<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/cdbackup.png”>According to a Prosper Mobile Insights Survey in 2011, over half of mobile smartphone users – 56 percent to be exact – still sat down and logged into the Internet with a computer. Not only do these mobile users usually prefer toting around a laptop for real hard-core heavy-bandwidth computer use while they’re on the go, they also find themselves accessing the Internet from multiple mobile Internet hotspots throughout the day. A typical, active person may have four to six commonly used Wi-Fi points, like home, work, an Internet cafe on the way to work, and the local library on the weekends.
Having multiple access points isn’t so much of a hassle, because you can just configure all of them in your wireless network setup and then click to connect to whichever one you want. Here at MUO, we’ve offered some good tips on setting up wi-fi networks, like Tina’s Wi-Fi for Dummies, and Tim’s tips on setting up a secure wi-fi hotspot. The hassle comes in when you switch to a new computer or if you switch computers often. You have to set up all of those Wi-Fi points again, and hopefully you can remember all of the previous settings you were using.
Luckily, there’s an app called the WiFi Network Backup Manager that can capture all of the details for your Wi-Fi connections and save them in a very portable and easy to manage XML file.
Using The WiFi Network Backup Manager
The WiFi Network Backup Manager is a useful tool that you probably never would have imagined needing until you use it. Then you can’t live without it.
Basically, when you first run the program, it will extract your current Wi-Fi network settings and lay them all out in an XML format.
You can explore the settings by scrolling down. If things seem a little hectic, just click on the red minus sign to collapse a configuration category. This lets you explore your current Wi-Fi network settings without a whole lot of clutter. Keep in mind that you can’t change the settings from within this app – it’s primarily a view and backup utility.
If you want to make changes, make them in the Windows network setup, and then relaunch the WiFi Network Backup Utility for a fresh update. Once you’re satisfied that all of the settings for all of your commonly used Wi-Fi networks are good, go ahead and click on the “Save All” button at the bottom of the main window.
This will open up a dialog window where you can tell the utility where to save the backup file. It saves it as a .WifiBackup format, which is supposed to be readable only by the software, but in reality it’s just an XML file. At this point you can save the file – which is your complete Wi-Fi profile – anywhere you like.
Save the file to a USB drive (along with a copy of the install for the Wi-Fi Backup Utility), and you’ll have all of your Wi-Fi settings available everywhere you go. Borrowing a friend’s laptop? Just pop in the USB stick and all your Wi-Fi settings are right there. Getting a refreshed laptop at work? Now you don’t have to worry about wasting time re-configuring everything.
When you’re on the new computer and you want to reload all of the Wi-Fi network settings into the Windows Network setup, just launch the Wi-Fi backup utility and click on the “Load” button. Browse to the .WifiBackup file that you saved, and the software will import the XML file with all of your previous Wi-Fi settings. A dialog box will pop up asking you if you want to load those Wi-Fi networks into your current control panel.
Click Yes, and then go into the Wi-Fi network configuration area of the Windows control panel. You’ll see the networks loaded up, with all of the settings that you had defined on your other computer. That’s it – it doesn’t get much easier than that.
One final note for those of you that feel you want the ability to tweak the settings even after you’ve exported the XML file to your USB drive or your DropBox account. Just open up the XML file in Notepad or WordPress, and you can edit it just like you normally would any other text file. You’ll need to sift through the code, but it’s easy enough to find the settings. You can manually change those settings, and then just make sure to save the file with the .WifiBackup extension.
If you do a lot of traveling, and you tend to switch between several laptops – like a work and a home one – using this utility can save you a lot of time. Once you have a good setup working with all of your Wi-Fi connections, just back up the file and you’ll never have to set them up on another PC again.
Give the Wi-Fi Backup Manager a try and let us know what you think. Will it save you some time while you’re mobile? Can you think of other useful reasons someone may want to keep a backup file of Wi-Fi settings? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.