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  1. #1
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    Help for Win10 1607's confusing Wi-Fi settings


    Windows 10

    Help for Win10 1607's confusing Wi-Fi settings


    By Tracey Capen

    More so than any previous version of Windows, Win10 is an evolving operating system. Each new update brings forth new features and user-interface changes. And that's especially the case with the Anniversary Update.

    Here's what you should know about the changes in Win10's Wi-Fi settings, plus how to review and manage a bit of what Microsoft knows about you.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/help-for-win10-1607s-confusing-wi-fi-settings (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Each new update brings forth new features and user-interface changes.
    That's something of a misstatement and it comes from Microsoft (and others) using the term update interchangeably with upgrade. The Anniversary Update was a version upgrade (1607) and by Microsoft's own "rules" feature changes will take place during upgrades (which can be Deferred in Settings) but not in updates (which cannot be Deferred in Settings). It might help avoid further confusion if technical writers would stick to this distinction.

    But it may not matter because it seems that the line between feature upgrades and OS tweaks and minor changes is becoming blurred. I rather suspect that in a year or so the line will have disappeared and there will no longer be any upgrades to defer.
    Graham Smith
    DataSmith, Delaware
    "For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.", Arthur C. Clarke (1917 - 2008)

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    The one WiFi characteristic of Windows 10 that irks me is that in Windows 7 I could easily see the passwords for each WiFi network I had connected to in the past, at least I could on my HP PC laptop. Windows 10 doesn't seem to have that capability. Having this ability comes in handy when, for example, you want to upgrade to a new PC. It would allow you to have the passwords for all the networks to which you had previously connected.

    To get around this problem, I created a little BAT file that does the job, albeit one network SSID at a time. It's NOT a network hack. It only shows the passwords of networks where you previously connected. I've listed the BAT file below for anyone that feels they may need it.
    Stu

    :
    : This bat program will show the profile (including password) for any previously connected WiFi network.
    : Simply reply to the question it asks with the WiFi SSID.
    :
    @echo off
    set /p WiFiSSID= What is the SSID of the WiFi network (upper/lower case doesn't matter)?
    netsh wlan show profile name="%WiFiSSID%" key=clear
    pause
    Last edited by sb06794; 2016-10-25 at 12:43.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sb06794
    To get around this problem, I created a little BAT file that does the job, albeit one network SSID at a time. It's NOT a network hack. It only shows the passwords of networks where you previously connected.
    Your batch file is similar to a wrapper for netsh wlan export profile that I wrote in AutoHotkey when Windows 10 came out. It runs as Administrator automatically, pops a UAC then asks for the SSID to entered:

    get-wifi-password1.png

    After that is pops a message box showing the password:

    get-wifi-password2.png

    If anyone's interested, the fully documented AHK script is as follows:

    Code:
    #SingleInstance force ; Force only once instance at a time
    
    ; Prompt to 'Run as Admin', i.e. show UAC dialog
    If Not A_IsAdmin
    {
       Run *RunAs "%A_ScriptFullPath%"  ; Requires v1.0.92.01+
       ExitApp
    }
    
    ; Define the GUI
    Gui, Add, Text, x30 y10 w310 h30, Please enter the SSID below ; Ask for SSID
    Gui, Add, Edit, x12 y40 w180 h20 vSSID, ;Add edit box to input SSID
    Gui, Add, Button, x30 y70 w60 h20, OK ; Add OK button
    Gui, Add, Button, x120 y70 w60 h20, Cancel ; Add Cancel button
    Gui -SysMenu ; Get rid of the maximise, minimise and X controls
    Gui, Show, w210 h100, Get Wifi Password ; Show the dialog
    GuiControl, Focus, SSID ; Put the focus into the edit box
    Return
    
    ~Enter:: ; Define ENTER as hotkey
    ~NumpadEnter:: ; Define ENTER on NumPad as additional hotkey
    
    ButtonOK:
    Gui, Submit  ; Save the input from the user to each control's associated variable
    pass1= ; Set var to null
    RunWait, %comspec% /c "netsh wlan export profile folder=%TEMP% name="%SSID%" key=clear",,  ; Run NETSH and pipe results to file
    
    ;MsgBox % SSID ; Used for testing
    SSID1=%TEMP%\WiFi-%SSID%.xml
    ;MsgBox % SSID1 ; Used for testing
    
    FileReadLine, str, %SSID1%, 22 ; Read line 22 of the XML file
    FileDelete % SSID1 ; Delete the temporary file
    ;Run, %TEMP% ; Used for testing
    
    RegexMatch(str, "<keyMaterial>(.+)</keyMaterial>", pass) ; Use RegEx to remove extraneous characters
    
