Network Settings

Windows 10: Network & Internet settings explained

The Network & Internet section in the Settings app allows you to configure and manage Wi-Fi, airplane mode, VPN, mobile hotspot, and more — Here's everything explained.

Windows 10 Network & Internet settings

On Windows 10, the Settings app includes the Network & Internet section, which is the place designed specifically to configure and change networking features on your computer.

When you open the Settings app (Windows key + I), Network & Internet is located between Devices and Personalization. Inside you can manage your computer’s Wi-Fi and Ethernet network adapters, turn on or off airplane mode, set up a VPN connection, and much more.

In this guide, you’ll get an overview of the Network & Internet settings on Windows 10.

Network & Internet settings

Network & Internet is the place in the Settings that handles the networking features of Windows 10. However, you’ll quickly find out that this section is currently mostly a place to check status and turn some features on and off, as you still need to use Control Panel to change your Wi-Fi and Ethernet adapter settings, configure advanced options, and more.

Microsoft will eventually move all the network features to the Settings app from Control Panel, but it’ll take time.

Windows 10 Network & Internet settings
Windows 10 Network & Internet settings

Status

On the Status page, you can quickly see whether your device is currently connected to the internet. In addition, there is an easy way to understand diagram that shows exactly how your computer is connected to the internet and which adapter is using.

In the screenshot, you can see that the computer is connected using an Ethernet network adapter, which is named Ethernet0.

Status settings
Status settings

The Show available network link will simply open the network flyout in the Taskbar to show which network you’re connected.

Under Change your network settings, you’ll find a number of options, such as Change adapter options, Sharing options, Homegroup, Network troubleshooter, and others. However, these are just links to change those settings using Control Panel.

Perhaps the most interesting option is the Network reset link that allows you to virtually fix any networking problems on Windows 10 with a single-click.

Ethernet

If your computer has only an Ethernet adapter, then you’ll only see the Ethernet page.

On the Ethernet page, you can see your Ethernet (wired) connections. You can always click the network adapter to view current properties, including IP and MAC address, manufacturer and driver version.

Ethernet settings
Ethernet settings

There is also an option to make your device discoverable by other computers in the local network. The option is disable by default, but you can always turn on the Make this PC discoverable toggle switch.

Ethernet adapter properties
Ethernet adapter properties

Wi-Fi

If your computer has only a wireless adapter, then you’ll see the Wi-Fi and Mobile hotspot pages.

On the Wi-Fi page, you can manage most of the wireless features available on Windows 10. The page is divided into four sections, including Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Sense, Hotspot 2.0 networks, and Paid Wi-Fi Services.

Wi-Fi allows you to enable or disable wireless access, and view the network you’re currently connected.

Wi-Fi settings
Wi-Fi settings

Clicking the current network connection will open another page, where you can control additional options, including:

  • Connect automatically when in range: Connects your computer to the current network as soon it’s in range.
  • Make this PC discoverable: Allows your computer to be discoverable in the local network.
  • Metered connection: Restricts network data usage on limited data plans. Enabling this feature some apps will work differently, and Windows and driver updates won’t download.

You can also view your wireless current properties, including IP and MAC addresses, SSID, protocol, security type, network band and channel, manufacturer and driver version.

Wi-Fi adapter properties
Wi-Fi adapter properties

On Wi-Fi there is also a Show available networks link that opens the network flyout in Taskbar to see all the Wi-Fi networks in range.

Clicking the Manage known networks opens a page with a list of all the wireless networks you have previously connected. If you’re looking to remove a saved wireless network, you can select a network from the list, and click the Forget button.

Manage known networks
Manage known networks

Wi-Fi Sense is a feature on Windows 10 that allows devices to automatically connect to suggested wireless hotspots. In the page, you can turn Wi-Fi Sense on or off and show notifications when action is required to connect to a network.

Hotspot 2.0 networks is a new way to access public Wi-Fi (e.g., cafes, airports, and hotels). It’s a IEEE standard (802.11u) that allows you to securely automatically connect to trusted hotspots (avoid malicious wireless connections), and it offers an encrypted connection between your device and the access point. You can enable this feature by turning on the Let me use Online Sign-Up to get connected toggle switch.

Paid Wi-Fi services is a feature that allows to get online by purchasing internet time. You can enable this to let Windows 10 temporarily connect to open and unsecure wireless networks to see if there is paid Wi-Fi available.

Dial-up

On the Dial-up page, you won’t see any settings to configure a dial-up connection, but you can click the Set up a new connection link to use Control Panel to get connected using a slow dial-up connection.

Dial-up settings
Dial-up settings

VPN

On the VPN page, it’s possible to set up a new VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection to securely connect to a remote network over the internet.

If you need to set up a new VPN connection on Windows 10, you can use this step-by-step guide.

VPN settings
VPN settings

Then there is the Advanced Options section, which includes the ability to allow to use a VPN connection over metered networks and while roaming.

Airplane mode

On the Airplane mode, you can turn on airplane mode on Windows 10 to stop all wireless communications, including Wi-Fi, cellular, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Airplane mode settings
Airplane mode settings

This page also includes a toggle switch to individually disable Bluetooth on your computer. However, the same option is also available on the Devices section.

Mobile hotspot

On the Mobile hotspot page, you can share your internet connection with other devices by turning your PC into a wireless hotspot. In this page, you can turn on the feature and select a network adapter (must be wireless) to share an internet connection.

Mobile hotspot settings
Mobile hotspot settings

There is also an option to allow remote devices to turn on mobile hotspot automatically, but it only works when both devices are connected using Bluetooth.

If you need to set up a mobile hotspot on your Windows 10 PC, you can use this step-by-step guide.

Data usage

On the Data usage page, you’ll see an overview of your computer’s data usage in the last 30 days, which can come in handy when using a limited internet connection and to make sure you don’t go over the data limit.

Data usage settings
Data usage settings

You can click the Usage details to see which apps are using the most data.

Data usage details
Data usage details

Proxy

On the Proxy page, you can quickly configure proxy settings for your Windows 10 computer.

Proxy is basically a computer, typically a server, that acts as an intermediary between two devices. Many people use proxy servers to access websites that are geographically restricted.

Proxy settings
Proxy settings

On Windows 10, you can let your computer automatically detect these settings, use a script, or you can manually set up a proxy connection.

Windows 10 Settings

Wrapping things up

Microsoft is adding new changes to the Settings app with the Windows 10 Creators Update. This means that these settings are compatible until the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607).

Some of these changes will be happening to the Network & Internet section where you’ll be able to set an Ethernet connection as metered, Data usage with some visual changes, Wi-Fi Sense and Paid Wi-Fi services will be combined into one group called “Wi-Fi services”, and other small changes.

Editor’s Note: In this guide, we looked at the Network & Internet settings on Windows 10. In future guides, I’ll be also writing about the other remaining sections to uncover all the features in the Settings app. These articles will also be updated as Microsoft releases new versions of Windows 10.