As soon as I installed Windows 8.1 on my laptop, I noticed a pretty big annoyance: the absence of the "Forget this network" option in the Networks pane. I was left with no intuitive way of removing wireless networks that no longer worked because their password has been changed. How do you get around this problem and remove wireless networks in Windows 8.1? Let's find out in this tutorial.
How It Worked in Windows 8
In Windows 8, when you want to remove a wireless network, you open the Networks pane (this tutorial explains how: How to Manage Wireless Network Connections & Profiles in Windows 8) and right-click or press and hold the network you wanted removed.
A contextual menu is opened and it includes the option to "Forget this network".
Easy, isn't it?
Unfortunately, in Windows 8.1 you can no longer right-click in the Networks pane and there's no contextual menu being displayed. Why? I wish I knew!
How to Forget a Wireless Network in Windows 8.1 - The Visual Way
But, Windows 8.1 does offer a visual way of removing wireless networks, which is not that obvious if you ask me. In Windows 8.1 you can remove/forget a wireless network only after you try to connect to it. The network has to be in range and visible to your laptop or tablet. If it isn't, you can't remove it using the visual interface of Windows 8.1.
If the network is available, here's how its done:
In the Networks pane, select the network you want removed and click Connect.
If Windows 8.1 can't connect to it, you are displayed an error message and a button that says "Forget network".
Click or tap on it and the data is removed. Now you can reconnect to the network as if it were a newly detected network.
How to Forget a Wireless Network in Windows 8.1 - The Command Prompt Way
Fortunately, you can still remove any wireless network profile stored by Windows 8.1, even if the network is not in range. But, you do need to get your hands dirty and use the Command Prompt.
Start the Command Prompt as administrator and type the following command:
netsh wlan show profiles.
It will display all the wireless network profiles stored by Windows 8.1. The list can be long if you used your laptop or tablet for more than a couple of weeks.
Identify the name of the wireless network profile you want removed, then type the following command to remove it:
netsh wlan delete profile name="profile name".
As an example, I wanted to remove a wireless network profile named swisscom and I typed:
netsh wlan delete profile name="swisscom".
Feeling geeky? :)
How to Forget All Wireless Networks in Windows 8.1
In some scenarios you may need to remove all the wireless network profiles stored in Windows 8.1. Luckily, you don't have to remove them one by one. That would be really awful.
All you have to do is to type this command:
netsh wlan delete profile name=* i=*.
You will see it deleting all profiles in less than a second.
netsh command has many other parameters than the ones shared in this article. If you want to learn more about it, I recommend reading its documentation on TechNet: Netsh Commands for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).
Windows 8.1 brings not only good and welcome changes like the Start button and many others, but also backward changes like the lack of visual tools for managing network profiles. I do hope they will fix this problem and bring back the tools that were available in Windows 7 and Windows 8.