How to export and import your wireless network settings in Windows 7

Windows 7 has a lot of great new enhancements in comparison with previous versions; one of them is the improvement in wireless network connections that makes easier, for example, to connect your laptop to a home, public or work wireless network. But there is one thing that still remains a little bit annoying when settings up a wireless network, that is remembering and typing correctly the security key and in some cases the wireless network name (SSID), because it is not being broadcast and you have to type it manually.

To overcome this little problem there is an options in Windows 7 that you are going to learn today and allows you to export your wireless network settings from one computer to another using a USB flash, and then import them back to a computer/laptop/netbook running Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.

How to export your wireless network settings

1.  Open the Network and Sharing Center by clicking the wireless icon from the taskbar and clicking the Open Network and Sharing Center link, or by going to the Start menu, type Network and Sharing Center and pressing Enter.

Open wireless connection icon

2.  When the Network and Sharing Center window opens, in the left side, click the Manage wireless networks link.

Network and Sharing Center - Wireless


3.  While in the Manage Wireless Network section you will find a list with all the wireless networks that you were connected at one point in the past, select the one that you would like to backup and double-click it.

Windows 7 - Manage Wireless Network

4.  In the Wireless Network Properties, click on the link Copy this network profile to a USB flash drive.

Windows 7 - Wireless Network Properties

5.  Next the Copy Network Settings wizard will launch. Now insert a USB flash drive, give it a several seconds until the wizard detects it and then click the Next button.

Tip: While writing this article I have encounter a problem, the Copy Network Settings wizard did not detect my USB flash drive and the Next button never became enable. It seems that this wizard does not like USB flash drive that are formatted on NTFS. So if you encounter the same problem the solution is pretty simple, just backup any content that you may have in the USB flash drive and format it to FAT 32 file system with the Windows 7 Format tool, and try again.

Windows 7 - Copy Network Setting wizard


Wait until the settings are copied

Copying wireless settings to USB flash drive


6.  When it is all done, click the Close button.

Windows 7 - Wireless Network settings copied

If you take a look in the USB flash drive you will find the setupSNK.exe and AUTORUN.INF files, and SMRTNTKY folder (Do not delete them).

Note that you can only copy one wireless network profile at a time per USB flash drive, when you have imported the network profile and you try to export another wireless network profile, it will override the settings that you have previously saved in the USB flash drive.

Wireless USB Files


How to import your wireless network settings

1.  At the computer or laptop that you want to import your wireless settings, insert the USB flash drive and double-click the setupSNK.exe. When the Wireless Network Setup Wizard appears, click Yes.


Windows 7 - Wireless Network Setup Wizard

2.  Now the wireless settings are going to be imported, then click OK and you’re done, happy wireless network connection!

Wireless Successfully Added

Now you know how it is much practical to use the option that Windows 7 offers to backup your wireless profile to USB flash drive. So you don’t have to remember authentication keys or wireless network name (SSID) anymore. This is very useful for hidden and public wireless networks as well as to backup your wireless settings when rebuilding your Windows machine.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].