How to recover a “WiFi” password from a Windows PC.

Or, “I’ve forgotten my Wireless password and don’t know how to retrieve it from my Windows 7 PC.”

I didn’t either, until today.

The background was that a customer was trying to add an iPad to their home network, and wasn’t able to, because they forgot their WiFi password.  So they called up.

There are three ways I found to recover a WiFI password.

1. WirelessKeyView by NirSoft.
This utility works, but some anti-virus products report it as malware.  That is a bit of a put off for (less experienced) end users.
wirelesskeyview

WirelessKeyiew has the advantage of working on Windows XP as well.

2. LastPass.
The LastPass password manager has a built-in WiFi password import tool.  It works very well, but the flaw with LastPass is that you need to convince your user to install it, which means getting the user to sign up for a free account.
Lastpass WiFi 

3. Use the built-in Windows “netsh” command.
From an administrator command line, type:
     netsh wlan export profile key=clear
and then press Enter.

Interface profile "GoldFish" is saved in file ".\Wireless Network Connection
-GoldFish.xml" successfully.

This will cause “Wireless profile file(s)” to be written to the current directory.  Here is the contents of the Wireless Network Connection file for my GoldFish WiFi network.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<WLANProfile xmlns="http://www.microsoft.com/networking/WLAN/profile/v1">
    <name>GoldFish</name>
    ....
    ....
    ....
            <sharedKey>
                <keyType>passPhrase</keyType>
                <protected>false</protected>
                <keyMaterial>T-Man Colt 1911 These Boy Billards</keyMaterial>
            </sharedKey>
    ....
    ....
    ....
</WLANProfile>

 

My GoldFish WiFi is highlighted in blue above, between the <keyMaterial> fields.
ie. “T-Man Colt 1911 These Boy Billards”