Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
This is a tutorial for Windows users. I apologize in advance to my Mac and Linux readers.
If you’ve ever used Wi-Fi on your PC, you know there’s an option to save your password whenever you connect to a network. In Windows 10, the password is saved automatically. Although this is a useful feature, more often than not you’ll end up forgetting your password because you never use it. If this ever happens to you, don’t despair and, for heaven’s sake, don’t waste money buying some malware-bloated software that claims to recover and “decrypt” your password.
It’s a simple process to get your passwords. Here’s how you do it.
HOW TO READ SAVED WI-FI PASSWORDS
Step 1. Open Command Prompt (CMD) with Administrator privileges. To do this press the WINDOWS button on your keyboard + Q. Type in “CMD” (without the quotes) and press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER to open the Command Prompt in Administrator mode.
Step 2. Enter the following command then press ENTER to retrieve a list of all saved Wi-Fi profiles on your PC.
netsh wlan show profile
Step 3. Now that you’ve got a list of Wi-Fi profiles on your PC, pick the one you want to recover the password for and enter the following command, again followed by an ENTER. Replace the text in quotes in the command below with the name of your Wi-Fi profile.
netsh wlan show profile name="WI-FI NAME HERE" key=clear
There you have it… how to retrieve saved passwords from your PC. No more messing around trying to remember the password while your friends whine “But you’re connected! How could you forget it?!”
If you share your Windows profile between PCs (for example between your home and work PC), then you can access the saved passwords from one PC even though you’ve never actually connected to it from the one you’re logged into. Step 2 above will expose all Wi-Fi profiles accessed by all your shared PCs, not just the ones stored on your current one. In fact, one of the profiles in my own screen shot (censored) is my Office Wi-Fi even though I’ve never taken this particular laptop to the office.