In Windows OS, the Network discovery feature allows computers and other devices to be discovered on a network. In other words, it allows a computer to find other computers on the same network and vice-versa.
We can easily view the computers list by selecting the Network icon in the File Explorer application. If Network discovery is turned off. you will get the following error message when you click on the Network icon in the File Explorer window.
Network discovery is turned off. Network computers and devices are not visible. Please turn on network discovery in Network and Sharing Center.
How to enable Network discovery in Network and Sharing Center
Follow the below steps to activate network discovery through Settings->Control Panel.
- Click the Windows logo and select the Gear icon to open the Settings window.
- On the Settings window, click on the Home icon (if you are not already on the home page).
- Click on Network & Internet.
- On the Network & Internet page, under Advanced network settings, click on Network and Sharing Centre.
- The above step opens the Network and Sharing Center in Control Panel for the current network. You can also directly open it from the Control Panel (Control Panel -> All Control Panel Items -> Network and Sharing Center).
- On the Network and Sharing Center page, click on Change advanced sharing settings in the left-hand menu.
- Expand the current network profile (Private or Public). The currently assigned profile will be marked with the words “current profile” on the right side of its name. Ex: Private (current profile).
- Under the Network discover section, select “Turn on network discovery”.
- For the private network profile, you need to check the box “Turn on automatic setup of network connected devices”.
- Finally, click on click on Save Changes.
Computer Browser service is required for Explorer Network Browsing
The Explorer Network Browsing requires the Computer Browser service. The Computer Browser service relies on the SMBv1 protocol to populate the Windows Explorer (aka “File Explorer”) Network node. Without this service, you will not be able to view the computers and shared resources on the current network.
Since Windows 10 (1709), Windows Server (1709), and later versions, the SMBv1 client/server component (which includes the Computer Browser service) is an optional component, and it is no longer installed by default. For more details, see this post: Computer Browser Service is not installed by default.