Hello! Every time we connect to a Wi-Fi network, Windows creates a log with all the passwords of the access points (SSID). This way, you can connect automatically when available. Also, without having to enter the password again. The operation of Windows in this sense is the same as in any other operating system. That is, both desktop (Linux and macOS) and mobile devices. But what happens to Wi-Fi passwords if we change computers or format the computer? Prior to this, we must make a backup of all the access points to which we have previously connected. This way, we avoid having to enter them manually every time we want to connect. Here, we will see how to back up Wi-Fi passwords on Windows.
Windows stores passwords in our account
There is really no need to save Wi-Fi passwords when you plan to format your hard disk or change your computer. With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft began to implement the integration of the operating system with the user account. In this way, Microsoft wanted to make it easier to interact with devices in the future. The main advantage of this change is with respect to the Microsoft Store. Thanks to this integration, we could access a list of applications that we had previously downloaded. In fact, these had already been associated with our account.
Subsequently, Microsoft also started to associate the hardware of the device with the license. In this way, we could only use the corresponding license on a single device. That is, we could not use it on different computers together. As Windows evolves, Microsoft has been introducing a series of hidden improvements. One of them is being able to store in the Microsoft cloud a copy of all the Wi-Fi networks we have connected to in the past. It is enough to associate a Windows installation to our account. No matter if it is a new computer or a formatted one. As a result, the list with all the access points and the passwords for each of them will be automatically downloaded. Therefore, it will not be necessary to enter the access data again.
Is there anything else we should do?
Remember that this process is done automatically when you enter the data. So there is really no need for any further action on our part. In the same way, the new access points to which we connect are automatically synchronized. Therefore, if we delete any of them, they will also be automatically deleted from the Microsoft servers. This also happens on all computers that are managed by the same Microsoft account, even if they are different computers.
How to know the password of a Wi-Fi network
Windows provides a couple of methods to learn stored Wi-Fi passwords.
From Windows Settings, we will only be able to know the password of the currently connected network. In fact, there is no option to know the password of all the access points we have stored on our computer. To obtain the password of the Wi-Fi network in which we are, we access the Windows configuration options by pressing Win+I.
Once there, we entered Network & Internet. Within this section, click on Wi-Fi. Then, in the right column, click on Network and Sharing Center.
Next, the Windows Control Panel will be displayed. Specifically, in the section corresponding to the networks. In this section, click on the name of the connection to access its properties.
Then, a new window will be displayed. There we will see the operation, connection type, speed, and duration of the Wi-Fi connection in which we are. In this window, click on Wireless Properties.
Next, we click on the Security tab and check the box Show characters. At that moment, Windows will ask us for the security method that we use in our account to be able to show it. If we do not know it, Windows will not show us the password of the network to which the equipment is connected.
A network, with or without internet access, is the only method of sharing files and resources between devices. Any person who has access to the network has access to all that content. For this simple reason, Windows will ask for the PIN of the user account in which we are. Otherwise, we will be able to use the command prompt or the PowerShell, as we will see next.
Using Command Prompt
If you do not have access credentials to the computer, then you can resort to the command prompt. In addition, this option allows us to know the password of all the access points registered on the computer. Remember that this possibility is not available from the Windows graphical interface. The first thing you have to do is to go to the command prompt. With this in mind, enter the term CMD in the Windows search button. Please remember to open it with administrator privileges. Next, we use the following command to list all the Wi-Fi networks to which we have connected with the computer and with that user account.
netsh wlan show profile
Next, we must select the name of the Wi-Fi connection for which we want to know the password. Then please use the following command. Please replace wifiname with the name of the access point. The Wi-Fi network code will be displayed under Key content.
Netsh wlan show profile name="wifiname" key=clear
We must carry out this process individually. In other words, we cannot create a list of all the passwords of the access points to which we have connected. In fact, we will have to do it one by one. Very well, in this way we have seen how to back up Wi-Fi passwords on Windows. Bye!