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How to View That Forgotten Wireless Network Password in Windows

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Did you have someone else set up the wireless network in your house, and can’t for the life of you remember the password? If so read on to see how you may still be able to recover it.

Note: Unfortunately this trick will only work if you are a local administrator on your machine, if you are not you will be prompted by UAC for administrative credentials.

Viewing Your Wireless Password From an Already Connected Machine

To view your wireless network password we need to get to the settings for your network adapter, so press the Win + R keyboard combination and type ncpa.cpl in the run box, then hit the enter key.

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You will now see all the network adapters in your machine, right-click on the wireless one and select Status from the context menu.

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When the Wi-Fi Status dialog loads up, click on the Wireless Properties button.

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Then you will need to switch over to the Security tab.

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Finally, check the Show characters checkbox to reveal your password.

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That’s all there is to it.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 06/22/13

Comments (14)

  1. priyanka

    nice one.. !! really in need this trick .. !!

  2. Karan

    What’s the skin/theme used here, which gives pointed corners to windows and buttons?

  3. SatoMew

    @Karan, it’s the default theme in Windows 8 Release Preview.

  4. Mike

    Tried the retrieve the forgotton network password. Got to the last screen and tried the check the ‘show characters’ box but it was ‘greyed out’ so it would not let me. Any suggestions please.

  5. simmy

    Does not always display.

  6. Parker

    What do you do when the “show characters” is “grayed out” and you can’t put a check mark there?

  7. Randy

    When I put the .cpl extension in the RUN box and click ENTER, I get the program “RESTORATOR”. Is this because I chose this program to open these .cpl extensions? If so how do I change or what do I put to get the Wireless Adapters box?

  8. Art€

    Yep, good one, thanks. I needed that some time ago (got it now on my sticky notes), but when looking for a friends key then it will be extremely useful. Great B;-)

  9. megageektutorials

    I don’t know if this works on windows 8 but simply going to your wifi in your system tray in the task bar with the wifi strength. Click it to view your wifi networks, right click the one you want to find the password for, right click it and click Properties. A bit simpler then this method.

  10. Joseph

    So much for security! One has to be extra careful to choose AND PROTECT an admin password. Otherwise you are leaving a wide-open door into your system.

    FORTUNATELY this trick will only work if you are a local administrator on your machine!

  11. Joy

    Great!

  12. spike

    Also, you can use a utility such as Cain to get these back.

  13. CyberPrince

    Hahaha old news! i knew it ;-) by the way! who people forgot thats good tutorial ;)

  14. James Mason

    Nirsoft has an excellent wpa/wpa2 password recovery tool on their site that will scan the registry and pull all ssid’s and passwords that have been used

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