Five fixes

How to fix network discovery on Windows 10

If network discovery isn't working on Windows 10, you can try these five solutions to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

Network discovery not working

On Windows 10, network discovery is a feature that allows you to quickly find devices connected to the network using File Explorer.

When the feature is enabled, using the Network tab in File Explorer, you can see all the devices, and you can even browse their available resources, such as shared folders and printers, and more. The only caveat is that network discovery doesn’t always work as expected, and sometimes, you may not be able to find any computer, or you may see some of them, but others might be missing.

Whatever the reason case might be, you can troubleshoot and resolve almost any problem with network discovery by making sure the feature is enabled, the required services and protocol are running, using the network troubleshooter, or reseting the networking stack on Windows 10.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to troubleshoot and fix network discovery on Windows 10.

Fix network discovery enabling feature

If you can’t see any of the network devices in File Explorer, it’s probably because network discovery isn’t enabled.

To enable network discovery with Control Panel, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel on Windows 10.

  2. Click on Network and Internet.

  3. Click on Network and Sharing Center.

  4. Click the Change advanced sharing settings option from the left pane.

    Change advanced sharing settings
    Change advanced sharing settings
  5. Expand the Private network profile.

  6. Under the “Network discovery” section, select the Turn on network discovery option.

    Enable network discovery in Control Panel
    Enable network discovery in Control Panel
  7. Under the “File and printer sharing” section, select the Turn on file and printer sharing option.

  8. Click the Save changes button.

Once you complete the steps, you should now be able to find other computers and gadgets in the local network.

Fix network discovery starting required services

If network discovery is enabled, and File Explorer doesn’t show any of the devices, one or more of the required services may not be running.

To fix network discovery on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Services and click the top result to open the console.

  3. Confirm the following services are in a “running” status:

    • DNS Client.
    • Function Discovery Provider Host.
    • Function Discovery Resource Publication.
    • SSDP Discovery.
    • UPnP Device Host.
  4. If one of the services isn’t running, double-click it.

    Upnp device host service
    Upnp device host service
  5. In the “Startup type” option, use the drop-down menu and select the Automatic option.

    Start service on Windows 10
    Start service on Windows 10
  6. Under the “Service status” section, click the Start button.

  7. Repeat steps No. 4 through 6 to make sure the required services are running.

After you complete the steps, open the Network tab in File Explorer and confirm that network discovery is working.

Fix network discovery enabling SMB protocol

If network discovery is working, but you’re missing some devices, such as an old computer, hard drive connected to the network, or Network-Attached Storage (NAS), then it’s possible that those devices are still relying in the old version of Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. 

It’s not recommended to use SMBv1 for security reasons, but if you must access devices using network discovery, you may need to enable the feature.

To enable SMB version 1 on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Turn on Windows features on or off and click the top result to open Windows Features.

  3. Expand the SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support branch.

  4. Select the SMB 1.0/CIFS Client option.

    Enable SMBv1 on Windows 10
    Enable SMBv1 on Windows 10
  5. Click the OK button.

  6. Click the Restart now button.

Once you complete the steps, open File Explorer, and in the Network tab, you should now see the missing devices.

Fix network discovery using troubleshooter

In the case that network discovery still not working, it’s possible that there’s a networking problem, which you might be able to resolve using the network troubleshooter.

To run the network troubleshooter to fix network discovery, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 10.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Troubleshoot.

  4. Click the Additional troubleshooters option.

  5. Select the Network Adapter option.

  6. Click the Run the troubleshooter button.

    Network Adapter troubleshooter option on version 2004
    Network Adapter troubleshooter option on version 2004
  7. Select the network adapter connected to the network — for instance, Wi-Fi.

    Network Adapter wizard
    Network Adapter wizard
  8. Click the Next button.

After you complete the steps, the troubleshooter will try to fix the network problem. After the process completes, open File Explorer and confirm that devices are now appearing in the Network tab. If everything is working again, you’re all done. If it’s still not working, try the following method.

Fix network discover resetting adapter

If the troubleshooter didn’t work, you can use the network reset feature, which removes and reinstalls all the network adapters on your computer. This process resets all the networking components and restores the defaults settings, which can help to fix network discovery problems.

Warning: These steps will reset your wireless credentials, as such you must know your Wi-Fi password before proceeding, so you can reconnect later.

To reset the network adapter settings to fix network discovery problems, close all your running applications, and use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Network & Internet.

  3. Click on Status.

  4. Click the Network reset option.

    Windows 10 2004 Network reset option
    Windows 10 2004 Network reset option
  5. Click the Reset now button.

    Windows 10 network reset
    Windows 10 network reset
  6. Click Yes to confirm.

  7. Click the Close button.

  8. Restart your computer.

Once you complete the steps, you may need to reinstall other networking software, such as VPN client or virtual switch software (if applicable). Also, you’ll need to manually reconnect to any wireless network, which may require to enter the passcode again.

After you’re connected to the network, open the Network tab in File Explorer, enable network discovery by clicking the message on the top, select the Turn on network discovery and file sharing option, and click the No, make the network that I am connected to a private network option. After enabling the feature, devices should now appear in File Explorer.