Last Updated on April 24, 2019
Imagine this scenario: For some time now, you’ve been using your wireless connection at home on your Windows 10 PC and lately, you’ve acquired a new tablet or a smartphone and need to connect it to your Wireless network. The only thing that’s standing in your way is the WIFI password. Yet, unfortunately, you cannot remember the password.
The example above illustrates a common occurrence: people forget their wi-fi passwords. Understandably so, because once the PC connects automatically, everything is pretty much set, and when weeks, months or even years elapse without ever changing or reconnecting afresh with the password, chances are high that users will forget their password combination and be compelled to reset the router or access point.
This doesn’t have to be so. If you are facing such a situation, don’t panic. Fortunately, there are a few tricks that will help you find your old WIFI password and get your life back on track ????
How to get your password back
There are two main ways you can achieve this.
Method 1: Recovering the Password from network settings
To find the wifi password in Windows 10, follow the following steps;
- Hover and Right click on the Wi-Fi icon located at the bottom left corner of Windows 10 Taskbar and click on ‘Open Network and Internet Settings’.
- Under ‘Change your network settings’ click on ‘Change Adapter Options’.
Similarly, you can access the ‘Change Adapter options’ selection by clicking on the ‘Start’ button, selecting the ‘Settings’ option and finally clicking on ‘Network and Internet’ option. At the right pane under ‘change your network settings’ locate Change Adapter options’
- In the next Window, locate your WiFi network adapter and right click on it. Select ‘Status’ option.
- In the resulting ‘Wi-Fi status pop-up locate and click on ‘Wireless Properties’ button.
- Click on the ‘Security’ Tab in the pop-up window that appears and check the ‘Show characters’ checkbox.
And voila! the encrypted password will be displayed in plain text in the ‘Network Security Key’ text field. ????
Method 2: Recovering the wifi password on Command Prompt in Windows 10
For tech-savvy users, the command prompt tool comes in handy and the entire process of uncovering the password is reduced to a few short commands. To accomplish this,
- Type ‘Command Prompt in the Cortana search bar. Right-click as select ‘Run as Administrator‘option
- To display a list of Wi-Fi connections you have recently connected to in the past run the command below
netsh wlan show profile
- To reveal the password of one of the networks, run
netsh wlan show profile "Wi-FI name" key=clear
Replace the “Wi-Fi name” with the actual SSID of the Wireless network. In the example below, I’m going to reveal the password of ‘Valley Office’ Wi-Fi network.
netsh wlan show profile "Valley Office" key=clear
Scroll down and Locate ‘Key Content’ under ‘Security Settings’.
The unencrypted password will be displayed in plain text characters.
Copy the password and use it to authenticate your new device. Hopefully, If the management of the place has not changed the password, it should work just fine.
Recovering forgotten password in Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows 7
This procedure of password retrieval is pretty close to the one in Windows 10.
Method 1 – Using the Network and Sharing settings
- First, right click on the Wi-Fi icon and select “Open Network and Sharing Center” option
This can alternatively be accessed by clicking on Start > Control Panel
Under ‘Control Panel’ Head out to ‘Network and Sharing Center’
- Right click on the Current Wi-Fi SSID as defined by ‘Connections’ and select ‘Status’
- Click on ‘Wireless Properties’
- Click on the Security tab and check the ‘Show characters’ option at which point, the unencrypted password will be displayed in plain text
Method 2 – Using Command Prompt
As earlier seen in Windows 10 & 8, the procedure of unveiling the forgotten password remains the same Open Command Prompt with Administrative privileges.
- Run the following command to display a history of Wi-Fi networks accessed by your PC.
netsh wlan show profiles
- Scroll down and locate ‘User Profiles’. The list of Wi-Fi SSIDs will be displayed.
To reveal a password for any one of them the last time you made a connection run
netsh wlan show profile "Wi-FI name" key=clear
Where “Wi-FI” name denotes the SSID of the Wi-Fi connection.
- Next, scroll down to ‘Security Settings’ and locate ‘Key content’
Right adjacent the last plaintext password used of the Wi-Fi you connected to will be displayed.
Using a router’s Web interface to display the password
I’m sure by now you already have your password back ???? Fantastic, isn’t it? If for some reason you are still stuck, logging in to your Wi-Fi router via a web interface and locating the Wi-Fi settings can do the trick. Here, you can find all your Wi-Fi network settings. The assumption here is that your home Wi-Fi router supports configuration via a browser. For popular home router vendors see Dlink and see NetGear.
In the example below, I’m logged in to my D-Link home router via the router’s default gateway – 172.16.10.1. The default gateway is the main thing that you’ll have to find in order to display the password. Search Google for “YOUR ROUTER MODEL default gateway” (and replace YOUR ROUTER MODEL with the actual model or your router) to know what yours is.
To view my password, I’ll navigate to ‘Wi-Fi Connections’ Tab at the Left Pane.
- Security Mode
- Cipher Type
- Wireless Channel
- Network Key or Password
Scrolling down, the network key will be displayed in plain text as shown.
Other web-based router vendors have a similar setup that will also allow you to navigate to Wi-Fi settings an unearth your Password. If you wish, you can reset your Wireless network’s SSID and Password as well and start all over. These changes come to effect upon a reboot of your router.
In this article, we have outlined steps to take when you want to find your lost password. With the handy tricks outlined, it should now be a walk in the park getting it back. Ultimately, when your efforts hit a snag, you can always give a shot at resetting the Wi-Fi’s password. We hope that we have addressed your worries and life can go on again.