There are a few ways to enable or disable your wi-fi adapter on a laptop for example.
Some laptops have a switch located on the front facing edge.
Others can be enabled or disabled via the use of the Fn key of the laptop being held down and pressing the numbered key at the top of the keyboard with the wi-fi symbol on it at the same time. They are Hardware switches.
In windows 8 that setting will be grayed out.
Because you have not in fact turned the device on by the two methods above.
Since it is not the windows driver has not been loaded because the hardware has not presented it`s self.
Since it is a software driver.