Saturday, November 17, 2012

Adding/Removing Wireless Profiles in Windows 8

I've had the wonderful opportunity to play with a Microsoft Surface. It's a pretty cool device. Usually, the first thing to do with any computing device is to connect it to my home wireless network. I'm no network administrator, but I've set up basic wireless security using WPA2 and MAC Address Filtering. I also refuse to broadcast the SSID.

Note: If you know a better way to do this, please let me know!

Adding a Wireless Profile

In Windows 8 (and 7), it is really easy to create a wireless profile. Just fire up desktop mode and swipe out the Charm menu (swipe in from the right of the desktop). Then, navigate to Settings -> Control Panel. From the Control Panel, click on Network and Internet. The rest is straightforward:

Removing a Wireless Profile

Let's say we wanted to remove or modify our newly created profile. In Windows 7, we simply follow these steps. Unfortunately, there is no way to manage wireless profiles from the Control Panel in Windows 8.

Forunately, the new wireless menu gives us options. We can right-click our SSID and click Forget this network:

Then, we could set it up all over again using the process above. The catch: this only works for networks we have already connected to.

Removing a Wireless Profile (Command Prompt)

Now, let's say we set up a faulty profile. Let's also assume we don't broadcast our SSID. Now, we can't connect to our network and it doesn't show up in the wireless menu!

Another option is to remove our wireless profile using netsh. This is a command line utility used for managing network configurations. All you do is open a Command Prompt and run the following:
netsh wlan show profile
Profiles on interface Wi-Fi:

Group policy profiles (read only)

User profiles
    All User Profile        : SSID1
    All User Profile        : SSID2
    All User Profile        : SSID3

And to delete the profile, just run:
netsh wlan delete profile SSID2
Profile "SSID2" is deleted from interface "Wi-Fi".
Voila! Now, you can recreate the broken profile following the same process above.


  1. Thanks for the "netsh" command prompt. It saves the day! What happened to my Win 8 is this: when I set my SSID to No authentication (open), I can't "forget the network". The right click / touch screen press just don't show the option. Might be a bug but the netsh does the job.

    Still hoping that MS restore back the wep shared key. Can't connect to the network. "Why MS you removed it?!"

  2. Thank you! Clear explanation of exactly how to extricate yourself from an erroneous WLAN profile.

  3. Thanks for the info. I can see in your post that you have alluser profiles. Am I missing something or could you tell me how I can create a wifi profile available for all users.
    It seems the default profiles created by windows 8 are user-bound and thus the wifi connection drops as soon as I try to connect to my laptop over RDP, because the service account the rdp server is running on does not have a wifi connection. Can I use netsh to create an 'all user' profile?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Ok found the problem, so I thought I share it.

      It seems that the Intel Pro Wireless software (comming with intel wifi adapters) is messing up things in windows 8. As soon as i told the Intel software to stop managing my wifi networks and let windows manage the wifi networks (right-click on the pro wireless icon in the systray) the 'netsh wlan show profiles' suddenly showed all the profiles.
      I deleted them all with the command 'netsh wlan delete profile name=*'. Then I recreated the wifi profile via windows to my wireless network at home.
      Now windows created an 'all user profile'. Now i connected from another machine to my laptop via RDP and everything worked fine.

    2. interesting... great to know, thank you so much!

  4. Thank you. Works great !

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Try this tool to manage network profiles: It seems to work pretty well.

  7. how do we delete "read only" Group policy profiles ?

  8. is there any command to create a new profile like netsh