One of the first things you do when setting up a new computer is to connect to a wireless network. After that, everywhere you go, you need to reconnect to the wireless network manually and enter a password you might not remember. What if we tell you that you do not need to do that anymore?
In Windows 10 and Windows 11, it is possible to back up all your saved wireless network profiles that can then be restored on your new computer, or if you have reset or performed a clean install of your Windows OS.
This way, you do not need to remember any network profile names or passwords.
In this article, we show you multiple ways to back up, restore, and transfer the wi-fi profiles and their passwords from one Windows PC to another.
Also, learn how to use wi-fi and ethernet at the same time to speed up your internet.
Backup, Restore, and Transfer Wireless Network Profiles
Backup and Restore Wi-Fi Profiles using Command Prompt
One of the native methods to back up and restore your saved wireless network profiles is by using the Command Prompt. This method exports XML files with wi-fi profile details, which can then be imported onto another PC.
Follow these steps to backup your wi-fi profiles:
First, create a new, blank folder in any directory.
Now open an elevated Command Prompt.
As a best practice, view all the saved network profiles using this cmdlet:
netsh wlan show profiles
Use the following cmdlet to export the wireless profiles into the new folder:
Note: Replace [PathToNewFolder] with the complete path to the folder you created in Step 1 above, and [ProfileName] with the name of the wi-fi profile you want to export when exporting a single profile in the following commands.
To export all saved profiles:
netsh wlan export profile key=clear folder="[PathToNewFolder]"
To export a single network profile:
netsh wlan export profile "[ProfileName]" key=clear folder="[PathToNewFolder]"
When you see the folder that you had created now, you find that the XML files have now been saved into it.
You can double-click any XML file to open and view the profile details. It will open in your default XML application.
Inside the XML test, you will find the wi-fi’s SSID in the name section, and its password in the KeyMaterial field.
You can also save the XML files without the passwords, and only other details. To do that, you need to omit “key=clear” from the cmdlets shared above.
Now that you have backed up your wi-fi profiles, let us show you how to restore them using the Command Prompt. Note that each XML file needs to be restored individually. However, you can restore them only for the current user, or for all user accounts.
Start by moving the folder containing the XML files onto the new computer.
Launch an elevated Command Prompt.
Use the following command to restore a wi-fi profile:
Note: Replace [PathToFile] with the complete path to the XML file for which the network profile you want to restore.
For all user accounts:
netsh wlan add profile filename="[PathToFile].xml" user=all
For current user account:
netsh wlan add profile filename="[PathToFile].xml" user=current
Repeat the steps above to restore all the needed wi-fi network profiles on your computer.
Backup and Restore Wi-Fi Profiles using Microsoft Account
If you use your PC with a Microsoft account, then your wi-fi details are already being synced. However, confirm this by performing the steps below.
Note: Ensure that you are logged in using a Microsoft account. If not, learn how to convert a local account into a Microsoft account.
Navigate to the following:
Settings app >> Accounts >> Windows backup
Enable and then expand “Remember my preferences.”
Ensure that “Passwords” and “Other Windows settings” is checked.
You can now use the same Microsoft account on your other PC to sync and restore the wi-fi network profiles automatically.
Backup and Restore Wi-Fi Profiles using NetSetMan
NetSetMan is a utility that is free to use domestically, with a Professional license available for use at the organizational level.
The primary purpose of this application is for the users to save their various networking profiles so that they do not have to manually change their settings when changing from one network to another.
However, it can also be used to back up and restore wireless network profiles. However, only one wireless network profile can be exported at a moment.
Here is how to back them up:
Download and install NetSetMan.
Switch to the Wi-Fi tab.
Click on a network profile and then click Export.
Choose whether to export the profile with the password as plain text or encrypted.
Select a location where to save the XML file.
You have now successfully backed up a wireless network profile into an XML file. Repeat these steps to back up any network profiles that you want.
To restore a wi-fi network profile using NetSetMan, follow these steps:
Start by moving the XML file(s) to the new computer.
Open NetSetman, switch to the wi-fi tab, and then click “Profiles.”
Select the XML file for the network profile you want to import.
The associated network profile will now be imported onto your computer.
Transfer Wi-Fi Network Profiles using QR Codes
Although this method may not be ideal for backup wireless network profiles, it is perfect for sharing them with other computers that can scan QR codes.
You can create a custom QR code using Qifi.org and then scan the generated QR code on the computer you want to transfer the profile.
Open Qifi.org using any web browser.
Enter the SSID and the password for the network profile, then click Generate.
The QR code would appear instantly.
Click “Export” to save the QR code as a PNG image.
You can also click “Print” to print out the QR code if needed.
Now all you need to do is share the QR code with the other computer and then scan it to add the wireless network profile.
You do not always have to connect to a wireless network each time to you go to a new place with your new or refreshed PC. Simply back up your existing networks and their passwords using any one of the methods shared above and import them onto the new one.