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The area of you Windows taskbar near the clock can have an icon for every network connection. We'll look at how to get only those you care about.

Is there any way that I can get rid of unused network icons that show up next to the clock? Namely, wireless network and some other?

Yes, there are at least two ways that I can think of: disable the network card, or turn off the "show icon" option. It's probably the later one that you really want, but most people don't even know it exists.

To be clear, we're talking about the icon(s) that appear in what's called the "notification area", or more commonly, "that place down in the lower right of the screen where the clock is":

Network icon in the system tray

Here you can see a single network icon visible, since I've already actually turned off any others.

Right click on the network icon you want to change, and click on Status:

Network Connection Status Dialog

Now click on the Properties button:

Network Connection Properties Dialog

You can see I've indicated the setting you care about: uncheck Show icon in notification area when connected as well as Notify me when this connection has limited or no connectivity.

That should get you what you want.

The other alternative is a tad more drastic, but in the case of your laptop's wireless card it will actually lengthen your battery life.

Back at the Connection dialog above, click on the Disable button, instead of Properties. This will actually disable the network connection, and in the case of most wireless cards, turn off the associated hardware. If you're not using your wireless, then this will cut down on your power usage.

To re-enable a disabled network interface, simply go to Control Panel, Network Connections. There you should see a list of all the available connections, regardless of state:

Network connection list

Here you can see that one of my network connections is, indeed, disabled. If I right click on that connection, the option to enable it appears:

Enable Network Connection option

Note that this applies to Windows XP. In Windows Vista this has been significantly revamped, and if I understand correctly there is only one network icon visible in the notification area that represents all available networks at once.

Article C3313 - March 9, 2008 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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6 Comments
Karen Foerter
March 14, 2008 6:59 PM

This did not work for me......there was no tick mark there, so I ticked it and then removed the tick....nothing......i am wondering if something is screwy with my xp program, cuz i have to set my mouse pointer speed up everytime i turn on my laptop....nothing else changes, so i am just wondering if changes are not being saved on shutdown.

good article tho, i forgot that method, i used to click on the taskbar, then properties, and then hide the icon.

rebakan
July 24, 2008 5:48 PM

Hi, Leo
I bought a laptop with broadband and Intel(R) Pro Wireless Network connection card installed,(the technician that installed my Internet said wireless network is not necessary for me to use) but my friends say I should use it,once I have this network adapter.I'm very confused about that. Can you help me? Is Wireless Network only for business purposes?
(Sorry for my bad English, you can edit this, to make shorter, if you want)
Thanks very much for all your help so many times!
rebakan

Karmvir
March 17, 2009 9:50 AM

hello,
i have lenovo S9 notbook. usually when i turn on my laptop its lan card icon and wi-fi icon on the taskbar appears after 3-4 mins. please tell me the solution to make them appear fasterwhen everything is displayed on the screen. its con. if 512MB RAM and 80 GB harddisk,1.6Ghz Processor.

Rouna
June 21, 2009 4:54 PM

Hi Leo,
I have tried what you said but then i realized that you wasn't talking about windows vista can you tell me how to fix a vista problem

catherine
August 31, 2009 10:52 AM

Leo hi, I have this icon which came out of nowhere.
I right clicked it and all i got was open user interface, help and close. It's called personal antivirus. I tryed programmes and can't find it . please help.
Regards,
Kate.

Rich A
September 9, 2009 9:43 AM

on my HP notebook computer, this method DOES work to remove the icon for the "copper" network adapter. However, selecting the "wireless" network adapter, and unchecking does not remove it from the notification are. (tryed unchecking, click OK, then open back, check it, click OK, open it back up, uncheck click OK. I even tryed restarting) I can't seem to get this icon to go away. I don't want to disable it, as I do use it from time to time (wireless). but it is a bit annoying when I am on a "fringe" wireless connection location (and connected thru copper) to have this icon telling me, it's connected, oops, it's not connected any more, oh, now it's connected.

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