    GuiClose: ; Close the GUI
    
    If pass1 = 
       {
          MsgBox, 64, Get Wifi Password, The name "%SSID%" does not exist as a stored profile. ; Pop up 'not found' message
          ExitApp ; Exit the app
       }
    Else
       {
          MsgBox, 64, Get Wifi Password, The WiFi password for "%SSID%" is: "%pass1%" ; Pop up message with the WiFi password
          ExitApp ; Exit the app
       }
    
    GuiEscape: ; Use the Esc key to exit the app
    ButtonCancel: ; Use the Cancel button to exit the app
    ExitApp  ; The 2 labels above will do this
    I've attached a zip file which includes the script, a rubbish program icon I created and a compiled version of the script for people who don't want to go to the trouble of installing AutoHotkey. The VirusTotal scan of the compiled exe file can be found here.

    get-wifi-password3.png
    Click to enlarge

    (I tried to integrate netsh wlan show profiles, i.e. to loop through each profile and add the stored SSIDs to the first GUI but couldn't get it to work. I might have another bash soon.)

    EDIT: Code above and in attached ZIP has been amended with error checking.

    Hope this helps...
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-10-28 at 15:59.

  5. #5
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    (I tried to integrate netsh wlan show profiles, i.e. to loop through each profile and add the stored SSIDs to the first GUI but couldn't get it to work. I might have another bash soon.)
    Rick,
    Thank you. A little history: My old HP Windows 7 64-bit laptop had HP software (I believe) managing the WiFi. It allowed me to rename SSIDs to anything I wanted (i.e. "linksys" to "My sister's home") and presented me with one list of all the visited networks. I could also change any password there for any network I previously had used. That's what, I believe, Windows 10 is sadly lacking.

    I'm also a fan of Autohotkey and see that you wrote a very clever program to see the WiFi passwords. I'll try it out. Clearly I'm not nearly as adept at you with Autohotkey, but I think it's beyond the capabilities of Autohotkey to have it manage the WiFi (i.e. allowing SSID name substitutions). I do agree with your quote above that it should be able to loop through all the WiFi profiles and present one list of "SSID/password"s, although with your advanced knowledge of Autohotkey you have a FAR better chance of making that work than me. If you can get the looping through the profiles to work, please list your Autohotkey program here. It would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks again,
    Stu

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sb06794
    I'm also a fan of Autohotkey and see that you wrote a very clever program to see the WiFi passwords. I'll try it out. Clearly I'm not nearly as adept at you with Autohotkey, but I think it's beyond the capabilities of Autohotkey to have it manage the WiFi (i.e. allowing SSID name substitutions). I do agree with your quote above that it should be able to loop through all the WiFi profiles and present one list of "SSID/password"s, although with your advanced knowledge of Autohotkey you have a FAR better chance of making that work than me. If you can get the looping through the profiles to work, please list your Autohotkey program here.
    Hi Stu, I'm not adept at all, just stubborn. I wrote the script because I'm practising wrapping commandline and PowerShell snippets in AHK whenever AHK doesn't have the required functionality. I've just listed my script on the AutoHotkey forum, together with a request for assistance from the *real* adept AHK gurus. I'll post an update if anything comes of it. In the meantime, I would be grateful for any feedback if you do try either my script or the compiled exe.

    Hope this helps...
    Last edited by Rick Corbett; 2016-10-27 at 09:32. Reason: Corrected typo

  7. #7
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    Hi Rick,
    Here's the feedback you requested. I compiled your ".ahk" file and gave the resulting program file a spin. I had two problems:

    1. It didn't return a password no matter how I entered the SSID. After it didn't work just entering it, I thought it might be because our home Wifi router SSID has an embedded space. So I tried putting quotes around the entered SSID but that still returned nothing. Here is what I get:
    Image.jpg

    2. When I entered an SSID name that doesn't exist, it still gave me the exact same output shown in the image above. It should have said something like "SSID xxx xxxx doesn't exist".

    So, I didn't have much success getting it to work.
    Stu

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    To discover a network's WiFi (AKA WLAN [Wireless Local Area Network]) you can log in to the wireless router and look up the wireless settings including SSID and password.

    Open a command prompt and type:

    ipconfig
    (enter)

    ipconfig.jpg

    The router's IP address will be listed as "Default Gateway". Then enter the router's IP address into the address bar of your browser and log in to the router's settings pages and go to the wireless settings where you can view/change the WiFi settings.

