Although a network adapter is an important part of your computer — it connects your PC to your local network, and thus the internet — sometimes you may need to disable it. Regardless of if you need to turn it off to just shut down things you're not using, or to save battery life, or to keep your computer off a network, you have your reasons.

The only problem is that while you can use the Settings app on Windows 10 to manage network settings, Settings doesn't include an option to enable or disable network adapters. Here's how to do it.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to disable and enable a network adapter using GUI and command line tools.

How to enable or disable network adapters using Control Panel

On Windows 10, you can use Control Panel to quickly disable and then enable your network adapters as necessary.

Disabling adapter

To disable a network adapter using Control Panel, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Security.
  3. Click on Status.

    Quick Tip: You can also quickly access these settings by right-clicking the network icon in the taskbar and selecting the Network & Internet settings option.

  4. Click on Change adapter options.

  5. Right-click the network adapter, and select the Disable option.

Enabling adapter

To enable a network adapter using Control Panel, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Security.
  3. Click on Status.
  4. Click on Change adapter options.
  5. Right-click the network adapter, and select the Enable option.

How to enable or disable network adapters using Device Manager

It's also possible to use Device Manager to enable or disable network adapters that you don't need.

Disabling adapter

To disable a network adapter using Device Manager, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager, and click the top result.
  3. Expand the Network adapters category.
  4. Right-click the adapter you want, and select the Disable device option.

Enabling adapter

To enable a network adapter using Device Manager, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager, and click the top result.
  3. Expand the Network adapters category.
  4. Right-click the adapter you want, and select the Enable device option.

How to enable or disable network adapters using Command Prompt

On Windows 10, you can use the netsh command tool to disable or re-enable network adapters on your device.

Disabling adapter

To disable a network adapter using netsh in Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to identify the name of the adapter you want to disable and press Enter:

    netsh interface show interface

  4. Type the following command to disable the Wi-Fi or Ethernet adapter and press Enter:

    netsh interface set interface "YOUR-ADAPTER-NAME" disable

    In the command remember to specify the name of the adapter you want to disable. The quotation marks are only required if there are spaces within the name.

Enabling adapter

To enable a network adapter using netsh in Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to identify the name of the adapter you want to enable and press Enter:

    netsh interface show interface

  4. Type the following command to disable the Wi-Fi or Ethernet adapter and press Enter:

    netsh interface set interface "YOUR-ADAPTER-NAME" enable

    In the command remember to specify the name of the adapter you want to enable. The quotation marks are only required if there are spaces within the name.

How to enable or disable network adapters using PowerShell

Alternatively, you can even use the PowerShell command line shell to disable or enable any network adapters that you don't use on your PC.

Disabling adapter

To disable a Wi-Fi or Ethernet network adapter on Windows 10 using PowerShell, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Windows PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to identify the name of the adapter you want to disable and press Enter:

    Get-NetAdapter | format-table

  4. Type the following command to disable the Wi-Fi or Ethernet adapter and press Enter:

    Disable-NetAdapter -Name "YOUR-ADAPTER-NAME" -Confirm:$false

    In the command remember to specify the name of the adapter you want to disable. The quotation marks are only required if there are spaces within the name.

Enabling adapter

To enable a network adapter on Windows 10 using PowerShell, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Windows PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type the following command to identify the name of the adapter you want to enable and press Enter:

    Get-NetAdapter | format-table

  4. Type the following command to disable the Wi-Fi or Ethernet adapter and press Enter:

    Enable-NetAdapter -Name "YOUR-ADAPTER-NAME" -Confirm:$false

    In the command remember to specify the name of the adapter you want to enable. The quotation marks are only required if there are spaces within the name.

Wrapping things up

Even though the modern experience of Windows 10 doesn't offer a complete set of network settings, there are still many ways to enable or disable network adapters when necessary.

Remember that using the network flyout to turn on or off wireless connections doesn't disable your Wi-Fi adapter, it only disconnects the device from the network.

We're focusing this guide on wireless and wired adapters, but remember that Bluetooth is also a networking device, as such you can use the same instructions to enable or disable the adapter.

What method do you prefer to manage network cards on Windows 10? Tell us in the comments.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources: