How to Stop Windows From Automatically Connecting to a Wi-Fi Network

Windows automatically connects to Wi-Fi networks you’ve previously connected to. On Windows 10, you can tell Windows not to automatically connect to certain networks. Windows will remember the passphrase and other connection details, but will only connect when you manually initiate a connection.

This is useful for public Wi-Fi networks that you don’t always want to connect to automatically—especially if they require a sign in or have slow internet.

On Windows 10

To stop Windows from automatically, connecting to a Wi-Fi network in the future, you can simply choose this option while connecting to a network.

When you select a network in the Wi-Fi popup menu, uncheck the “Connect automatically” box before you click the “Connect” button.

If you’re not near the network at the moment, you won’t see the network in the Wi-Fi panel. However, you can still edit the saved Wi-Fi network profile on your system to modify this setting.

To do so, head to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi. Click the “Manage known networks” link.

Select the network you want to edit in the list and click “Properties”. You can use the search box or filter options to find the precise network you’re looking for here.

Set the “Connect automatically when in range” option here to “Off”. Windows won’t automatically connect to the network, but you can manually connect to the network without re-entering its passphrase and other settings.

On Windows 7 and 8

This option isn’t available on Windows 7 and 8. If you have a Wi-Fi network’s credentials saved on your system, Windows will automatically connect to it. The only way to stop Windows from automatically reconnecting to a saved Wi-Fi network is by telling Windows to “forget” that saved Wi-Fi network completely. This means that you’ll have to re-enter the Wi-Fi network’s passphrase and other credentials if you ever want to use it in the future.

To forget a network in Windows 7, head to Control Panel > View network status and tasks > Manage wireless networks. Select the Wi-Fi network you want to forget and click “Remove”.

On Windows 8, you have to use the netsh command from the Command Prompt to delete a saved Wi-Fi network.

To do so, launch a Command Prompt window and run the following command, replacing “WiFiName” with the name of the saved Wi-Fi network.

netsh wlan delete profile name="WiFiName"

After running this command, your computer will forget the network.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.