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How to Enable Network Discovery via Group Policy?

Posted in Servers2 years ago • Written by Shais1 Comment

The network discovery is a network setting that enable network computers name to be discover-able from network. It’s work like Bluetooth system. When you enable it, your device will be find by another devices. 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’m 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 ForestDomains 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.

Windows Server 2016 Group Policy Management

Windows Server 2016 Group Policy Management

3. Name the new GPO Network Discovery or whatever you want. It’s better to name all the new GPO you have create with meaningful name and must be related to the tasks you want to apply via group policy template.

Enable Network Discovery via Group Policy

Enable Network Discovery via Group Policy

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.

Link-Layer Topology Discovery

Link-Layer Topology Discovery

5. On Computer Configuration, expand PolicyAdministrative TemplatesNetwork and select Link-Layer Topology Discovery. Right click the first policy “Turn on Mapper I/O (LLTDIO) driver” enable it. Tick the check box of Allow operation while in domain.

Enable Turn on Mapper I/O (LLTDIO) driver

Enable Turn on Mapper I/O (LLTDIO) driver

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 enable 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 client computer as well or it will apply automatically when system restart.

Update Group Policy to Enable Network Discovery via Group Policy

Update Group Policy to Enable Network Discovery via Group Policy

Everything done successfully on 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 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 ConfigurationWindows SettingsSecurity SettingsWindows Firewall with Advanced Security.

Enable Network Discovery via Windows Firewall

Enable Network Discovery via Windows Firewall

2. Now try to create a rule from Inbound Rules. Select Inbound Rules and right click to create a New Rules.

Turn on Network Discovery via Windows Firewall

Turn on Network Discovery via Windows Firewall

3. So on the new New Inbound Rules Wizard page, select Predefined and choose Network Discovery.

Windows Firewall - Network Discovery Rules

Windows Firewall – Network Discovery Rules

4. On the Predefined Rules window do noting and click Next. These rules are predefined rules for network discovery and network monitoring, network troubleshooting.

Network Discovery Predefined Rules

Network Discovery Predefined Rules

5. Finally select Allow the connections and click Finish. The network discovery rules must be enabled successfully.

Network Discovery - Allow the Connections

Network Discovery – Allow the Connections

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.

Network Discovery Firewall Rules Created

Network Discovery Firewall Rules Created

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

Le’t 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.

Turn On Network Discovery

Turn On Network Discovery

Here you see, the network discovery is turned off and the network computers are not showing from Network.

2. Open 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 through comment.


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About this Author
Shais

I'm a network and Information Security instructor. Here is my online pictorial notebook. I would like to write and share my experience through this website for computer enthusiasts and technology geeks.

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1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. DMay 12, 2017 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    For Gods sake turn off the image that gets bigger and smaller, the whole page moves up and down while your trying to read it!

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