Home > Contemplations > How To Change The Network Adapter Priority In Windows 7

How To Change The Network Adapter Priority In Windows 7

For a while after I got my Windows 7 computer I had no idea why it preferred to keep connected to my home wireless network over the wired network but that seems to be the default setting that Microsoft uses. Finally after scouring the interwebs I found the answer – it is very much the same as doing this in Vista so if you know how to do that you can probably stop reading. The problem with the wireless connection being preferred vs the wired connection for me is that the wired is a faster than wireless. As well, for me when I hit the “Turn off wireless connection” quick key on my laptop it turns off Bluetooth as well which is often annoying. Today, I thought I’d share with you the solution for telling your computer which network connection it should prefer.

Two things I thought I’d mention before we begin:

  1. To be clear, for this post I am using Windows 7 Home Premium with Service Pack 1 installed and all images and screen caps come from that version.
  2. All images can be clicked on to be full sized. They are downsized only so they can fit in the constraints of my WordPress blog’s theme.

First things first. You got to get to the network settings! Go to the Start Menu and click on “Control Panel” on the right hand side.

Start Menu Windows 7 Control Panel Selected

For the purposes of this post I am going to assume things are set to default settings so your Control Panel should be organized by ‘category.’ Now that you are in Control Panel you will see a number of different categories for setting on your computer as shown in the screen cap below. You are going to be looking for – as highlighted below – the “Network and Internet” category and click the line which reads “View network status and tasks.”

Windows 7 Control Panel Network & Internet

Once you click there you will be brought to the “Network and Sharing Center” which will look something like the image below. Notice how I am connected to two different connections at once for the internet and the basic network information says from my computer to the internet there are “multiple networks.” But none of that really matters right now because we are quickly going to be moving out of this screen. On your left hand side of the screen you’ll see the option (highlighted in red in the picture below) to “Change adapter settings.”

Windows 7 Network & Sharing Center Change Adapter Settings

Once you have clicked the option to “Change adapter settings” you will be brought to another screen. Now, you may have noticed in Windows 7 that since Windows XP Microsoft has decided to do away with by default showing the familiar “File, Edit, Options, Help” Toolbar (aka the Menu Toolbar). As such, in order to get it to show anywhere in Windows what you need to do is hit the ALT button. Once you have revealed the Menu Toolbar* which is highlighted below in red click “Advanced” and then in the sub-menu that is shown go to to “Advanced Settings” also highlighted in red in the screen cap.

*There is a way to lock the Menu Toolbar there but we’ll deal with that another time.

Windows 7 Network Connections Advanced Settings in Menu toolbar

Now you are in the Advanced Settings and you are almost done! The Advanced Settings screen as shown below has, like other screen caps I have shown, only been altered to include red highlighting boxes. You will see in the window two tabs but don’t worry, we are staying in the first one. Below that, you will see the instructions “Connections are listed in the order in which they are accessed by network services.” As you can see in my screenshot, my Wireless Network Connections are first in the list. This is why, until now, my computer was accessing wireless as the primary connection even when it was connected to a wired connection – here called Local Area Connection.

Windows 7 Network Connections Advanced Settings Window

To the right of the “Connections” box you will see two arrows. Highlight the connection you would like to reorder (in this case Local Area Connection) and it will indicate to you where you can move it in the list. If the arrows are both green it means you can move the connection either up or down in the list, if one is grayed out it means you can’t move the connection in that direction in the list. As you can see, my Local Area Connection is at the bottom of the list so the down arrow is grayed out whereas the up arrow is green. All you have to do to move it to the top of the list is make sure you have the connection highlighted and click the arrow until you get the connection to the position you want. Then, click the “OK” button at the bottom and you’re done!

  1. Ian
    December 17, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Further to my post of Oct 21, you might like to know I fixed it by replacing the network card (actually the original was on the mother board) as it became evident the original was intermittent. Now I have a superfast wired connection and a wireless one that still links across to the wireless printer. I’ve also been able to extend the home netwrok via HomePlugs and ethernet connections through the house to the main TV, thus providing internet for catch-up TV services. Maybe only in the UK will this be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity! Anyway, I pleased with my success!
    Merry Christmas to All.

  2. Paul Gerolimi
    January 17, 2014 at 10:27 am

    Before reading this it was an IT spaghetti bowl.
    Now it’s SO SIMPLE!
    Thanks Dan

    • January 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      You are very, very welcome, Paul!

  3. Bazza
    March 4, 2014 at 3:54 am

    Brilliant and so clearly explained. Was driving me nuts here in NZ

  4. Haresh
    March 14, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Great !!
    It helped solved the problem.
    With route print, i can now confirm that wired connection is indeed the adapter chosen to send the traffic.
    Thanks Keith and Dan. Appreciate your help.

  5. donna
    March 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    thank you to the stars and back!

  6. Joe
    March 29, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Hey,but when I wanted to open the advanced setting,it always appear “iphlpsvc.dll is using the same……please close iphlpsvc.dll to proceed.” How to fix it?

  7. March 31, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I have a situation where I need the computer to switch to my cell phone hot spot while my router is still operational, but its internet connection has died. This is a stock market application so speed is important. Once we’ve identified a problem with the normal communication method we need to switch to the backup internet connection (hot spot from a cell phone).
    How can I force Windows to drop the normal wifi connection and hook up with the hot spot instead when Windows sees this alternate network connection has come up.

  8. Mark
    April 1, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Tried all of the above, even to the extent of swapping the metrics so the wired was higher than the wireless, just in case there was something really screwy going on. Checked the default metrics by doing route print. On my machine, wired was 10, wireless 22. I swapped so that I had wired 1 and wireless 50 then wired 50 and wireless 1.The metrics were used as typed. They were not added to the default metrics as suggested earlier but there is every chance that there are differences in Windows that could cause the behaviours to be different. In the end nothing I tried would force my Windows 7 Pro laptop to disconnect from the wireless when an ethernet cable was introduced.

  9. Ravi
    April 4, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Fantastic and thanks a ton Dan.

  10. Brett
    May 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks – it was a little bit different on my windows 7 but I changed the metric values and it has done the preference change I was after

  11. January 25, 2015 at 3:24 pm


  12. Rob
    March 10, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Great post… but I’m not sure if this is working.

    My Goal:
    1) While leaving the Wifi on laptops enabled, ensure that when my users connect via network cable at their desk, that the LAN Adapter is being used for connectivity instead of wifi adapter
    2) Have a way to confirm traffic is flowing over the LAN adapter instead of wifi

    I’ve tried all of the above recommendations, but am really not sure if it’s working because the wifi module is still connected (both the Windows wifi and Lenovo “Wifi Access Connections”.

    1) Should the wifi adapter disconnect if the laptop is connecting over the LAN?
    a) The wifi adapater currently DOES NOT disconnect, does that mean this fix isn’t working for me?
    2) If the wifi adapter remains on even if the laptop is successfully connecting via the LAN Adapter, how can I prove it? Is there a utility that identifies which adapter traffic is flowing over?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback… and again, this post has been very helpful.


  13. Not Likely
    June 24, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Yup, this helped me today.

    December 27, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Nicely explained ! Got it after a long google search.
    Will try it.

  15. André
    March 28, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Great help ! Very clear and well explained. Many thanks. Merci beaucoup de Montreal !

Comment pages
  1. October 21, 2014 at 11:57 am
  2. October 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

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