It happens more often than you think. So you had your resident household tech guru set up your home Wi-Fi router and your gadgets that connect to it. He jots down the Wi-Fi password on a little Post-it note, which you immediately lose, of course.
Your gadgets save the Wi-Fi password and connect automatically when they're in range. So far, so good. Everything works as it should, every day, that is... until it doesn't.
With the password note now long gone and your tech guru nowhere to be found, how can you retrieve or reset your Wi-Fi password and connect to your network again?
Well, at this point, you can try these tips, ranging from the easy to the advanced, to get you and your gadgets up and running again.
Note: Just a friendly reminder. These tips are only meant to be used on Wi-Fi routers and networks that you own or authorized to manage. Please don't go around cracking other people's networks.
1. Command prompts
This first technique will only work if your computer has already joined a Wi-Fi network in the past. This will not crack nor decipher passwords of unsaved Wi-Fi access points.
On Windows, open a command prompt window. Do this by typing 'cmd' on the search bar and right-click on the best match, which should be "Command Prompt," then select "Run as administrator."
Select "Yes" on the User Account Control window that appears and a black window with white text will be displayed next. This is called the Command Prompt.
Now, in this window, after the text "C:\WINDOWS\system32" (your cursor should already be in the right position), type this command:
netsh wlan show profile
The window will then display "User profiles." This will list all the Wi-Fi networks your computer has joined in the past. From this list, copy the Wi-Fi network name you want to retrieve the password from (for example, "Komando Wi-Fi").
Next, in the same Command Prompt window, type this but replace the asterisks with the Wi-Fi network name you copied:
netsh wlan show profile name="*********" key=clear
It will look like this with our example:
netsh wlan show profile name="Komando Wi-Fi" key=clear
Press enter and a bunch of new text will show up in the same window. The saved password for the selected Wi-Fi network will be displayed under "Security Settings" as "Key Content."
Jot it down and you're set to rejoin.
Note: You can also retrieve saved Windows Wi-Fi passwords with a free tool from Nirsoft called WirelessKeyView.
Here's a video tutorial to help you out:
For Macs, there's a similar command. Open a Terminal window by searching for it. (You can also find it in the "Other" folder on your Mac's Launchpad.)
Terminal is macOS's version of Command Prompt but it appears as a white window with black text by default.
On this Terminal window, type this but again, replace the asterisks with the Wi-Fi network name:
security find-generic-password -wa "*********"
Press enter and the saved password will be displayed.