How to Recover WEP Key in Windows XP

Written by jack gerard
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WEP, though somewhat outdated by more advanced encryption types, is still used fairly often as a means of securing wireless networks. To sign in to a WEP-protected network, a WEP key is needed. This key lets the network know that your computer is authorised to access the network and everything contained within it. If you lose the WEP key, it can be quite difficult to figure it out unless you have previously entered the key on a Windows XP computer.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open the Start menu by clicking the "Start" button. Open the Run command window by clicking on the "Run..." option in the Start menu.

  2. 2

    Type "regedit" into the Run command window and click "OK." This will launch the registry editor for Windows XP, allowing you to browse through your operating system's registry entries.

  3. 3

    Expand the "HKEY_CURRENT_USER" registry listing, scrolling down to locate the "Software" entry. Click to expand this entry, scrolling down through it to locate the "Microsoft" listing among the other software entries.

  4. 4

    Scroll through the Microsoft listings until you find an item labelled "WZCSVC." Expand this; then locate the "Parameters" item. You should expand this as well; then click on the item titled "Interfaces."

  5. 5

    Write down the WEP key stored in the "Interfaces" registry listing. Once you have the key, you can close the registry editor and enter the key when trying to connect to your wireless network.

Tips and warnings

  • Software products designed to scan your computer for previous WEP keys can automate the process of recovering the key that you need, eliminating the need to browse the registry. Another way to get your WEP key would be to log onto your wireless access point and get it from there.
  • Be careful when browsing the registry editor. If you accidentally change a registry entry, programs may stop working or you may experience problems in the Windows XP operating environment.

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