    Netgear.jpg

    But if you want to change the WiFi settings you need to be connected to the router w/ an Ethernet cable; if you change the router's WiFi settings via a WiFi connection you risk losing access to the router.
    Computer Consultant/Technician since 1998 (first PC was Atari 1040STE in 1988).
    Most common computing error is EBKAC: Error Between Keyboard And Chairback
    AMD FX8120 (8-core @ 3.1GHz) CPU, Gigabyte GA-990FXA-D3 motherboard, 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1866MHz RAM, ATI-AMD Radeon HD6770 PCI-E VGA, 480GB Kingston SSD, 2TB Seagate SATA3.0 HDD, ASUS DVD/RW.

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to Coochin For This Useful Post:

    Trev (2016-10-27)

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    Hi Coochin,
    What you suggested above works for the one network you are connected to. For a laptop that's been connected to 20 different networks in the past, the above procedure is of no help in displaying the 20 different passwords used. The BAT and AutoHotkey programs described above can get those passwords, albeit one-by-one. It's a matter of accessing all WiFi profiles stored on the laptop.
    Stu

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    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sb06794
    Here's the feedback you requested. I compiled your ".ahk" file and gave the resulting program file a spin. I had two problems:

    1. It didn't return a password no matter how I entered the SSID. After it didn't work just entering it, I thought it might be because our home Wifi router SSID has an embedded space. So I tried putting quotes around the entered SSID but that still returned nothing. Here is what I get:
    Image.jpg

    2. When I entered an SSID name that doesn't exist, it still gave me the exact same output shown in the image above. It should have said something like "SSID xxx xxxx doesn't exist".

    So, I didn't have much success getting it to work.
    Stu
    Re: 1 - I'll be the first to admit that I didn't test with SSIDs that included spaces as none of the one's I've connected my laptop to have spaces. (If you Google ssid with spaces you'll see a lot of issues. I've experienced this myself many times trying to get Kindles attached.) I'll have to have a look at this 'cos it means that name="%SSID%" would have to become name=""%SSID%"" (i.e. double quotes) to deal with SSID names with spaces. Thanks for raising this.

    Re: 2 - I'll have to build in a check for the netsh response "Profile %SSID% is not found on any interface". I should have thought about that, if only to deal with typos.

  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin View Post
    But if you want to change the WiFi settings you need to be connected to the router w/ an Ethernet cable; if you change the router's WiFi settings via a WiFi connection you risk losing access to the router.
    Thanks, I didn't know that and have been accessing via wifi...will change that.

  13. #12
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coochin
    But if you want to change the WiFi settings you need to be connected to the router w/ an Ethernet cable
    In my experience it doesn't matter whether you use wired or wireless as long as you understand that you will lose wireless access until you reconnect using the new wireless settings.

    I've also found that with some types of devices (e.g. iPads, iPhones and Android devices) it's often far quicker to remove the previous wireless network profile completely (i.e. 'Forget this network'/'Forget network'/'Forget') rather than try to amend an existing profile manually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trev View Post
    Thanks, I didn't know that and have been accessing via wifi...will change that.
    After using WiFi to make WiFi changes on the router you lose your WiFi connection, but simply rebooting the PC gets the updated WiFi settings back with the WiFi connection. Rebooting may (in my case anyway) be easier than finding an available Ethernet cable connection.
    Stu

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    Speaking of Wifi. I had been having to unplug my Modem at night because my Boneheaded Son was staying up to late playing his XBox. So i did some googling and was told to go into my Modem settings and see if it had away to shut the modem down at a certain time,,which some do allow this,,mine does not. Then i was setting thinking about it, ,and it hit me what a dumbace i was. I hooked my modem up to a timer. Problem solved. I felt like a moron for not thinking about that sooner.
    Last edited by Weedhopper; 2016-10-27 at 15:29.

  16. #15
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sb06794 View Post
    Hi Rick,
    Here's the feedback you requested. I compiled your ".ahk" file and gave the resulting program file a spin. I had two problems:

    1. It didn't return a password no matter how I entered the SSID. After it didn't work just entering it, I thought it might be because our home Wifi router SSID has an embedded space. So I tried putting quotes around the entered SSID but that still returned nothing. Here is what I get:
    Image.jpg

    2. When I entered an SSID name that doesn't exist, it still gave me the exact same output shown in the image above. It should have said something like "SSID xxx xxxx doesn't exist".

    So, I didn't have much success getting it to work.
    Stu
    Hi Stu,

    I've amended the code in post #4 (and in the attached ZIP) so it now checks for invalid profile names, i.e. typos or other errors. I've also tested it with a router using SSIDs with and without spaces... and with passwords with and without spaces, even multiple spaces.

    If you would like to test again then I would be grateful.

    If you get an error, please do the following:

    1. Comment out line 33, i.e. insert a semi-colon at the beginning of the line.
    2. Un-comment line 34, i.e. remove the semi-colon at the beginning of the line.
    3. Save the AHK file and run it again.
    3. Check the saved XML file.

    Hope this helps...

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