I’m currently visiting my mother. I want to use the laptop my sister just gave me on mom’s wireless network. I’m pretty sure I need the network key to do so. Mom is perfectly willing to let me use the network (I’m on her laptop now), but her computer is set up to connect automatically without need to type the key and she has no clue what the key is. I’ve looked on her computer (Windows Vista) but can’t find where the key is stored.
Are you sure this is a secured network? In the list of wi-fi networks on your PC, the network listing will have a littly lock icon over the wi-fi signal strength icon, or the word “secured” will appear with the network name. Otherwise you can connect straight away. Also, make sure you’re connecting to the right network, and not one of her neighbors.
The key will typically be enrypted on the cient PCs - stored as ****** or some such - so you won’t be able to get it from your mom’s PC. The unencrypted key will be located on your mother’s router. You’ll need to access the router’s settings - from a computer connected to the router, point the browser to the default IP address for the router. Here’s a list of common default IP addresses by router brand.
You’ll then need to log into the router - if your mom’s changed the default login (hopefully she has) you need to get it from her. If she hasn’t changed the default, it’s usually a username/password combo of either admin/password or admin/admin. Once logged in, the key is usually found in the “wi-fi security” section.
On your Mother’s computer go to the Control Panel, Network and Sharing, and click on Manage Wireless Networks. Right-click on her SSID and select Properties. On the Security tab check the Show Characters box.
The wireless key depends upon the type of security mode (if any) enabled on the router, and gets randomly generated when the security settings are enabled. I’ve not had a router ship with the key preconfigured.
I still can’t connect. When I look at the wireless network on Mom’s computer it says the network is open and requires no authentication. The space for a network key has dots in it, but “show characters” is gray and unclickable.
When I look at the network on my laptop, it says that it is security enabled and requires a key.
Oh, I found an unsecured wireless network and logged on briefly to make sure my laptop can connect to a network and is in full working order.
eta the router was provided by the ISP.
Doesn’t matter if the router seems to be working. I can have 4 machines working nicely on my router too but can’t get my laptop on the network unless I reboot. Just try it. If there actually is a password, mom’s computer will have it stored an will auto connect when the router comes back online. You’ve got nothing to lose.
I usually follow A Crown Prince of Irony’s advice. Connect to the router’s admin page; most people have not changed the default password from admin/admin or admin/password. Once in, find the password settings and voila. To find the IP address of the router, I just run a traceroute from a Terminal/Command Prompt, and check the address of the first hop.
For example, when I type traceroute google.com, I get:
1 192.168.1.1 (192.168.1.1) 5.159 ms 1.134 ms 1.403 ms