How to find saved wifi passwords on Windows
This articles applies to Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10.
Windows 8 changed the GUI immensely. Things that were intuitively easy in Windows 7 became a challenge in Windows 8, that is true for finding saved wifi profiles on your computer.
When you connect to a wireless network and select the option to remember the password Windows keeps that information handy in a wifi profile “list” that is saved on your system and used to pull the information and authenticate you to a wireless network next time you are within reach of the wireless network.
Many time people forget the password to their wireless network, after all once you connect your devices you don’t really need it for anything else. The question is: how do retrieve the saved wifi passwords? Windows 7 offered an easier option but for the sake of this article we'll concentrate on a command line utility that offers multiple wireless related options including the ability to reveal the saved wifi passwords. The netsh utility is like a swiss knife for troubleshooting, including the troubleshooting of wireless network communication.
Let’s elaborate with the following example but first of all you need to access the command line, there are many ways to access it but for me typing cmd in the search box and pressing enter is the easiest way. Something to keep in mind is that most netsh wlan commands wil run without any issues, only the netsh wlan show wlanreport requires to be ran as an administrator.
You want to find out all wireless networks your system have associated with and saved the profiles? Type the following command to see the wifi profile list:
netsh wlan show profile
Notice that when you type the command all saved wifi profiles will show, a good tip to remember here is that the list shows the profile in order, starting from the most recent saved connection at the top to the oldest connection at the bottom.
Once you see the saved wireless networks you can select that one you’d like to investigate further and find the password, for that you’d use the netsh utility again and substitute enter the name of the SSID you’d like to know the password for. The command is as follows:
netsh wlan show profile name=techwep24 key=clear
(in my case I want to know the password for techwep24, you substitute it with you SSID).
Let’s say you’d like to know the wireless radio type your card is compatible with: a, b, g, n.
For that you use:
netsh wlan show drivers
Do you want to know what the type of network frequency being broadcasted?
For that you use:
netsh wlan show all
And finally, do you want to know the details about your network connections?
netsh wlan show wlanreport
This command must be ran with administrative privileges. Once executed the report is saved in: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\WlanReport\wlan-report-latest.html
Those are the most common basic use of netsh wlan command. You can continue exploring the various options by typing netsh wlan /? to see all available switches.
Thank you for reading this article,
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