vista Guru
Gold Member
Hi Skyzoomer,

Nothing to worry about there you can change the settings for the Zones or change the zone that a network is assigned to as often as you need. I often think Microsoft can be a little over dramatic with their choice of words for messages :)

What I would do is before you actually change the zone type is to switch off the sharing for the public zone. Am not on Vista at the moment to check the actual steps needed but there may be a "defaults" option or you can simply change the actual sharing settings for the network.

The thing to watch for when you get to your public location (hotel) is that when you set up the public network that sharing is switched off

There is a good article on file sharing on Vista here ...

File and Printer Sharing in Windows Vista

You may want to have a read if you have the time
 

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Skyzoomer

Member
Hi Skyzoomer,

Nothing to worry about there you can change the settings for the Zones or change the zone that a network is assigned to as often as you need. I often think Microsoft can be a little over dramatic with their choice of words for messages :)

What I would do is before you actually change the zone type is to switch off the sharing for the public zone. Am not on Vista at the moment to check the actual steps needed but there may be a "defaults" option or you can simply change the actual sharing settings for the network.

The thing to watch for when you get to your public location (hotel) is that when you set up the public network that sharing is switched off

There is a good article on file sharing on Vista here ...

File and Printer Sharing in Windows Vista

You may want to have a read if you have the time
Hi Barman58,

Thanks for the confirmation regarding the "permanent" false alarm..:)

And thanks for the "File and Printer Sharing in Windows Vista" link. I remember seeing that link early on when I was trying to setup my network but now that I understand more, it makes more sense. Thanks for bringing it back up.

I understand more now what Kikidee was driving at when he/she posted the link about turning file sharing on and off.

I think I'll be able to figure this thing out now. Thanks to all for your help!
Skyzoomer
 

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