We’ve all been there: you’ve forgotten your Wi-Fi password. Say you have a new phone or tablet or another computer in the office that you want to connect to the WiFi, but the password is saved on yours or another computer and you don’t remember it. Don’t fret – there are ways you can get it back.
While there are a few ways it can be done (and Windows 8 and 10 have some methods of finding this information in the control panel), I’ve found this the easiest as it works on all the versions of Windows. Basically, you need a computer that either is currently connected to the wireless network you’re trying to access, or has connected at one point or another to the wireless network you’re trying to access.
It’s a bit geeky, but the simplest way is to run a couple command-line commands as an administrator (if you don’t have administrator access, you need to talk to somebody who does) on a computer that is currently connected or that has been connected to the wireless network you need access to. If you have that access, open the run dialog by hitting “Windows-Key-R”, type “cmd” and hit enter. You’ll see a command-line prompt. At that prompt, type:
netsh wlan show profiles
You’ll get a list of all the saved networks the computer has connected to:
Look at that list for the network you’re trying to connect to and then type:
netsh wlan show profile "networkname" key=clear
Substituting networkname for the network you’re trying to get on to. Run that command, and then look at the “Key Content” field in the results (I’ve obscured it below for obvious reasons) – that should be the password you need:
There are some other ways you might be able to find it in the router’s settings or via the dialogs found in Windows 8 or 10 or via the router’s or access point’s interface. But the above method will work on Windows 7 and higher. Both methods will require administrator access. NirSoft’s WirelessKeyView will also provide the same information in a nice format, but the above commands will get at it without using additional software.