Forgotten your Wi-Fi password? Here’s how to find it

wi-fi password

I often can’t remember my Wi-Fi password, which is a pain when I need to add a new laptop or phone to the network. Fortunately, there are many ways to find wireless network passwords that go beyond physically checking your router.

Find your Wi-Fi password in Windows if you’re already connected

By far the easiest way to find your Wi-Fi password is to press Windows + R, which brings up the Run command in Windows. Now type in “ncpa.cpl” (without the quote marks) and press Enter.

The following dialog box will appear:

Windows network connections

Now right-click on the network marked Wi-Fi and choose Status. You’ll see the left-hand window below, at which point you should select Wireless Properties, then click the Security tab and then “Show characters”.

can't remember my Wi-Fi password dialog boxes

There is a more long-winded way to find your Wi-Fi password that’s easier to remember.

First, load up the Control Panel (type “Control Panel” in the Windows search box). This will bring up this familiar window:

Windows control panel

Click on “Network and Internet” and then click on “View network status and tasks”.

control panel networking centre

Now click on your active network connection, next to the four green signal strength bars. This will bring up the same dialog box we saw above, but I’ll repeat it (and the successive dialog boxes) below.

find Wi-Fi passwords dialog boxes

You bring up the middle dialog box by clicking on “Wireless Properties” and the right-hand dialog box by selecting the Security tab.

Now simply tick the “Show characters” box and your password will be revealed.

How to find a stored password in Windows

Every time you connect to a new wireless network in Windows, you’re asked if you would like to save the network. There is a way to access all those saved Wi-Fi passwords.

First, type “Command prompt” into your Windows search box. Right-click on the button that appears and select “Run as an administrator”.

If you know the name of your saved network, type in the following command:

netsh wlan show profile name="yourprofilename" key=clear

Where yourprofilename is the name of your wireless network. For example, BTWholeHome-SCP in my case.

command prompt to find Wi-Fi password

Press Enter and a Matrix-like flood of information will appear. Scroll up until you see “Security settings”.

command prompt to find Wi-Fi password

I’ve blurred out my password – next to “Key Content” – but that’s where it will be.

If you don’t know the exact name of the network you’re trying to dig out a password for, type the following command into Command Prompt:

netsh wlan show profiles

After which a flood of past saved networks will appear, so you’ll have to scroll through to find the right one.

READ THIS NEXT: How do I change my Sky Wi-Fi password?

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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