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How to get rid of auto-generated sequence number in network's device name in Windows?

Windows 7 shows 3 network connections under the "change adapter settings"... a local area connection and 2 wireless network connections (one hardware and one MS virtual WiFi miniport). I'm fine with this, but ever since I removed the old WiFi NIC and installed a new one, the wireless network connections have been renamed to wireless network connection 5 (hardware) and wireless network connection 6 (virtual). It's up to 5 and 6 because I had to reinstall the new WiFi NIC a few times to try out different driver versions. I uninstalled the drivers each and every time though.

Anyways, it used to be wireless network connection and wireless network connection 2. When I tried to rename them, Windows tells me that the name already exists; however, 1 thru 4 do not show up in the network connections. How do I delete the old connections if I don't even see them?

Also, I noticed something else about the wireless network connections. I noticed that the wireless network connection 5 used, for example, the name of my NIC (Atheros blah blah #2). The wireless network connection 6 used the MS virtual WiFi miniport #4. Where did the 2 and 4 come from? In the registry I noticed under HKLM\system\controlset001\control\network{4D36E972-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}\descriptions that the value data for the Atheros had 1 2, while the MS virtual's value data had 1 2 3 4. For comparison, my Realtek only had 1 for its value data. I wonder if I modified the value data and changed it to 1 on the Atheros and MS virtual that it'll change the name of the adapter (note that this is separate from the question above which is renaming the connection).

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marked as duplicate by DragonLord, Indrek, Mokubai, Diogo, Sirex Sep 23 '12 at 23:41

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1 Answer

In a command prompt run

C:\>set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1
C:\>devmgmt.msc

In the Device Manager window click View → Show hidden devices. Remove the greyed-out adapters under Network Adapters. These adapters had been present at some point in the past, but have been removed for one reason or the other.

To actually delete a network connection you have to remove the physical adapter, and then remove the device from Windows as described above.

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Seriously thank you, it's so obvious and yet I have overlooked it for all these years. Surprising how many disabled hidden no longer drivers show up. I was able to remove the # numbering by removing the disabled and active driver and re-scanning for hardware changes; fyi also didn't need to do the command line bit. –  Daniel Sokolowski Jul 18 '13 at 2:32
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