Mailbag: How can I make the WEP password text visible in the Media Center wireless network connection page

We got this question from a Windows Vista beta customer, and I wanted to pass this information on because it also applies to Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 and Update Rollup 2.


When I attempt to configure a wireless network within the Media Center UI, there is a text box that allows me to enter the WEP authentication key.  The characters in the textbox appear as stars, which makes it difficult to detect and fix typing errors.

Since it is much more likely that I will enter the characters with errors using a Media Center remote control, is there some way I can force the WEP authentication key to appear as plain text instead of stars so I can check for errors?


Yes, there is a registry setting that will cause the WEP authentication key to appear as plain text in the Media Center UI.  You can use TweakMCE to set it for you automatically.  Alternatively, you can set it directly in the registry using the following commands:

  1. Close Media Center

  2. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd

  3. Type the following in the cmd window and press enter: reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center" /v DontHideWirelessKey /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

  4. Restart Media Center


Comments (3)

  1. Chris L. says:

    seems like a security loop hole…..

  2. Hi Chris – This registry value only allows the password to be visible as you are entering it.  It does not cause it to be stored anywhere in plain text.  This tip should only be used as a workaround for people who would like the convenience of being able to see the password as they are typing it in.  If the Media Center is in a location where others can view it as the password is being typed in, you should use your best judgement and not enable this feature if you are worried about people seeing your password as you are typing it.

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