And let’s face it: between the surfeit of passwords securing your computer, web and Facebook accounts it’s hard to keep track of which password goes with which service. Most of us simply have too many passwords to juggle so we often click “Remember me” or “Save password” on web forms and password prompts.
Windows hides password characters behind opaque dots which effectively obfuscates the true password and thwarts unscrupulous shoulder surfers from viewing your actual password. But what happens when you actually need that stored password?
For example, after setting up your home wireless network you might forget the password you setup 10 months ago. Now your in-laws are in town and they want to connect their gadgets to your network but you can’t remember the Wi-Fi password…
Dang, this is embarrassing
Fortunately you don’t need to be abashed here. Don’t reset the Wi-Fi router or do anything nuclear like that instead follow me and we’ll get your password back in three minutes.
In this guide I’m going to show you how easy it is to view your stored Wi-Fi passwords in Windows 8.1 so you can save face in front of your relatives. The best part is you don’t need to download any software to pull this off.
Heck, no one wants to be chagrined and I’m not about to let that happen to you.
Finding your password
After you fire up your computer zip over to the Desktop and press Windows Key + r to pop open the Run dialog box.
Enter this peculiar collection of letters:
I think NCPA is an abbreviation for Network Connections Panel because that’s what it does; this obscure command is a snappy shortcut to your network settings.
Right click your Wireless Adapter and choose Status.
In the W-Fi status box click the Wireless Properties button.
Then in the Security Tab put a little checkbox in the Show characters box to see your password in plaintext.
This works but you need to be a local administrator on the computer to pull this off. If you’re not signed in as a local admin you’ll be prompted to enter the admin credentials.
Incidentally, I just realized this also works in Windows 7!