I can easily disable a network device via something like:

$wmi = gwmi win32_networkadapter -filter "name LIKE '$target%'"

or in newer Windows versions:

get-netadapter -InterfaceDescription "$target*" | Disable-NetAdapter -Confirm:$false

If a disabled device (e.g. a USB-to-Ethernet adapter) is physically unplugged, it will again identify as disabled when it is plugged back in.

I can re-enable using similar code, but ONLY if the device is physically connected.

  • WMI is able to return the adapter, but the "enable()" method gives an "Invalid method Parameter(s) " error.
  • Get-NetAdapter returns nothing if the device is not present.

How can I enable it when it is not physically present so that it will work when it is re-connected? IOW, where is the "disabled" status of a device stored, and can it be programmatically flipped?


  • You could register a listener that waits for devices to be detected (plugged in), then trigger the device to be enabled. – root Nov 2 '17 at 21:06

The reason why it needs to be connected is the fact that the '$target%'

changes based on what else is connected. It is not a static value. As suggested in the comments, the best method would be to have a listener and re-enable based on changes with the appropriate '$target%' value.

As far as where this is stored, it would be in Registry:


is one location, where the identifier at the end is specific for each device. However:

Enabling a network adapter by looking for a single key to trigger in the registry doesn't work. By doing a file compare on exported .reg files before and after a network connection is enabled, you can see that many changes in the registry were implemented. Thus the listener is the best approach

  • I don't think the problem is the $target filtering. WMI queries without any filters don't return the disconnected device either. – Teknowledgist Nov 3 '17 at 12:32
  • If there isn't a single place (or two) in the registry, then I guess I have to accept the listener suggestion. I'm not thrilled with that because the listener may sit there for eternity (if the device never returns). By "listener", do you mean a scheduled task with an event trigger, or is there some other mechanism which which I'm not familiar? – Teknowledgist Nov 3 '17 at 12:39

You might be able to listen for the WMI InstanceCreationEvent and enable the device on creation. I don't have a similar device so I can't test this.

function Register-USB2ETH {

    $query = "SELECT * FROM __InstanceCreationEvent " +
         "WITHIN 5 " +
         "WHERE TargetInstance ISA 'Win32_NetworkAdapter' " +
         "AND TargetInstance.Name = $target "

    Register-WmiEvent -Query $query -SourceIdentifier USB2ETH -Action { (Get-WmiObject Win32_NetworkAdapter -filter "Name=$target").Enable() } | Out-Null

Remove with Unregister-Event -SourceIdentifier KingstonPlugin.

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