How do I change my network location from Public to Home in Win7?

On my server I am running Win 7 Pro 64-bit (SP1) with a wired Ethernet connection to my router.

I have several other networked devices in my network including wired and wireless devices,  Win 7 PCs, a Win XP PC, and some other devices such as network backup, and media center.  I am having problems with devices seeing each other (especially my server) and sharing resources (files and printing).

On my server I am able to connect to the internet through my wired connection.  However, in "Network and Sharing Center" under active networks I see "You are currently not connected to any networks."  The link to "Connect to a network" shows that I have no networks to connect to.   When I try to connect to my homegroup or to create a homegroup, I am told "To create or join a homegroup, your computer's network location must be set to Home."  Mine is set to public and I cannot change this as to make this change requires me to click on the Home/Work/Public icon/link in my active network and I do not have any active (or inactive) network.  Therefore there is no link to allow me to get to the "Change Network Location" dialog box.

I have tried trouble shooting the network (no problems found) and the Homegroup troubleshoot (no problems found).

I have considered doing a Win 7 Repair Install to fix whatever network configuation problems I am unable to access.  However, my original disk is an OEM Windows 7 Pro 64-bit without SP1.  Now that my machine has been on SP1 for about a year, it will not allow me to do a Repair Install and the version on my machine is newer (greater) than what is on the installation disk.  Also I considered un-installing SP1 but that also failed.  Some error message about missing files. I even tried the Command Line un-install of SP1 and that also failed.

What can I do to fix this short of a complete wipe of the disk drive and a clean install?

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UPDATE: Feb. 13, 2015  -  Finally Fixed!

The post on Jan 28, 2015 by BennyPootron led me to the solution.

In RegEdit, at "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Profiles"  I deleted all the profiles under this (I had three). 

Also, at "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Signatures\Unmanaged" were three corresponding items which I also deleted.  This cleaned the slate, so to speak, and when I rebooted, I was able to change my network location to Home and then join my Home Group.

Many thanks to BennyPootron for the insight that led to my solution.

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Answer
Answer

I don't know if this applies to Windows 7, but it does work in Windows 8 and Windows 10.

1) Open "RegEdit"

2) Go to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Profiles"

3) Locate the Network Location

4) Change the DWORD Value "Category" to 1

If this doesn't work, delete the key of the network, restart your computer, and repeat.  It should work after that.

Not exactly the answer, but this led to the solution.  FINALLY FIXED!!   Here's how:

In RegEdit, at "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Profiles"  I had three profiles with names such as {4A3BFF36-4EA6-4415-AA5F-46CE449C95AB}.  I tried several things including changing the DWORD value of the item "Category" to 1 in all three of these profiles.  That did NOT work.

However, I eventually deleted all three of the Profiles. 

Also, at "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\NetworkList\Signatures\Unmanaged" were three corresponding items which I also deleted.  This cleaned the slate, so to speak.

THIS WORKED!

When I re-booted, I was able to change my network from Public to Private and it walked me through the process of joining an existing Home Group established by another computer in our household.

Finally nearly 3 years after my original post, I have the problem fixed.

Many thanks to BennyPootron for the insight to a solution.

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Last updated March 11, 2021 Views 109,344 Applies to: