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Quickly Open Network Connections List in Windows 7 or Vista

One of the biggest annoyances for me in Windows 7 or Vista is that you can’t immediately open the Network Connections list to see the list of adapters like you could in XP.

In Windows XP, you could right-click any network connection and select “Open Network Connections”, but in Windows Vista, the only option you have is to open the Network and Sharing Center via the same right-click menu.

To immediately open the connection list, you can just type ncpa.cpl into the Start menu search box:

And up pops the network connection list just like I’m used to:

You can also create a shortcut somewhere to the full file path if you want even easier access.

Just use C:\windows\system32\ncpa.cpl as the location of the shortcut.

Note that we’ve also tested this on Windows 7 as well.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 02/8/07

Comments (50)

  1. Tycen

    Thank you! This has been driving me crazy – thanks for figuring it out!

  2. Som

    Great Excellent Wonderful

  3. Jk

    Cool, thanks much, driving me batty as well. This will help.

    Here’s one further though . . .is there a way to index the connections themselves so as to be searchable from the Start menu? I see a ton of possibilites in the index options if you set the start menu customize option to “full index”. Surely those connections have an extension of some sort?

  4. happypc

    I used ‘control netconnections’ to accomplish the same thing.

  5. Nathan

    Another work-around, if you miss the option to have the ‘connect to’ start menu item displayed as a menu is to open ncpa.cpl as above, select all, and drag to your desktop. You’ll end up with a bunch of shortcuts – one per network connections. You could then move these to a folder in your start menu called something like ‘network connections’.

    A nice bonus of this is that the Vista Indexer will then know the names of all your network connections, so if you want to (say) connect to your corporate vpn, its as easy as tapping the windows key and typing a few letters.

  6. The Geek

    Nathan:

    That’s actually what I did recently as well… good tip, I might write that one up separately.

  7. AG

    Bravo. Thanks.

  8. Chris

    Cheers, that ones been annoying me for a while now…

  9. anonymous

    Another 2 ways:

    1. Shortcut to rasphone.exe on your taskbar.
    2. Create a folder named ‘Network Connections.{7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E}’ (without the quotes) and put it in Quick Launch such that it appears only when >> is pressed on Quick launch. Then it appears as a menu from where directly the connections are accessible.

    Seriously, Microsoft has messed up the shell UI, Windows explorer, network UI and even advanced search isn’t really advanced. If everything’s not indexed, it’s of no use. They should’ve put a real-time search for backward compatibility.

  10. Jim K

    I thought I was getting supid in my old age but I was (kinda) wrong! Thanks for the help….. So simple

    Jim

  11. bryan

    it doesnt work for me i still cant see it

  12. Nathan

    Bryan,

    The “‘Network Connections.{7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E}’” folder in your quicklaunch will only appear as a menu when it is not able to fit within the standard display area of your quicklaunch. Try creating the folder, then shrinking the area used by quicklaunch until you see the > (depending on where you keep it) icon appears. If you then click on the >, you’ll see the icons that “don’t fit”, including the Network Connections folder, which will display as a menu.

    Thanks to “anonymous” for this additional workaround, btw.

    FYI, I contacted Microsoft customer service regarding this, and after a number of emails back and forward, recieved the response below. Can anyone confirm that they are experiencing this issue on “North American Vista” ??

    “As you have contacted the Microsoft North American Customer support . At this time, our Support Professionals are only trained to troubleshoot issues with North American versions of our products whereas the Support Professionals at the local Microsoft subsidiaries are trained to troubleshoot issues with localized versions of our software.

    From the information you have provided in your message, I found that you are located in New Zealand. If you have purchased the Microsoft product in New Zealand, your best resource for support is the Microsoft New Zealand subsidiary.

    There are significant programming differences between North America and localized versions of software. You will be best assisted by the subsidiary that specializes in the version.”

  13. eric

    Thanks for the tip on this Vista downgrade of what we had before.
    Do you also know why disconnecting is so flawed? Clicking on Connect or Disconnect may have to be done several times before the disconnect option appears; otherwise, it just keeps confirming the connection.

    Also, any way to get the send-receive computer screens on the task bar to light up as before? Used to be you could tell if a distant server was responding or not, now that’s gone.

  14. Spam Banjo

    YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

    This is the one thing I thought I would never be happy with with Vista! I hated Vista at first but have grown to prefer it to any other windows release. This has just taken away another major annoyance!

    THANK YOU!!!! xxxxxxxxx

  15. ifixit

    Bloody hell. It’s about time I found this.

    You, sir, have done a fine service toward humanity.

  16. Luster

    OMG, thank you soooo much!

  17. Eddie

    YES YES YES!!! I go to school. and I work in an office, and I always have to forward ports for certain apps in different locations, meaning I have to constantly activate and deactivate my static IP settings, and it always drove me crazy that I couldn’t just open it directly.

    YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

  18. Cheesechoker

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Nicole

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  20. Eric

    Is there a tutorial or some information on how to install an external harddrive With windows vista. I have been using my ext HD for about two years on my older computer which had ME version installed on it. I just got another computer that has Vista. The harddrive is a firewire (Buslink) I was under the impression that all I would have to do is plug it in and turn the computer on and I would be able to use it. Well of course I was wrong. I can not access it. What will I have to do?

  21. patat

    from Windows 2000 systems and later there is also this command line :

    control.exe netconnections

    ;)

  22. ADTC

    You can create a “clone” of the actual Network Connections folder. Clone, means it’s not a simple shortcut but functions like a real folder. That means if you see it in any menu (e.g. Quick Launch menu), you can point to it to display your connections in a sub-menu.
    1. Open Network Connections folder.
    2. Right-click the address bar and select “Copy Address” (not Copy Address as Text).
    3. Open the folder where you want the clone to appear. (e.g. Quick Launch)
    4. Right-click an empty area and select “Paste Shortcut.” You may need to refresh (F5) to see the icon.

    The following information is for advanced users only. If you want to create a real shortcut to Network Connections (not to ncpa.cpl but to the actual Network Connections in Control Panel), do the below.
    1. First of all, create the clone as mentioned above.
    2. Open the cloned folder in Command Prompt and issue the “dir” command. You will see “target.lnk”.
    3. Copy this file “target.lnk” using the “copy” command to a folder where you want the real shortcut to appear.
    4. Open the folder in Explorer and rename the copied shortcut to “Network Connections.”
    If you right-click the shortcut and select Properties, you will see the difference.

  23. Jim

    Why the heck did MS add two extra steps to get to it, anyway? Why don’t we position the steering wheel inside the glove compartment?

    Thank you so much for posting this!

  24. Henry

    Thankyou! This has been really bugging me also.

  25. Andrea

    Thank you so much !!!

  26. Wendy

    Thanks. This has been killing me.

  27. InKyEyES

    To Get the Network Connections applet back in the Control Panel you can
    -Open Regedt32
    -Navigate to: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Control Panel\don’t load
    -Delete the entry for ncpa.cpl
    -Close regedt32

    Now Network Connections is back in the control panel and indexed so it can be searched for on the start menu.

    Tada! ó¿ó

  28. cindy

    I am tring to find wireless lan or highspeed internet settings (says it should be in control pannel) but its not all I want to do is set up my wireless printer and I have been 3 hours just on the wireless part HELP!! Please

  29. khalid

    Thank you so much.. it’s really help.

  30. J.J.W

    Love you! Thanks!!!

  31. markvgti

    I can’t get “ncpa.cpl” to work (like when I type it in at the Run dialog box or Start menu search box), but typing “control ncpa.cpl” does work. Typing a plain “powercfg.cpl” also works.

    Can anybody explain what’s going on?

  32. Thanke

    Thank, I have Windows 7 enterprice edition and work.

  33. Alexander Velichkov

    Just… GREAT THANK’S !

  34. SuperCrack

    Thanks man…It is realy very very helpfull

  35. confuzzled1994

    how come this doesnt work for me. everytime i go on this it disappears straight after

  36. saivert

    I don’t understand the fuzz over this as a simple search for “view network connections” in start-menu search does the trick. MS has included a bunch of “hidden” items that you can get at by searching.
    also you don’t have to type it out fully but a simple “view net con” works as well or even more ambiguous “view net” if you like to just use arrow keys to locate it. this is more natural to type than having to type a cryptic filename such as ncpa.cpl (that is hard to remember as well for some…).

  37. Salve

    Thank you so much! You’ve just saved me a lot of time and frustration! It was a mission to find before! Yous a genius!

  38. tor

    It works with my Rocket Dock shortcuts Super Duper!

    Thanks.

  39. katie1234

    Thanks sooooo much :) Very helpful!

  40. Reza

    It was great man

  41. Greg

    Finally! Thanks!

  42. Laeeq

    Thanks for help….

  43. Johan

    Bedankt, een hele fijne optie om weer te hebben. Rasdail wist ik al en werkt, maar dit is toch ook weer handig om een overzicht te hebben.

    Heeft iemand last van het fenomeen dat WiFi uitgeschakeld wordt bij het aansluiten van een LAN?
    DELL Latitude E6510.

  44. Nina

    Thank you, that’s so helpful!

  45. Steven Stanley Bayes

    Another way to reach “Network Connection” of Windows 7 64 Bit SP1 is to open:
    “Control Panel”->”Network and Internet”
    and to type “N” or “Network” in the search field on the upper right corner (next to the address).

    This would bring a whole lotta options named with the word “Network” amongst others and one of them should be: “View Network Connections”. Click on and you are in business to disable and enable your networks as much as you wish.

  46. aklim

    i don’t understand this thing could you make it simpler. All i want is to get fast internet.

  47. akilm

    Thank You

  48. richierichness

    Thanks!

  49. n2t

    Thank You

  50. H. Prajapti

    Thank u

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