Yes, there are at least two ways that I can think of: disable the network
card, or turn off the “show icon” option. It’s probably the later one that you
really want, but most people don’t even know it exists.
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To be clear, we’re talking about the icon(s) that appear in what’s called
the “notification area”, or more commonly, “that place down in the lower right
of the screen where the clock is”:
Here you can see a single network icon visible, since I’ve already actually
turned off any others.
Right click on the network icon you want to change, and click on
Now click on the Properties button:
You can see I’ve indicated the setting you care about: uncheck Show
icon in notification area when connected as well as Notify me
when this connection has limited or no connectivity.
That should get you what you want.
The other alternative is a tad more drastic, but in the case of your
laptop’s wireless card it will actually lengthen your battery life.
Back at the Connection dialog above, click on the Disable
button, instead of Properties. This will actually disable the
network connection, and in the case of most wireless cards, turn off the
associated hardware. If you’re not using your wireless, then this will cut down
on your power usage.
To re-enable a disabled network interface, simply go to Control
Panel, Network Connections. There you should see a
list of all the available connections, regardless of state:
Here you can see that one of my network connections is, indeed, disabled. If
I right click on that connection, the option to enable it appears:
Note that this applies to Windows XP. In Windows Vista this has been
significantly revamped, and if I understand correctly there is only one network
icon visible in the notification area that represents all available networks at