Windows will automatically update your list of network adapters. Each time you install a new one, whether it’s a new Bluetooth connection, a new Wi-Fi adapter, or a virtual network adapter, you’ll find it in the Network Connections list.
From time to time, you may want to remove your old network adapter from the list to keep it tidy and make it easier to keep track of your active adapters.
So learn how to remove a network adapter from Windows 10 or Windows 11.
What is a network adapter?
A network adapter is hardware that allows your computer to communicate with various devices. For example, your laptop probably has a wireless network adapter to enable Wi-Fi connections and maybe an Ethernet port to enable Ethernet connections. You can also have a Bluetooth network adapter to enable Bluetooth connections and so on.
Network adapters make it easier to communicate between computers, largely automating the creation and management of active network connections between different devices, and making it easier to troubleshoot if something goes wrong.
Although this is not covered in this article, you may also see network adapters called network interface cards (NICs), but they usually refer to an expansion card connected to the system as a PCIe Wi-Fi card.
Removing the network adapter from network connections
The first way to remove a network adapter from Windows is through Network Connections. In this window you will find all your network connections and it is a convenient way to manage your network adapters.
- OpenFile management (Windows + E).
- Open control panel. Click Network and Internet / View network management status.
- Click on the left Change map settings. The Network connections is displayed.
- Right-click the network adapter you want to remove and select To delete.
The network adapter will be removed and you have removed it from your system. If the Delete button on the network adapter is grayed out, continue to the next section.
Disconnecting the Network Adapter Using Device Manager
You can try to remove the network adapter using Device Manager. Device Manager is a Windows utility that lets you view all the devices connected to your device, whether it’s a mouse, keyboard, video card, or network adapter.
- Come in Device management in the search bar Start menu and choose the best match.
- Scroll down and expand Network cards using the arrow icon.
- Right-click the network adapter you want to remove and select Remove the device.
- When the warning appears, select uninstall.
- Repeat if necessary.
Use a command prompt to delete a network profile
If the network adapter still refuses to uninstall, you can proceed to the next step and use the command prompt to delete the network adapter profile from the system.
- Come in cmd in the search bar Start menuand then select Run as an administrator.
- If you are trying to disconnect from an Ethernet (wired) connection, enter the command:
netsh lan show profiles
- If you’re trying to disconnect from a Wi-Fi (wireless) connection, enter the command:
netsh wlan show profiles
- A warning appears stating that the wired or wireless auto-configuration service is not working? In your search bar Start menu, type services and choose the best match, then scroll down and search Wired automatic configuration Where WWAN automatic configuration service (WLAN Autoconfig), right-click and select To start.
- You must now enter the previous commands.
- Find the network adapter you want to remove from the list and make a note of the connection name at the top of each profile.
- Enter the following command to disconnect the wired network adapter:
netsh lan delete profile interface="NomInterface"
- Or enter the following command to disconnect the wireless network adapter:
netsh wlan delete profile interface="NomInterface"
- Now that you have deleted the network adapter profile from Windows, you should be able to remove the network adapter from the window Network connections or Device management.
Use the Windows registry to clear the network adapter settings
Another option is to use the Windows registry to remove the network adapter settings. But first you need to check the information of the adapter you want to remove.
- OpenCommand prompt and step inside ipconfig.
- Locate the network adapter you want to remove, write down its IPv4 address, and leave the command prompt window open.
- Come in regedit in the search bar Start menu and choose the best match.
- Mene HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Services Tcpip Parameters Interfaces.
- Scroll through the list of interfaces and compare the address DhcpIP address from the user interface to the destinationIPv4 address from the command prompt. When you find a match, you have found a matching network adapter.
- Right-click the name of the network adapter interface (long alphanumeric string) in the Windows registry and select To delete.
- Like the procedure used at the command prompt, this workaround does not completely remove the network adapter from your system. You still need to remove the network adapter through the window Network connections where Device management.
Should I unplug old network adapters?
You do not have to remove old network adapters. In some cases, Windows will do the work for you if you upgrade or change your hardware configuration, but this can also result in a hidden list of old network adapters on your system.
Additionally, you can remove virtual network adapters from older virtual machines that you no longer use if the host software has not cleaned them automatically. Sometimes the virtual machine software creates more than 20 different virtual network adapters that fill the entire window with different options.
Cleaning up the list of network adapters should only take a minute, and can make it easier to detect the problem when the time comes. If there are only one or two different options in the Network Connections window, you know exactly where the problem is.