How to Forget A Network On Windows 10

What to do when you need to clean your Wi-Fi network list

A man in a cafe drinking coffee and using a Windows 10 laptop.

BetsieVanDerMeer / Taxi / GettyImages

If Wi-Fi network conflicts are making it difficult to connect your Windows 10 computer, laptop, or tablet to the internet, manually forcing your device to forget a few of them may fix the problem and get you online. Here's everything you need to know about removing previous internet connection information from a Windows 10 device.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10.

How to Forget a Network on Windows 10

When you make a Windows 10 device forget a network, it essentially removes any previous history you had with that connection and makes your device treat it as a completely new network that it's never used before.

Forgetting an internet connection will delete any basic login information associated with it such as a Wi-Fi username and password.

Clearing a network connection won't delete any downloads, web history, search history, browser extensions, or bookmarks. That type of information should be deleted from within Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Brave, or any other internet browser you use.

  1. Select the Windows key or Start to bring up the Start Menu.

    Screenshot of Windows 10 Start Menu
  2. Select the Settings gear icon to open Settings.

    You can also open Settings by swiping in from the right side of the screen on a touch-enabled device and tapping on All settings from the Action Center.

    Screenshot of Settings gear in Start Menu
  3. Select Network & Internet in Windows Settings.

    Screenshot of Network & Internet in Windows Settings
  4. Select Wi-Fi in the left pane of the Network & Internet window.

    Screenshot of Network & Internet window
  5. Select Manage known networks.

    Screenshot of Wi-Fi window
  6. From the list of networks, select the one you want to remove.

    Screenshot of Manage Known Networks
  7. Select Forget.

    There is no confirmation step when removing an internet connection. As soon as you click on Forget, the network will be immediately removed.

    Screenshot of Forget button in Manage Known Networks window
  8. That network connection will be removed from your Windows 10 device.

Alternate Ways to Open Network & Internet Settings on Windows 10

While the final steps involved in removing a network from a Windows 10 device are the same no matter which method you use, there are alternative ways to get to the Network & Internet and Wi-Fi settings steps mentioned above.

  • Alternate Method 1: From the Windows 10 taskbar, the horizontal bar of icons that runs along the bottom of the screen, locate the Wi-Fi internet icon and right-click on it with your mouse. A shortcut to the Network & Internet settings will appear. Click that to jump straight to that page within the Settings app.
  • Alternate Method 2: Click on the Notification icon in the lower-right corner of the screen to open the Action Center and right-click on the Wi-Fi internet connection icon. Click Go to Settings to jump directly to the Windows 10 Wi-Fi settings page.
  • Alternate Method 3: If your Windows 10 device has a touchscreen like the Surface line of products, swipe in from the right side of the screen to open the Action Center and perform a long press on the Wi-Fi icon. This will activate the same Go to Settings shortcut mentioned in the previous method. Tap it to jump to your device's Wi-Fi settings.

Why People Clear Their Networks on Windows 10

While there aren't any major reasons to clear your list of wireless networks on a Windows 10 device, there are a couple of situations that can prompt people to remove a network or two.

  • You're experiencing network conflicts. Sometimes, if you've previously connected to several Wi-Fi internet connections within the same area, your Windows 10 device may keep connecting to the wrong network. For example, if your laptop continues to connect to the Wi-Fi from the café across the road instead of the faster, more secure one in your apartment, making Windows 10 forget the café's network should fix the problem.
  • You're going to lend your device to someone. If someone else is planning to borrow your Windows 10 computer for a while, it can be a good idea to clear your wireless network history to prevent them from accessing your internet. This can be particularly useful if lending your device to one of your children to do homework, for example, and you don't want them to be tempted by Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, Facebook or other online services.