How to find and delete unattached network interface cards (NICs) for Azure VMs

When you delete a virtual machine (VM) in Azure, the network interface cards (NICs) are not deleted by default. If you create and delete multiple VMs, the unused NICs continue to use the internal IP address leases. As you create other VM NICs, they may be unable to obtain an IP lease in the address space of the subnet. This article shows you how to find and delete unattached NICs.

Find and delete unattached NICs

The virtualMachine property for a NIC stores the ID and resource group of the VM the NIC is attached to. The following script loops through all the NICs in a subscription and checks if the virtualMachine property is null. If this property is null, the NIC is not attached to a VM.

To view all the unattached NICs, it's highly recommend to first run the script with the deleteUnattachedNics variable to 0. To delete all the unattached NICs after you review the list output, run the script with deleteUnattachedNics to 1.

# Set deleteUnattachedNics=1 if you want to delete unattached NICs
# Set deleteUnattachedNics=0 if you want to see the Id(s) of the unattached NICs

unattachedNicsIds=$(az network nic list --query '[?virtualMachine==`null`].[id]' -o tsv)
for id in ${unattachedNicsIds[@]}
   if (( $deleteUnattachedNics == 1 ))

       echo "Deleting unattached NIC with Id: "$id
       az network nic delete --ids $id
       echo "Deleted unattached NIC with Id: "$id
       echo $id

Next steps

For more information on how to create and manage virtual networks in Azure, see create and manage VM networks.