If there is a Wi-Fi network you use fairly regularly – for example, the one that belongs to your neighbour or a cafeteria at the office – but you have forgotten its password and cannot ask the network owner for some reason, you can recover the saved password using the following method for Windows computers.
- Open the Command Prompt on your computer by entering “cmd” into the system search. Right-click on the Command Prompt search result and choose “Run as administrator”.
- You will see a black screen with white text and a blinking cursor that indicates the place where you need to begin typing. Type “netsh wlan show profile”. The system will list all Wi-Fi network names you have previously used on this computer.
- Select the network you want to crack and copy its name. Then put your cursor at the C:\WINDOWS\system32\ line and type “netsh wlan show profile name=”network name” key=clear” into the field, replacing “network name” with the actual name of the network you are trying to hack.
- The system will return with the complete information about the network. Find the Security Settings section and look for the Key Content line. The combination of letters, numbers, and symbols near that line is the password you are looking for. Use it to log into the network of your choice.
2. Cracking a Wi-Fi password using software
Unlike the previous method, which is only usable when you had legal access to the network before and have simply forgotten the password, using software to crack a Wi-Fi network is a much less ethical thing. However, if you are a drastic situation, here are a few programs you can use:
- Reaver-wps. Reaver-wps is an advanced program that was designed for cracking extra secure passwords. It can take this program between two and ten hours to crack the password, so make sure your need for that free Wi-Fi access is truly great. This program will also only work on WPS, or Wi-Fi Protected Setup-enabled devices, so if you don’t know for sure that the target router has that feature, your effort may be all for naught.
- Aircrack. Aircrack is one of those tried and tested programs that has proven to be effective, but only when you know how to use it. Aircrack has been around for more than 15 years, but it has gotten more complex and effective over the years. To make Aircrack work, you need to have the right Wi-Fi adapter installed in your computer, as well as be very comfortable with your PC’s Command Prompt. Aircrack comes with instructions, but they are not going to be very helpful if you are seeing the Command Prompt for the first time.