Starting with Windows Vista, you can assign location types to network connections, which you are prompted for the first time you connect. Plus you can always change them from the Network and Sharing Center.
- Home Network: Network discovery and sharing is turned on. In Windows 7, users can create or join a Homegroup, which they are also prompted for during the first connection to a network.
- Work Network: Network discovery and sharing is turned on. In Windows 7, users won’t be prompted for or allowed to create/join a Homegroup.
- Public Network: Network discovery and sharing is turned off and the Homegroup feature in Windows 7 is disabled.
The Windows Firewall configuration takes these network locations into consideration. You can allow and block ports/applications for only certain location types.
Keep in mind, Windows Vista uses the location type Private, which includes both Home and Work.