How to Recover the Wireless Key on Windows XP

By Matthew Schieltz

Though Windows 7 and Vista allow you to view your wireless network password via the "Network and Sharing Center," Windows XP does not allow you to view it directly through the operating system. You may need to recover your network key for various reasons, such as if you've lost it or you have gotten disconnected. Several options exist to recover the network key, including utilizing your wireless router or third-party software.

WirelessKeyView by NirSoft

Step 1

Open your Internet browser and go to the NirSoft website homepage (see Resources).

Step 2

Click "Password Tools" in the left column. Scroll through the list of programs on the page and click on "WirelessKeyView."

Step 3

Click the "Download" link to download the software.

Step 4

Right-click the zip file you downloaded and click "Extract All" to extract the folder contents.

Step 5

Open the WirelessKeyView folder. Double-click the WirelessKeyView "exe" program file. Click "Run."

Step 6

Review the results WirelessKeyView generated. Look for the name of your wireless network in the "SSID" column. Write down the wireless key listed for the network in the "Key (Hex)" column.

NetworkPasswordDecrypter by Security Xploded

Step 1

Open your Internet browser and go to the Security Xploded website homepage (see Resources).

Step 2

Click the "Tools" section near the top of the page.

Step 3

Click "NetworkPasswordDecryptor" in the "Password Recovery Tools" section. Click the "Download" button on the program description page. Download and save the program to your computer.

Step 4

Double-click the NetworkPasswordDecryptor "exe" program file on your computer. Click "Run."

Step 5

Click the "Start Recovery" button.

Step 6

Click the name of your network in the "Network Name" column. Click "Show Password." Write down the password displayed in the "Password" column.

Using Router Settings

Step 1

Click "Start," then "Run" and type "cmd" in the "Open" field. Press "Enter."

Step 2

Type "ipconfig /all" in the box and press "Enter." Write down the number listed next to the "Default Gateway."

Step 3

Open your Internet browser and type the "Default Gateway" number in the address bar. Press "Enter." Type the password for your router's administration page and press "Enter."

Step 4

Look for and click on the "Wireless Security" section of your router's administration page. Click the "Show Password" option, if necessary, to decrypt the network key. Write down the password displayed in the "Shared Key" or "Network Key" section of the page.