Yes, it seems that the computer will not respond to pinging. But any computer with a packet sniffer will be able to see my ip once I send any packet to the router. So basically, if I'm surfing the internet using public wi-fi - I can expect an attacker to be able to attack my computer almost as easily.

Is this true? Or does it do more than that? If so - what?

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    The question you need to ask is, "what does this setting protect against?" Does it protect? Yes, it does. Are you fully protected against all threats? No, of course not. No setting does that. – schroeder Jun 17 '14 at 14:59
  • You're right. That's actually what I was trying to ask. Edited now. In fact - I was trying to find out what exactly does this setting do under the hood but have come up empty handed so far. – ispiro Jun 17 '14 at 15:02

This setting turns off browsing answers.

Browsing is a protocol on windows networks where one computer send a broadcast to a local network "who else is there ?" and other computers answer.

Think about opening the 'Network' or 'Network Neighborhood' icon. That is what it does. It sends that broadcast and shows computers that are "discoverable". If your discover is off, you won't appear on their list.

Not just IP/pings, but if your computer is "discoverable", it means it will allow requests for other things such as public/shared files, remote control/access, any printer resources that may be shared, and DLNA/streaming, homegroup, etc. - any one of those may have a vulnerability that can now be exploited

Network discovery is a network setting that affects whether your computer can see (find) other computers and devices on the network and whether other computers on the network can see your computer. By default, Windows Firewall blocks network discovery, but you can enable it.

Instead you turn off 'Network Discovery' in your system, I suggest you install a good software firewall to protect your computer on network.

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