Many, many hours of searching and I finally found the SOLUTION and it is SIMPLE to do (forget the WMI rebuild):
On Win 7 - go to Network Sharing; left side of page, select Manage Wireless Networks> Highlight one at a time and REMOVE ALL NETWORKS IN THE LIST (don't worry, you can reconnect later).
Reboot your computer, select your wireless network and connect (if secure, input your passphrase).
NO MORE GOLD ASTERISK!!!
(note: I never got it on XP)
I conclude that the OS (Win 7 in my case) keeps track of networks you have connected to along the way. Then the asterisk is posted to make you aware that OTHER (prior connected) NETWORKS ARE AVAILABLE - this does not mean those networks in the wireless network list in the Systray -
It DOES MEAN that more than one network has been connected to prior and is now listed in Network Sharing and therefore more than one is available.
Thanks to the one soul who posted the simple solution in a forum - sorry I didn't capture the name! That asterisk bugs the heck out of any person who monitors the health of their wireless system but actually means very little.
MS couldn't come up with a better way OR give a simple explanation? Not in any forum I visited including MS Technet nor Tom's Hardware, Major Geek or several others. Cheers one and all and good riddance to the gold asterisk!