Internet Windows

Can I Find My WiFi Encryption Key from a Machine That’s Online?

Karl L. Gechlik 13-06-2008

I took a little trip to my sister’s house a few weeks ago and I needed to get some work done. I whipped out my HP 2510P Tablet and proceeded to connect to their wireless network named ever so cleverly… “TheInternet”.


So when I saw the custom name on their router’s SSID, I figured someone configured it and could give me the WEP key. I asked and I was met with a dead stare.

Can I Find My WiFi Encryption Key from a Machine That's Online? wep

“What’s a WEP? Is that like a USB?”

“It’s the password you set when you set up the router”

“What’s a router?”

Are you sure you are really my sister?”

Have you had this scenario happen to you? You have one machine online and want to bring another one up and you have no idea what your key is? I can’t say I have done this personally but I see it happen on a daily basis around the office. Don’t get me wrong this IS a security risk to your key but if your machine is locked up when not in use you should be ok! Don’t tell my IT buddies I told you about it though – I would probably get kicked out of the Admin’s club :(.

The freeware we are looking at today is called WirelessKeyView from Nirsoft. WirelessKeyView finds ANY wireless network keys (WEP/WPA) stored on your machine. This includes keys stored by the ‘Wireless Zero Configuration’ service of Windows XP and by the ‘WLAN AutoConfig’ service of Windows Vista. In other words it will work on XP or Vista (XP requires you have the KB918997 update installed) It does not matter which flavor of 802.11 you are using. This app will retrieve any Wireless Key stored.

(The image below was used directly from the NirSoft website as I am not about to share my WEP’s with the general public for obvious reasons!)


Can I Find My WiFi Encryption Key from a Machine That's Online? wirelesskeyview

Once you have found your keys, WirelessKeyView allows you to export them to an HTML or TXT file as well as copy them to the clipboard for some easy pasting action;

Alrighttty then, let’s get back to getting my tablet online.

I walked over to my sister’s laptop which was already on line via WiFi. I browsed on over to the NirSoft website; which makes some really cool free software. (I have used lots of their products before to recover all sorts of office document passwords) Now upon firing up their “Wireless Key View” i instantly saw her WEP passcode. It was a computer generated strange looking password, I might add!


Now I popped that key into my tablet and back to blogging working I go.

Related topics: Password, Wi-Fi.

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  1. Stonegimp
    April 8, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    regarding the long strings of Hex, this is because you have WPA-PSK or something like it, all you do is copy the hex key and paste in in the connection code text box, it means the same as your normal ascii code, I tried it out my self and it worked. read the page that is linked above, Here

    Notice About WPA-PSK Keys
    When you type a WPA-PSK key in Windows XP, the characters that you type are automatically converted into a new binary key that contains 32 bytes (64 Hexadecimal digits). This binary key cannot instantly be converted back to the original key that you typed, but you can still use it for connecting the wireless network exactly like the original key. In this case, WirelessKeyView displays this binary key in the Hex key column, but it doesn't display the original key that you typed.
    As opposed to Windows XP, Windows Vista doesn't convert the WPA-PSK Key that you type into a new binary key, but it simply keep the original key that you type. So under Windows Vista, the original WPA-PSK key that you typed is displayed in the Ascii key column

  2. Travis
    November 24, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Dude...this freakin' worked...

    Thank you! (And thanks you Nirsoft as well...)

  3. starbucksgirl
    November 8, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    So how do I get my password from this? 2bc490d51c7294647751fb5d931d67e435db561e19bb0c56de11039a1c8cfbed
    I'm so confused now. WOuld vvery much appreciate some help:
    Thanks :)

  4. starbucksgirl
    November 8, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Hi I think I have the same issue as the people above. I have got the Key (Hex) by using your program but how on earth do I translate that into a password? I would be most grateful for any assistance.
    Thanks :)

  5. erick
    October 17, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    ok ... how to decrypt thinks like this ->


    :S you can find me @

  6. Stefan
    August 13, 2008 at 7:51 am

    thanks a lot for this helpfull tool.

  7. hi
    July 31, 2008 at 8:50 am

    hi read your article and it's very good

    but when i try to use in in my problem i stopped

    my problem is i don't remember my password for the wireless or the router

    but the password for the wireless is stored on my laptop

    and i log on wireless normally but when my friends comes to my home they can't connect with
    my network because i don't remember the password and i used your program
    to retrieve my password it gives a hex number and i don't know how to use it


    i would be grateful to if get my password out of this code my email is if any one have another way to restore my pass i will be grateful

  8. Mackenzie
    June 17, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Couldn't you just open up Firefox on an already-authenticated machine, go to (or .2.1 or whatever your subnet is) to reach the router config page, and look in there? That's how I handle it.

  9. Stephan
    June 17, 2008 at 4:57 am

    After downloading the zip from the site, when I try and extract it, AVG (8 free edition) says it has a virus "HackTool.EEJ" targeted against Explorer.EXE, and system32\svchost.exe

    Running Vista with SP1

  10. Karl L. Gechlik |
    June 14, 2008 at 7:34 pm

    This saved my ass yet again today!

  11. Jason Mayoff
    June 14, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks. Great article that I'll have to keep in mind as I seem to have become the IT department for 3 neighbours, one sister and a non-profit.

  12. joe
    June 13, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    this helped me out a bunch. Thanks a million.