Windows 10 Settings menu: The Network & Internet tab
Windows 10’s new Settings menu lets you quickly and easily find basic settings without digging through the not-so-user-friendly Control Panel. It’s still a work-in-progress, but the Network & Internet tab actually does a pretty good job of combining the traditional Network and Sharing Center with Windows 8’s watered-down settings menu. If you’re looking for connection settings, this is where you’ll find it.
The Network & Internet tab can be accessed several ways, you can access it through the Settings menu, by clicking your network icon in the system tray or by clicking View Connection Settings from the Networks sidebar. The Network & Internet tab has seven sections: Wi-Fi, Cellular, VPN, DirectAccess, Dial-up, Ethernet, and Proxy.
The Wi-Fi section is more of a courtesy than an actual section — there are no options except Show available connections (opens the Networks sidebar) and Advanced settings (takes you to a list of Control Panel links). However, Microsoft knows that if you’re looking for help with your wireless connection, this is the first place you’ll look so they direct you to the appropriate non-Settings-menu places.
This section will hold your cellular connection information if you have one, because my Windows 10 system is a desktop, nothing showed up under the Cellular heading. However, based on the Ethernet connection section, you’ll probably see a clickable link to information (IP address, manufacturer, description, etc.) about your cellular connection.
This section is similar to what you see if you go to PC Settings > Network in Windows 8. Here, you can add a VPN by clicking Add a VPN connection (you’ll be able to designate VPN provider, connection name, server name/address and sign-in information). You can also access the Networks sidebar and advanced settings in the Control Panel.
irectAccess is a feature that lets you access your company’s corporate network without a VPN — this is typically something you’ll use if your VPN is blocked for some reason (e.g., you’re in a hotel on a network that blocks VPN ports). This section is similar to the Cellular section (I can’t see anything because I don’t have a DirectAccess connection), if you have a DirectAccess connection, you’ll see an icon that you can click to see information about your connection.
Dial-up and Ethernet
These sections are simple connection sections like the Cellular section. If you’re using Dial-up or Ethernet, you’ll be able to see a connection icon in these two sections that you can click for more information about your connection. If you have an Ethernet connection, you’ll see your IPv4 address, DNS servers, manufacturer, description, driver version and physical address. There’s also a button that lets you copy that information, in case you need to paste it somewhere (such as in a troubleshooting email to your tech support).
The Windows 10 Proxy section is exactly like Windows 8’s Proxy section (which you can get to by going to PC Settings > Network > Proxy). Here, you can use an automatic proxy or you can manually set up your proxy by entering in the IP address (domain name) and port of your proxy server. Using a proxy server lets you do a variety of things, such as hiding your IP address or accessing websites that aren’t available in your country.
The Network & Internet tab is one of the only Settings tabs in which each section has a link to Advanced settings. Clicking this link (which appears at the bottom of every connection section) will take you to a list of links that go to various parts of the Control Panel, such as the Network and Sharing Center, HomeGroup, advanced sharing settings, and Internet options.