How to backup your Wireless network profiles in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

Recently we covered a useful tip on how to filter wireless networks in Windows 8 to create a black list or white list. Today I would like to share how you can back up your wireless network configuration (authorized SSIDs, saved passwords etc) to a file. When you reinstall Windows, you can restore your wireless connections configuration from that file.

How to create a backup of wireless profiles

To create a backup, you need to open an elevated command prompt and type all commands there.
Let's see first, which wireless profiles you have stored in Windows 8. Type the following command:

netsh wlan show profiles

It will show you the available profiles:
netsh wlan show profiles

Now let's create a backup of them.
To backup all profiles, enter the following:

netsh wlan export profile key=clear folder=C:\wifi

netsh wlan export profile all
Replace folder=C:\wifi with the path to the folder where you want to store the backup.
It will create XML files, one per wireless profile:
exported wifi profiles
Note: This command will save all your wireless profiles along with stored passwords. In case you want to create a backup without passwords, just omit the 'key=clear' part of the command, i.e.:

netsh wlan export profile folder=C:\wifi

If you want to back up only a single wireless profile, then type the following command:

netsh wlan export profile "type_profile_name_here" key=clear folder=c:\wifi

Replace the "type_profile_name_here" text with the actual Wireless SSID stored in your OS.
Again, to exclude the stored password from the exported data, use the command without the 'key=clear' portion.

netsh wlan export profile "type_profile_name_here" folder=c:\wifi

netsh wlan export single profile

How to restore a wireless profile from a backup

To restore a wireless profile you exported early, you need to use one of the following commands:

  • To restore the profile and make it available only for the current user:
    netsh wlan add profile filename="c:\wifi\profilename.xml" user=current

    Replace 'c:\wifi\profilename.xml' with the actual path to the desired back up file from which you want to restore.

  • To restore the profile and make it available for all user accounts on the Windows 8 PC:
    netsh wlan add profile filename="c:\wifi\profilename.xml" user=all

    restore profile

That's it. As you can see, the netsh wlan is a powerful set of tools to manage your wireless networks. It contains functionality that is missing in the GUI. Using it, you can significantly save your time and do advanced tasks.

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