How to Enable Network Discovery via Group Policy?
How to Enable/Disable Network Discovery via Group Policy in Windows Server and Windows 10
The network discovery is a network setting that enables network computers name to be discoverable from the network. It works like a Bluetooth system. When you enable it, your device will be found by another device. Enable network discovery via group policy is the best option to enable network discovery for all network machines through Windows server.
The same task works to disable network discovery on all network clients with group policy. In this post, I apply this policy to enable network discovery via group policy using Windows Server 2016 on Windows 10 clients.
What is Network Discovery?
Before you start to apply network discovery policy to your network clients, you should know a bit about network discovery features and settings. On all Windows system the three network discovery states are:
On: This state allows your computer to see other network computers and devices and allows people on other network computers to see your computer. This makes it easier to share files and printers.
Off: This state prevents your computer from seeing other network computers and devices and prevents people on other network computers from seeing your computer.
Custom: This is a mixed state in which some settings related to network discovery are enabled, but not all of them. For example, network discovery could be turned on, but you or your system administrator might have changed firewall settings that affect network discovery.
Network discovery requires that the DNS Client, Function Discovery Resource Publication, SSDP Discovery, and UPnP Device Host services are started, that network discovery is allowed to communicate through Windows Firewall, and that other firewalls are not interfering with network discovery. If some but not all of these are true, the network discovery state will be shown as Custom.
How to Enable Network Discovery via Group Policy?
Let’s configure and enable network discovery via group policy on Windows server 2016. This method works the same on all other Windows servers. In my testing lab, the server is Windows server 2016 and client machines are Windows 10.
1. While you are log on Windows server, type “gpmc.msc” on Run and press enter to open Group Policy Management.
2. Try to expand Forest – Domains and right click on technig.local then click Create a GPO in this domain and link to here. It will create a new GPO and linked to technig.local domain.
3. Name the new GPO Network Discovery or whatever you want. It’s better to name all the new GPO you have created with a meaningful name and must be related to the tasks you want to apply via group policy template.
4. Right-click the created Network Discovery GPO and click Edit. Now you are going to edit this group policy template to enable network discovery via group policy.
5. On Computer Configuration, expand Policy – Administrative Templates – Network and select Link-Layer Topology Discovery. Right-click the first policy “Turn on Mapper I/O (LLTDIO) driver” enable it. Tick the checkbox of Allow operation while in domain.
Note: LLTDIO allows a computer to discover the topology of a network it’s connected to. It also allows a computer to initiate Quality-of-Service requests such as bandwidth estimation and network health analysis.
6. Now enable Turn on Responder (RSPNDR) driver also. Do the same settings for Turn on Responder (RSPNDR) driver as above screenshot.
Note: The Responder allows a computer to participate in Link Layer Topology Discovery requests so that it can be discovered and located on the network. It also allows a computer to participate in Quality-of-Service activities such as bandwidth estimation and network health analysis. It enables Network Discovery via group policy.
7. Network Discovery enabled via group policy. Now type “gpupdate /force” to update the group policy on Windows Server. Execute the command on the client computer as well or it will apply automatically when the system restart.
Everything is done successfully on the Windows server. It’s nothing to do more, just go to test on a client machine to make sure that work fine.
Enable Network Discovery via Windows Firewall
It is the second method to turn on network discovery via Windows Firewall. It’s also must be applied through group policy. So we already have a created GPO and try to edit it for enabling network discovery via Windows Firewall.
1. Open the previews created GPO and edit it with the following steps. Navigate to Computer Configuration – Windows Settings – Security Settings – Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.
2. Now try to create a rule from Inbound Rules. Select Inbound Rules and right click to create a New Rules.
3. So on the new New Inbound Rules Wizard page, select Predefined and choose Network Discovery.
4. On the Predefined Rules window, do nothing and click Next. These rules are predefined rules for network discovery and network monitoring, network troubleshooting.
5. Finally, select Allow the connections and click Finish. The network discovery rules must be enabled successfully.
6. The result should be like below screenshot. Next, you can disable network discovery with Windows firewall from here. And disable network discovery via preview section.
7. Close Group Policy Management Editor page and run “gpupdate /force” command again to update the group policy.
Turn on Network Discovery on Windows 10
Let’s check the result of enabling network discovery via group policy on a Windows 10 client machine.
1. Open Network from Windows 10 desktop. Bring Windows 10 desktop icons on the desktop, if you already don’t have them.
Here you see, the network discovery is turned off and the network computers are not showing from Network.
2. Open the command prompt and run “gpudpate /force” command to update group policy on Windows 10.
Now the network discovery has been enabled successfully on your all network servers and client machines. Try to work with group policy and get to learn more about setting and options. If you have any question, don’t hesitate and ask us via comment.
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