Recovering a lost wireless password in Windows 7!

Recovering the password for a protected network.

It can be difficult sometimes to recover a password for a home wireless network or a small to large business. There are several ways to recover such sensitive data and I would trust you to recover in all honesty for the sake and security of the business you work for or even your home network.

So how do I recover the key if I don’t know the gateway login to my router?

Situations like this, the end user will likely default their router to recover the sensitive data but after defaulting they then realize that the SSID key has now been wiped out. The problem now is that all other trusted devices will be disconnected and the set up for the router; well that’s just common sense, you would need to set up your static all over again (if applies) and your security as well.

The best solution to this… Use other devices in your house, trusted devices that have already been able to connect. Windows 7 is the protagonist in this role. Windows 7 enables the use of wireless profiles to be saved for faster connections to be made within the broadcasted range of the SSID. Btw SSID is the network name you see appear in your Wireless Manager. I.e.

Bat_Cave; Starbucks; Barnes & Noble Wifi etc.

TIP #!

SSID - service set identification; two categories apply to SSID

bSSID - basic service set identification

This applies to ad hoc wireless networks that do not have access points

eSSID - extended service set identification

An infrastructure wireless network that has an access point; however this term can be used either SSID or eSSID. You will see eSSID with Point to Point; backhauls, switches, subscriber modules or comtrols; there are tons others but I won’t stress other device types.

Rarely will you connect to an AP, likely the type of service you receive depends on what you connect to, radio equipment like Canopy, Ubiquiti and Motorola are technologies you will see that are wireless based. What you are seeing is coming from a smaller device within your home or office network. If you use a Verizon air card, it’s likely connecting to a nearby AP or a nearby radio which is pointing to an AP.

Back to reality now, in order to locate profiles used in Windows 7 we head to the location by two categories of view in the control panel:

Small Icons
Start > Control Panel > Network and Sharing > Manage Wireless Networks (This can be found in the left navigation within the vertical blue strip.)

Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing > Manage Wireless Networks (This can be found in the left navigation within the vertical blue strip.)

What you will see here may be a small list or a large list of every network you have connected to since you purchased the notebook. Now certificate trusted networks will appear here however they may not contain a key. The company I work for requires certificate of authentication and then the use of password linked to Active Directory as long as my computer is on the domain controller.

Each wireless profile you see appear here has its own configuration and each configuration is bound to the SSID or network name. It’s like the title of a book with its own story. You can have two (2) books with the same name but a different story. When I say different story, I am referring to a different encryption standard; cipher and wireless password. You can see below I have two (2) wireless networks with the same name but notice the different settings.

Standard: WPA2 Personal
Cipher: TKIP
Key: -pass51-

Standard: WPA Personal
Cipher: AES
Key: #Off5id35!

The reason I am showing you two (2) configurations is because when you are recovering a key for a network, you want to make sure the configuration is the same or else the door will always be locked until you correct your errors.

The network name we have is Bat_Cave and we need to recover the key for the SSID that has a Cipher of TKIP.

Right click the profile name and click properties. This will allow you to change SSID configuration on the notebook ONLY; in case changes have been made to the router or a buddy changed his encryption standard on his home network. Yeah it’s easy enough just to remove the profile and reconnect; but that would be too easy, you wouldn’t learn anything.

Once you are in the properties of the wireless profile, click the [Security Tab] up top and you will see: encryption standard, cipher and the key; and as a plus, a check box to show you what the key is. Show the hidden contents and copy or write down the key. Yay! We have the key.


By using other trusted device on your network or business, you can utilize the resources that you have, to recover a password on your home or business network so long you have the permission from your superior and a good heart for positive intent.

TIP #!
Also to avoid frustration, you may want to clear out orphan profiles of wireless networks you no longer connect to. These profile cannot be removed in bulk and have to be removed individually with a dialog in between removals, it is a hassle.

Rapid Systems
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