Network adapters are vital. They enable your connection to the internet and local network. However, they can also go awry. At times you may need to know how to enable your WiFi adapter in Windows 10 because it has automatically turned off.
In other cases, you might want to disable a network adapter to cut your connection to the internet. This could be to test that software works offline, or you may want to disable your ethernet adapter and use Wi-Fi instead. Maybe you even have a child whose internet access you want to block.
Whatever the reason, we're not here to judge. In this guide, we're just going to show you how to enable or disable a WiFi or Ethernet adapter via a few simple methods. Let's get into it:
How to Enable or Disable a Network Adapter via the Control Panel
Unfortunately, you can't control your network adapter directly from the settings app, but you can use it to access the legacy Control Panel, which thankfully works just fine. This is probably the most user-friendly way to change your adapter settings, though the other methods below are typically faster.
- Open settings
- Click ‘Network & Internet' in Windows Settings
- Change your network adapter settings
To open the Control Panel menu to change your network adapter settings, click “Status” in the sidebar, then “Change adapter options” in the main pane. While you're there, note the network your PC is connected to. You can see this between the laptop and globe icons under Network Status.
- How to disable your network adapter
Find the network that you identified in the last step. In hour case it's a WiFi adapter, but you may be using an ethernet one instead. Make sure you choose the correct one and not one for a VPN or virtual machine.
Right-click the ethernet or WiFi adapter and click “Disable”, accepting the administrator prompt if required.
- How to enable a WiFi adapter or ethernet adapter in Windows 10
How to Enable or Disable an Ethernet or WiFi Adapter via Windows 10 Device Manager
If you don't want to jump through settings windows, you can instead use the device manager to enable or disable a network adapter in Windows 10. This can be slightly more confusing, but it's much faster.
- Open Device Manager
- How to find and disable your network adapter
It can be a little harder to tell which adapter it is in this menu. However, if you want to disable a Wi-Fi adapter, look for an adapter with “Wireless” or “WiFi” in the name. Typically, these are from Intel, but they aren't always. Anything that says TAP, VMware, or WAN you should leave enabled unless you're specifically looking for them.
In Device Manager, scroll down the list until you see the “Network adapters” category. Click it to expand it, where you'll be presented with a list of network adapters.
An Ethernet adapter can be a little more tricky to locate. In some cases, it will have Ethernet in the name, but it may also be listed as a “Gigabit Network Connection”, “PCIe GbE Family Controller, and more. Not to worry, though, if disabling it doesn't do anything, you can always enable it again in the next step.
Now that you have located your adapter, right-click it and select “Disable device”.
- How to enable your ethernet or WiFi adapter in device manager
If your Wi-Fi adapter is disabled in Windows 10, finding it and enabling it should be simple. Look for a WiFi or Ethernet device under the Network adapters heading that has a grey circle on its icon with a down arrow in it.
Right-click the device and then click Enable device to turn it on again.
How to Enable or Disable Network Adapters via Command Prompt
If you're on a Windows server install without a GUI or simply prefer to use Command Prompt, it's also possible to enable or disable a network adapter there.
- Open Command Prompt
- How to find and disable a network adapter
You'll now want to identify the correct network adapter. To do so, run the following command:
netsh interface show interface
You'll see a table of adapters. The main columns you should be looking at are the “State” and “Interface Name” columns. Look for one with “Ethernet” in the name if you want to disable an Ethernet Adapter, and “Wi-Fi” for a WiFi adapter.
You can now disable the network adapter with the following command:
netsh interface set interface "interfacename" disable
interfacenamewith the name of your interface. In our case, that's just “WiFi”.
- How to enable a Wi-Fi adapter or Ethernet adapter
To enable an adapter that was previously or automatically disabled, you first need to find it. Type the following in your command prompt window and press Enter:
netsh inteface show interface
A table will appear. The main columns you should be paying attention to are the “Admin State”, “State”, and “Interface Name” fields.
Look for the WiFi or Ethernet adapters that meet your criteria. They should have Admin state of “Disabled” and a State of “Disconnected”. Once you've found the connect interface, enter the following, substituting
interfacenamewith the name of your interface:
netsh interface set "interfacename" enable
How to Enable or Disable a Network Adapter via PowerShell
If you're more a PowerShell person than Command Prompt, you can enable/disable a WiFi or ethernet adapter there, too. The commands are still very simple and memorable.
- Open PowerShell as an administrator
- How to identify and disable a network adapter with PowerShell
First, bring up a table of network adapters via the following command:
Get-NetAdapter | format-table
Find the one you want to disable in the “Name” column and make a note of it. Then, run the following, replacing
networkadapterwith the name of your interface:
Disable-NetAdapter -Name "adaptername" -Confirm:$false
- How to enable an internet adapter with PowerShell
If your WiFi or ethernet adapter is disabled, you only need to make a minor tweak to the above commands to enable it again. First, find the Name of the adapter by running this command:
Get-NetAdapter | format-table
Now, to enable it, run the following and substitute
networkadpaterfor its name:
Enable-NetAdapter -Name "YOUR-ADAPTER-NAME" -Confirm:$false
There you have it. The more modern interface may not let you change adapter settings, but there are still plenty of other ways to do so in Windows 10.
If you're still having issues with your network, you may want to give our network reset guide a try. if you're trying to block a WiFi network and adapter disabling isn't cutting it for you, check our dedicated tutorial here.