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What is a Network Security Key and How Can You Identify Yours?

Network Security KeyIsn’t it funny how just as you start thinking you’ve evolved into some computer-savvy, modern-day citizen and businessperson, your computer throws some seemingly basic terminology at you, and suddenly you have no clue what’s going on or what you’re supposed to do? As humans, we start to take things for granted and they become normalized to us. But very few of us understand our devices or speak computer terminology.

One example is the term “network security key.” What in the world is it, what is it for, and where do you find it?

Your Network Security Key is the Password for Your Internet Network.

It connects your computers or other devices to your router, allowing you to receive the signal and get online. If your computer forgets or someone changes the network security key, you will be unable to access your internet-based websites, programs, and files. You very often will need it if trying to connect a new device to your network.

How do you find your network security key? 

On Your Router

Often, the network security will be marked on a label on your router, and if you never changed the password or reset your router to default settings, than you’re good to go. It may be listed as “Security Key,” “WEP Key,” “WPA Key,” “WPA2 Key,” “Wireless Key,” or “Passphrase.”

You might also find this in the documentation that came with your router.

If you can’t find it on your router or in the paperwork, how you find it depends on your operating system.

On Your Computers and Devices

When you are connected to the network, your computer remembers it, and you can look in your PC to obtain the password. It’s a good idea to write it down somewhere ahead of time and keep it somewhere safe so you can easily retrieve it as needed.

Windows 7:

Click the Start button, and then open the Control Panel. Select “Network and Internet,” click “View network status and tasks.” Click on “Manage Wireless Networks” and then find the name of your wireless network on the menu that opens. 

Right-click, choose “Properties,” and then select the Security tab. Check “Show characters,” if the characters are concealed, and then you will see your Network security key.

Windows 8 or Windows RT:

Open the Charms bar (location depends on your device: see here). Choose “Settings,” and then look for the wireless icon. Click.

Hover over the name of your wireless network, right click, and then choose “View Connection Properties.” Select the Security tab. Check “Show characters,” if the characters are concealed, and then you will see your Network security key.


Click “Go” at the top of your screen, and then choose “Utilities.” Double-click “Keychain Access.” Fin your network on the list. Check “Show password” (it may ask for Administrator password).

Still Stumped About Your Network Security Key?

Perhaps we can help. Or feel free to get in touch about other tech questions. Our qualified engineers are ready to answer any questions you may have.

Resources: Windows Eight Forums, Home Network Admin, RadioShack 

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