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After disabling most of my connections (all except one actually) I am surprised to go to the task manager, network tab and see two connections there.

Picture of the connections in control panel:

enter image description here

Picture of task manager screen:

enter image description here

EDIT: As it turns out, it was a virtual adapter that was installed by a program. Uninstalling the program removed the adapter. Why did it not show up as an adapter in the first place in the networking center in the control panel?

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Have you tried clicking on it with the mouse, then pressing the "Delete" key on the keyboard (or right-clicking then choosing "Delete")? – Randolf Richardson Aug 8 '11 at 17:11
A lot of these are virtual connections - are you sure that one isn't as well? Can you find what adapter it's on? – Shinrai Aug 8 '11 at 17:11
@Randolf: The Delete option isn't available for built-in adapters. – Tom Wijsman Aug 8 '11 at 17:14
@Tom Wijsman: It's not on my Windows 7 laptop (even though I have BlueTooth drivers installed). What do you mean by "built-in" in this context? – Randolf Richardson Aug 8 '11 at 17:20
@Randolf: I actually mean physical, rather than virtual. – Tom Wijsman Aug 8 '11 at 20:12
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The proper way to disable connections that you will not use on a daily basis is in the device manager.

Open the device manager, under Network adapters disable the adapters you don't use.

In my highly tweaked set-up it looks like this, in your case the Atheros AR8131 can be disabled:

enter image description here

Under View, the Show hidden devices option shows more devices, be careful with them.

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Would these adapters also show up in the networking center under adapters? That is how I was disabling the rest of the connections. Why would a connection be in one place and not the other? – soandos Aug 8 '11 at 17:19
Regarding the Hidden Devices, I've encountered a few which can't be deleted outside of Safe Mode. (+1 for this great answer, especially because of the "be careful with them" warning.) – Randolf Richardson Aug 8 '11 at 17:23
@soandos: Only those that can serve an internet connection towards your applications would show up in the networking center, other adapters are meant to support extra features. Like asynchroneous RAS, IPv6, IKE and so on. For example, disabling PPPOE would result in the inability to use a dial-up connection... – Tom Wijsman Aug 8 '11 at 20:14

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