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Friday, 11 February 2011

How to remove network names in Windows 7

Networking in Windows 7 is generally pretty simple, apart from the unecessarily complicated Network and Sharing Center. But one annoyance when you connect to a lot of different networks, as I do, is that it refuses to forget the name of a network. So you can end up with multiple network names, such as Network 4, Network 7 and so on. This isn't really a big problem, but if you need to start with a clean sheet (I need to do this sometimes for screenshots), it's not obvious how to delete the list of known network names. But in fact it is very simple.

First, open the Network and Sharing Center by clicking on the network icon in the notification area. Next to the current network name is a large icon, in this case a house representing a Home network (Note that it is the larger icon in the 'View your active networks' section I am referring to - thanks to the commenter who pointed this out).


Click on the house icon and a Set Network Properties dialog box will appear that allows you to rename the current network and optionally change the icon.


But we want to delete other network names, so click on the link at the bottom labelled Merge or Delete Network Locations.


Now you'll see a complete list of all the network locations your PC has connected to. Select those you want to get rid of - you can't delete them all at once, as selecting multiple names activates the Merge option. This lets you combine all the networks into a single name - I'm not too sure what use this is. Note that you can't delete any networks that are currently in use.

Update: As one kind commenter has pointed out below, you can delete multiple names by selecting them with Shift-click or Ctrl-click, then pressing Delete. Just make sure that none of the networks selected has an 'In Use' status, which is what I did - if you do this, the Delete button will be greyed out.

31 comments:

  1. omg. what a great ui! so intuitive! /sarcasm :P

    thanks for this blogpost!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Kelvyn, you've made it so simple, great explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ugh, I didn't find it on that list so the problem persists. Now I just want to kill someone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If your network wasn't listed here then it must be a wireless network.

      From the Network and Sharing Centre instead click Manage Wireless Networks and delete it from there ;o)

      Delete
    2. where is the manage wireless network can you post a pic where it is

      Delete
  4. Thanks for the post, just what I was looking for =OD

    Note: you can in fact delete multiple networks or all of them, (if none are in use - i.e. unplug your ethernet cable once you have the list dialogue on screen)...

    Simply use shift+click to block select or CTRL+click to cherry pick from the list as per usual, then click delete ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ fLaMePr0oF - thanks for spotting my mistake! I've updated the post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. lol, thank you for that,i have spent ages trying to suss that out
    alex

    ReplyDelete
  7. G8 dude, its fantistic.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeah thanks a thousand ... but please note, it is the 2nd house, not the house in between your computer and the globe, that you have to click to get there.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank a lot. Today I forgot where to find this menu. Spent about 3 hours to find it. Thanks God I found your article.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Finally a proper answer to the question I've been having for a while. Everywhere else I've looked had terrible non-answers.
    Thanks Kevin.

    ReplyDelete
  11. *Kelvyn - Autocorrect

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  12. Thank you! Couldn't find this answer elsewhere, only info on wireless networks

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you...you really ease the pain Kevin!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hopefully you'll be having tutorial on Windows 8 version. There is some difference between the two OSes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi bugoy - As far as I can tell, the only way to do this in Windows 8 is via the Registry, which is a bit of a pain in the neck for those who like their network names.

      Delete
  15. i have a problem with hamachi so i uninstalled it and deleted every trace of it off my computer but 1 think still stays... a active newtork called network 2. i cannot delete it through this way and there is no adapter for it. plz help!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the info!

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  17. Thank you, Clicking on that Icon to manage network locations is ridiculous. That should only be to change the icon. There should be a link for managing locations below it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. what happens if you uninstall an active network name and have another local network name on the system? Will the local network name automatically be attached to the network and start working?

    ReplyDelete
  19. No, if you remove a name, the network will be given a new name. I think - Windows does some weird things with network names!

    ReplyDelete
  20. thanks a lo dude, just what i was looking for, i was looking here and there and only thing i can find was how to delete/forget a network connection, obviously it wasn't what i want to do. Thank u so much

    ReplyDelete
  21. Completed the steps as directed. Deleted network name in the merge and delete network location. However, old network name still appears when I open wireless network connections.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Deleted network name is Merge and Delete Network Location. However, when I click on the Wireless Network Connection
    old network name still there. How do I remove from this location also?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thank you. Windows UI is such a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you so much! Super useful -- I had 50+ old network locations lying around.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Brilliant! Sorted out my problem perfectly. I'm a happy person now.

    Windows tips and tricks

    ReplyDelete
  26. This doesn't seem to work on Windows 10 version 1703.

    ReplyDelete