[Tutorial] Manage Wireless Network Profiles in Windows 7, 8, 8.1

Wi-Fi and Wireless networks are common in this computer age of 2014. With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has removed the ability to right-click wireless networks and forget them. Previously in earlier Windows operating systems, you can stop the OS from automatically connecting to the Wireless Internet.

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How to Delete, Prioritize and Edit Wireless Network Profile in Windows 7?

Its always better to remove unnecessary wireless network profiles and re-arranging the working ones. The symptoms of not connecting problems are like unable to connect to the wireless network after changing the settings. Also trying to remove multiple wireless connection profiles can sometimes create problems.

  • Find the Control Panel in Windows 7
  • Click View network status and tasks in Control Panel window. 
  • Click Manage wireless networks on the left panel in the Network and Sharing Center window that appears.
  • In the next screen, Manage wireless networks that use (Wireless Network Connection) screen will appear. Here you can see all the wireless network connection profiles that are active on the present computer.

delete wireless network profile in windows 7

  • Select the wireless profile, you don’t use anymore and click on “Remove“. This should successfully remove the profile from list of profiles and prevent your computer from connecting to that profile again in Windows 7.

Important: 

The higher the network profile listed in the list, it will have higher priority. For example, in the above screenshot, if nicole-network and ad-hoc-network profiles have signal and are ready to connect, the first one will connect since its listed a rank higher than the next one. But I’m not sure, how this priority is assigned.

  • But the flexibility with this list is that, if you want to make a particular profile more prioritized than the other or vice-versa, you can use the Move Up and Move Down buttons present on the same line as the “Add” and “Remove” buttons.
  • You can also “edit” a particular profile, by double-clicking it. The Settings window will open and from it you can make changes to the Connection and Security tabs.

How to Manage Wireless Network Profiles in Windows 8?

Just like in Windows 7, when you connect to a wireless network all the security information, settings and password are saved on your PC or laptop in the form of a network profile.

How PRIORITY of Internet Connections is determined in Windows?

Before we go ahead and talk about this issue, its important on how Windows determines connection priority. As you have observed from your network connections, Windows connects to the Internet in this order.

1. Ethernet

2. Wi‑Fi

3. Mobile broadband

The connection priority comes in the case of Wi-Fi and Mobile broadband.

When you are connected to a new Wi-Fi network, it is automatically added to the list of network profiles. The next time you try to connect to the Internet, if this profile is in range, you will be automatically connected. Suppose, you have another profile in the same range, Windows will prefer the second network over the first one.

Mobile broadband networks are given preference over Wi-Fi, for a particular session in Windows 8. The next time when you are in range of both Wi-Fi and Mobile broadband, then Wi-Fi takes over precedence, which is because of metered connections of mobile broadband.

If you want Mobile to precede over Wi-Fi from second time onwards, you just have to select the particular Wi-Fi network profile and click Disconnect.

How to Change the PRIORITY of Networks in Windows 8?

Suppose there are two wireless networks NET1 and NET2 in a location which are in the same range. If you are connected to NET1 for the first time, the next time also you will be automatically connected. Now if you manually choose NET2 as the internet connection in succeeding times, then NET2 takes precedence. You can do the vice-versa to make NET1 the top priority again.

Important

Manually disconnecting from a network will make that network in Windows 8 to drop to the bottom of the list in the priority networks. This will also remove the tag “Connect Automatically” tag from that network profile.

How to edit Network Profile Settings in Windows 8?

You can do this using the “System tray” or the “Charms bar“. Find the wireless-network icon and from it, find the list of available networks. Locate the network’s name. (Security Set Identifier – SSID). Right-click or press and hold on it. Click or tap “View Connection Properties.”

view_connection_properties_windows_8

A pop-up window will open and from it, you can change the required network settings using any of the two tabs. i.e Connection and Security.

How to Remove Network Profiles in Windows 8?

There are several reasons, why you want to do this?

  • You don’t want Windows 8 to connect to a profile automatically?
  • This can be a trouble-shooting step, if that network connected earlier, but fails now.
  • Deleting a profile and manually connecting later can solve, corrupted profile issues.

forget_this_network_windows_8

How to Forget Wireless Network Profile in Windows 8.1?

With the new Update 1 release, somethings have changed in Windows 8.1. Surprisingly, you cannot make the same changes to wireless network profiles as you did in Windows 8.  There is no contextual-menu to display, just like in the above screenshots.

There are 3 ways to do this:

  1. Error Connecting to the Network – method
  2. From PC Settings
  3. From Command Prompt

In the first method, the network profile has to be visible on your laptop or PC within the range.

In the Networks pane, select the network you want removed and press Connect. If Windows 8.1 can’t connect to it, you will see an error message and a button that says “Forget network”.

forget_wireless_network_windows_8_1

 

The second method works with the Update 1 released on April 8th, 2014. You need to install this update first, before you use this method.

  • Open PC Settings and go to Network.
  • In the Connections section, look for Wi-Fi and the “Manage known networks” link. Click or tap on it.
  • Windows 8.1 displays a list with the wireless networks for which its stores connection details.
  • Select the network you want to forget and press Forget.

forget_network_windows_8_1_update_1

 

The third method is using the command-line way and more of a non-interface way. You need to type a few commands to make this work. Open an elevated command prompt and type the following.

netsh wlan show profiles.

This will show all the network profiles on your laptop or PC. The list can be long, if you have used your computer for a long time. Now to virtually remove or forget a profile, type the following command.

netsh wlan delete profile name="swisscom"

forget_wireless_profile_command_prompt_8_1Here “swisscom” is the profile name. In order to forget or delete all the profile names, the following command can be used.

netsh wlan delete profile name=* i=*

There are some other commands which are useful in this scenario.

command_line_method_manage_wireless_profiles_windows_8

Conclusion

As you have seen this long list of post, the way of removing, prioritizing, editing wireless network profiles has changed from different versions of Windows. Just from my stand-point-of-view, its basically the interface that changes in each operating system, whether its Windows 8 or 8.1 with little change in technology. But with each new OS, there are new problems with the learning curve and also new trouble-shooting methods.

Its finally your own trial-and-error that will fix the problem. I’ll try to write another post about fixing wireless network problems in Windows 7, which will be helpful to many.

 

One Response

  1. Hannan Ahmad July 10, 2015

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