Windows automatically connects you to wireless networks you’ve connected to in the past. If you’re near multiple networks you’ve previously connected to, Windows uses a priority system to choose a Wi-Fi network.

Windows 7 included a graphical tool to manage your wireless network priority. On Windows 8 and 10, though, you can only manage this from the Command Prompt.

How to See the Priority of Your Wireless Networks

Windows 10 shows the priority of your wireless networks in the Settings window. To view the list, head to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Manage Known Networks.

This list shows you your saved wireless networks in the order they’re prioritized. Windows will connect to the wireless network at the top first, if available, and then go down the list. If you could drag and drop wireless networks here, you’d be able to re-order the list. But Windows doesn’t let you.

If you don’t want Windows to connect you to a wireless network in the future, you can click it here and select “Forget”. Windows won’t automatically connect you to that network unless you choose to connect to it.

How to Change the Priority of Your Wireless Networks

To change the priority manually, you’ll need to use an Administrator Command Prompt. To open one, right-click the Start button and select “Command Prompt (Admin)”.

Run the following command to see a list of your saved Wi-Fi networks in the order of their priority. This will show you the same list you can see in the Settings screen:

netsh wlan show profiles

You’ll need to note two things here: The name of the interface and the name of the wireless network you want to prioritize.

For example, the interface name here is “Wi-Fi” and the network we’ve chosen to prioritize is “Remora”.

To prioritize a wireless network, run the following command, replacing “wifi-name” with the name of the Wi-Fi network, “interface-name” with the name of the Wi-Fi interface, and “#” with the priority number you want to place the Wi-Fi network at.

netsh wlan set profileorder name="wifi-name" interface="interface-name" priority=#

For example, to take the network Remora on interface Wi-Fi and make it priority number one in the list, we’d run the following command:

netsh wlan set profileorder name="Remora" interface="Wi-Fi" priority=1

You can run the netsh wlan show profiles command again and you’ll see the network you’ve chosen to prioritize appears first in the list. The order in the Settings app will also change.

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Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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