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Windows 7: Recover Network Security Key from Windows.old

23 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x86
 
 
Recover Network Security Key from Windows.old

My laptop, a Gateway MT6705, started running painfully slow as it was my test computer for software before I installed anything on my gaming rig and messed her up. So, to remedy this, I decided that a clean install would do wonders. So far, it works. However, I had quite a few networks and network security keys saved, and now I don't have any. I'd really hate to go through the trouble of going to each respective place to get the keys again (since most are about an hour away), so I was wondering if there was any way to recover them.

I'm using WirelessKeyView, but it isn't recovering anything except my home network. Is there a way to get the old network keys from the Windows.old folder so that I can save myself a bit of trouble?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Apr 2011   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

I don't thing there is. Even if you were using that original OS install.

I think they are all encrypted so they can't be hacked by somehow logging into your PC on a network.
But then I really don't know as I've never bothered to find out. If for some reason I'm on a new notebook or a new OS install at a old place that has WiFi I just ask the owner of the WiFi connection for the key. Not a big deal and no really reason to go around getting them unless I'm physically on site.

About the only time this would be important is if I had HACKED those keys. I don't hack anything, well maybe somethings like game settings but that's about it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Wireless keys are stored on the respective router, not on the computer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Apr 2011   #4

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bill2 View Post
Wireless keys are stored on the respective router, not on the computer.
They are stored on the computer also as in when you turn on your own PC in your own house and it connects to your own Wireless network automatically, IE without having to type in the password/Key.
Same thing happens when you go to some other place and you then get a wireless connection to that local wireless network once you have already connected to it, IE typed in a key/password.

If they weren't stored on the computer someplace you would need to type in the key/password every time you wanted to connect to that same wireless network.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2011   #5

MS Windows 8
 
 

try these folders from your windows.old, the encrypted password is stored in a credential file.
  • Windows XP/2003: [Windows Profile]\Application Data\Microsoft\Credentials\[User SID]\Credentials and [Windows Profile]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Credentials\[User SID]\Credentials
  • Windows Vista\7: [Windows Profile]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Credentials\[Random ID] and [Windows Profile]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Credentials\[Random ID]
like shootist said.. it is enrcypted, only way you can use those keys it to brute force it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Apr 2011   #6

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by rbeldua View Post
try these folders from your windows.old, the encrypted password is stored in a credential file.
  • Windows XP/2003: [Windows Profile]\Application Data\Microsoft\Credentials\[User SID]\Credentials and [Windows Profile]\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Credentials\[User SID]\Credentials
  • Windows Vista\7: [Windows Profile]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Credentials\[Random ID] and [Windows Profile]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Credentials\[Random ID]
like shootist said.. it is enrcypted, only way you can use those keys it to brute force it.
Readable keys are on the router. So if one clean installs and has not noted down the key, one would just login into the router and copy the key from the config pages.

However, I just did some reasearch into wirelesskeyview that the OP is using. Apparently this tool reads keys stored in the filesystem under c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Wlansvc\Profiles\Interfaces\[Interface Guid]. The [Interface Guid] is a unique GUID value that represents your wireless network card. The keys are stored and well-encrypted inside the .xml files that you can find in the above path.

To test, I checked on my own computer and indeed theres an xml file in that location. Running wirelesskeyview revealed the key in both hex and plain text. I backed the xml to another drive then deleted it from the default location. After that wirelesskeyview failed to display any key.

So heres something the OP can try. In windows.old, locate the xml files as described above, then copy and paste them into the default location wirelesskeyview uses (remember to unhide hidden and protected OS files and folders first). Then run wirelesskeyview.
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 Recover Network Security Key from Windows.old




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