Windows 8.1 tips: Managing Wireless Network Profiles

Hello folks,mitpro win8.1

A couple of weeks ago I was delivering a User Group event with The MITPRO and we were discussing Windows 8.1 in the enterprise.  (Check out our event listing to see if where we’re running the next User Group events)

During the discussion one of the attendees asked “How do you manage wireless network profiles in Windows 8.1?”

That got me thinking…  you’re right I said the GUI tools that allowed us to manage wireless network in Windows 7 are no longer there.  But that does not mean that you can’t manage them.

In Windows 7, there was a Control Panel applet that allowed you to control/manage the wireless network profiles on a PC.


It allowed you to add, remove, change the order, change the profile of each wireless profiles.


In windows 8.1 that control panel applet does not exist. so how do you take care of those settings?  well that always was another way to get to those settings in Windows 7.  It’s called NETSH and it’s still there in Windows 8.1.

enter NetSH in a command prompt and you’ll start a tool you can use to configure and monitor Windows-based computers at a command prompt. With the Netsh.exe tool, you can direct the context commands you enter to the appropriate helper, and the helper then carries out the command. A helper is a Dynamic Link Library (.dll) file that extends the functionality of the Netsh.exe tool by providing configuration, monitoring, and support for one or more services, utilities, or protocols. The helper may also be used to extend other helpers.

In this case we will use the WLAN helper.


and through it, we get access to commands that will allows us to perform the following actions.

add - Adds a configuration entry to a table.
connect - Connects to a wireless network.
delete - Deletes a configuration entry from a table.
disconnect - Disconnects from a wireless network.
dump - Displays a configuration script.
export - Saves WLAN profiles to XML files.
help- Displays a list of commands.
refresh - Refresh hosted network settings.
reportissues - Generate WLAN smart trace report.
set - Sets configuration information.
show - Displays information.
start - Start hosted network.
stop - Stop hosted network.

For example, to list all the wireless profiles that are registered on your PC\Laptop  you can use the “show profiles” command you will get the following:  (I blurred a few items since these came from my work machine and I want to keep some stuff private…  Smile )


To Delete a profile, type:  delete profile name="ProfileName"


To Show a security key type: show profile name=“ProfileName” key=clear  ( again some info has been blurred to protect the innocents)


And finally, if you wanted to change the preferred order for your machine to connect to specific wireless network, you could move a network up in the priority list by using the command: set profileorder name=goose interface="Wi-Fi" priority=1


Of course if you’re wondering what is the name of the Wireless Adaptor in your system, you can simply use the command show interface and it NetSHwill list all the information you need.


So you see, you can still manage the wireless network on your machine.  There is no GUI but the commands are pretty simple and they give you a lot of control over your environment.

I hope this helps.



Pierre Roman | Technology Evangelist
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Comments (3)

  1. Thanks! Been looking for this.

  2. Harvey Schoenman says:

    Good info. While everything may be available via the command line, it does not present the same easy options as does the GUI interface.

    My Win 8.1 laptop is connected to an external Kensington dock and my Ethernet cable plugs into the dock rather than the laptop. The only problem is that this network shows up as a Public network and not a Home network. What command, or sequence of commands, can I use to change that?

  3. Pierre

    Here's a neat piece of trivia I just stumbled across (and it makes sense). I've my LiveID on my Surface and Corporate device. Guess what carries across devices as well? WIFI Profiles!

    I just used your cool trick to clean up and found SSID I know for a fact this laptop never connected to but 4 computers ago in my last job a Surface DID connect to!

    Imagine my shock when I found an SSID for a hotel I haven't been to in 3 three years in the cache of a laptop that has only been online for 3 months!

    Now I'll have to dig for the PowerShell version 🙂


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