With just a bit of digging, Windows will let you see your wifi password

WiFi iconEver had a visitor that you wanted to let use your wifi, only to discover that you don’t know what the password is? About the only decent thing that BT ever seems to have done is print your wifi identification (the SSID) and password onto a plastic card that slots into the back or the side of your router. Even that’s not foolproof, as it can get lost, or someone with enough IT skills to be dangerous may have got into your router and changed the password.

Luckily, there’s a way in Windows that you can get to see the password. It takes a few steps, but all you need to do is follow them and all will be revealed. And, for all those people still ignoring Microsoft’s scary popups urging you to stop using Windows 7, these steps work on Windows 7, 8, and 10.

  • Right-click the wifi icon on the taskbar (four concentric quarter circles)
  • Left-click on “Open Network and Internet settings”
  • Scroll down and left-click on “Network and Sharing Center”
  • Left-click on the link to your own wifi (see illustration below)
  • On the dialog box that has just popped up, click on “Wireless Properties”
  • Click on the “Security” tab at the top of the box
  • Put a tick in the box to the left of “Show characters” by clicking in the box
  • Et voila – your wireless password is revealed next to “Network security key”

Link to Wifi connection
With a bit of extra work, you can even find all the passwords of networks that the computer has been connected to previously. Your computer won’t know, of course, if the password to any particular network has been changed since your computer was connected to it. It can only show the password as it was when you connected to it.

Key

  • Tap the Windows Start button and type “cmd” (without the quotes)
  • Tap on “Command Prompt App” that should have come up at the lefthandside of the screen
  • Type the following command (without the quotes) “netsh wlan show profile” followed by the Enter key. This will list all the wifi networks you have connected to
  • To find the password of any of these networks, type “netsh wlan show profile wifinetwork key=clear” (wihout the quotes, and replacing “wifinetwork” with the name of the network whose password you wish to see). Then hit the Enter key
  • Under the heading “Security Settings”, the text listed against “Key Content” is the password
  • Type “exit” (without the quotes) and Enter key to close the Command window

A slightly shorter blog post than normal this week, but hopefully a potentially useful one.

© 2011-2019 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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