How to find a WPA key on a wireless network

Written by jesse lanclos
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How to find a WPA key on a wireless network
Many wireless routers use WPA encryption. (wlan router 04 image by PM Photo from

In a wireless network, the WPA key is a password that protects the network from outside intruders. If a wireless router is set up with WPA encryption, you need the WPA key for network access and to make changes network settings. Gaming devices that allow you to play games online also generally require you to know the WPA key if you plan to connect to the Internet wirelessly. In addition, to restore Internet access after reinstalling Windows, you need the WPA key if you plan to connect over Wi-Fi.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Wireless router

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  1. 1

    Open a Web browser. In the address bar, type "" (without the quotation marks) and press "Enter." This is the default IP address of many wireless routers. If this does not load a Web page, consult your router's manual for the configuration IP address.

  2. 2

    Enter your username and password on the screen that appears. If you do not know your username and password, try the defaults for your router. The most common default username is "admin," and the password is often blank. If this doesn't work, try the username "admin" and the password "password." If every combination you try fails, consult the manual for your router to find the defaults.

  3. 3

    Reset the router if you can't log in or remember your router's username and password. Stick a pin or a paper clip into the small hole in the back or bottom of your router, and keep this button pressed for about 15 seconds. The default factory settings should be in place after the router resets. Repeat Step 2 to find the defaults and log in.

  4. 4

    Look for a "Security," "Wireless Security" or "Wireless Settings" tab in your router's settings. Open this tab to display the WPA key.

Tips and warnings

  • If your WPA key shows up as all asterisks ("*******"), reset the key on your router so that you know what it is. If you do this, you generally also need to change the key on all wireless devices on your network.
  • Choose a long password to increase the strength of the encryption.

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