How to enable or disable Wi-Fi and Ethernet network adapters on Windows 10

Windows 10 enable or disable network adapters
(Image credit: Future)

Although a network adapter is an essential component of your computer (since it connects it to the local network and the internet), you may need to disable it for various reasons. For example, to preserve battery life, keep your device out of the network, etc.

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

This guide will walk you through the steps to disable and enable a network adapter using a graphical interface and commands.

How to enable or disable network adapters using Control Panel

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

Disable 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.
  1. Click on Change adapter options.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Right-click the network adapter and select the Disable option.

(Image credit: Future)

Enable adapter

To enable a network adapter with Control Panel on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Security.
  3. Click on Status.
  4. Click on Change adapter options.

Change adapter options

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Right-click the network adapter and select the Enable option.

(Image credit: Future)

How to enable or disable network adapters using Device Manager

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

Disable 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 to open the app.
  3. Expand the Network adapters category.
  4. Right-click the adapter you want, and select the Disable device option.

(Image credit: Future)
  1. Click the Yes button.

Enable 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.

(Image credit: Future)

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.

Disable 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

(Image credit: Future)

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.

Enable 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

(Image credit: Future)

In the command, 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 you don't use on your PC.

Disable adapter

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

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  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

(Image credit: Future)

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

Enable adapter

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

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
  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

PowerShell enable network adapter

(Image credit: Future)

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

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, which means that you can use the same instructions to enable or disable the adapter.

More resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.