When you choose the “Connect Automatically” option when connecting to a wireless network, Windows 8.1 stores the password on your computer for later use. And there it sits, allowing your computer to automatically reconnect to the network without requiring reentry of the password.
While convenient, this option also means the password is easily forgotten, because you never reinforce your memory by retyping the key; that is especially true when the password was first entered years earlier.
In Windows 7, the Manage Wireless Networks utility offered ready access to all saved passwords, whether you’re were connected to the network or not, but Windows 8.1 omits this feature. Instead, you only have access to the currently connected network’s password, unless you use the less intuitive Command Prompt, which is covered in the article, “Viewing Any Saved Wireless Password in Windows 8.1.” By accessing the current password, you can, for example, locate the password, so another previously unconnected computer can access the network.
1. Connect to the wireless network, if you’re not already connected to it.
2. Right-click the Windows icon on the desktop and select Network Connections. Alternatively, search for and select View Network Connections from the Windows search screen.
3. Right-click the currently connected wireless network and select Status. Alternatively, double-click the entry or select it and click View Status of This Connection from the toolbar.
4. Click Wireless Properties from the WiFi Status window.
5. Click the Security tab and check Show Characters. Your currently connected network’s password appears in the Network Security Key field.