What SSIDs are hidden if we do not install the optional WinXP WPA2 update?
Specifically, what does this sentence actually mean? "... after you install the update, Windows XP will display previously hidden Service Set Identifiers (SSIDs) in the Choose A Wireless Network dialog box."
I thought the whole point of "hidden" SSIDs was to hide them from people who don't previously know them (isn't it?).
Can someone shed light on what exactly is un-hidden with this Windows WPA2 update?
It means that you now will also be able to connect to "hidden" SSID's with Windows' software and not only with software made by reasonable ppl.
I did never understand the point of "hidden" SSID. You cannot hide a SSID from the air in any reasonable meaning of "hide". Either a wireless access point is up running broadcasting it's SSID or it's not up and running. No client software can hide what is going on in the air. That some software obey such a stupid idea (hidden SSID) by not showing the a SSID to a client user does not make the SSID off the air.
Ah, I think I get it. I think... Is this a practical usage summary?
If, say at a hotel where there is a wireless access point on every corner of every floor, any one PC in a hotel room can either see all the access points or just the strongest access point?
Before this Windows XP patch (KB 917021), I'm assuming only one hotel access point was visible; but after this Windows XP Wireless Zero Configuration (WZC) patch, all the hotel access points are visible.
Are you sure? That's not what LR said it was. The reason I wonder if the above explanation is correct is because, in Windows XP SP2, I can certainly connect to "hidden SSIDs" with or without the Microsoft KB917021 Wireless Zero Configuration WPA2-PSK Personal patch.
I do agree with you that hidden isn't really hidden from a "sniffer" (I don't know how to do it, but, you guys, like Jeff L. certainly do).
Hey! I'm surprised. I was setting up a WinXP SP3 system and the WinXP SP2 KB
wouldn't install on SP3, saying that it's been superceded by WinXP SP3.
But, and this is the funny thing, but I didn't see any option for WPA2-Personal when I was trying to set up the wireless network in Windows XP SP3 (which is why I was downloading the KB in the first place).
Any idea how to access the new WinXP SP3 WPA2-PSK option in WZC?
My SSID "foobar" is hidden so I press "Set up a wireless network"
Welcome to the Wireless Network Setup Wizard -> Next -> Network name (SSID): foobar
At this point, nothing I do gets me WPA2-Personal or WPA2-PSK! The only options are a. Automatically assign a network key b. Manually assign a network key c. Use WPA encryption instead of WEP
I want WPA2!
In frustration, I choose "Manually assign a network key" and enter the Network key for my wpa2-psk router but up pops the "Wireless Network Setup Wizard" error ... The WEP key can be one of the following lengths
- Exactly 5 or 13 characters long
- Exactly 10 or 26 characters long
But I don't want WEP! I want WPA2!
That's why I was trying to download the KB!
I'm in a catch 22.
A. I can't install WPA2 from the KB because it says it's already there in Windows XP Service Pack 3. B. Yet, I can't find any option to select WPA2 in the Wireless Network Setup Wizard.
Someone else had a similar issue and resolved it by reinstalling the
Hi Aver, Yep! That's EXACTLY the same problem! WinXP SP3 negates the need to add WPA2 to WinXP Here's what was on that Microsoft forum in case someone runs into this in the future out here on the usenet. Thanks! Donna
---------- net-tek - Posted on Tuesday, July 29, 2008 7:52:53 PM
I had to reformat and reinstall my laptop today. After researching, I discovered that WPA2 was implemented with Windows XP SP3, so I didn't worry about applying the WPA2 patch to my XP SP2 installation. I installed the OS, then installed SP3 before installing the wireless driver for my laptop. After installing the driver and trying to add a new wireless network, there were no options for anything but WPA. I have reinstalled SP3 to no avail.
I have also found that after installing the WPA2 patch on a Windows XP SP2 laptop and then installing SP3 the WPA2 options are all gone. This is really dismaying since I often would rather use the Windows sytem drivers for my wireless connections than the vendor software which usually takes up more system resources.
Bottom line: I can't get WPA2 installed or working on a laptop with XP SP3 installed. Can someone tell me what to do about this?
---------- rdhw - Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:17:36 AM
That's very strange, as WPA2 is included in SP3. I can think of the following possibilities:
Please check to see whether your wireless card needs a driver update from the wireless manufacturer.
There are things that can go wrong during the SP3 updater process that lead to subsequent wireless connection problems. The most frequently seen problem of this nature is if a Norton product is on the PC while the SP3 updater was running. This leads to a conflict producing many unnecessary registry keys. See
for a fix procedure.
Check to see whether the wireless card is under the control of Windows, or under the control of an application that was supplied with the card's software. You might have to turn off any such application to enable Windows to gain full control of the card.
---------- net-tek - Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 8:01:07 AM
Thanks for your response. I can address each of your thoughts easily.
I updated the wireless card driver and all other hardware drivers before running SP3.
No antivirus software was installed at the time I installed SP3. After installing the OS I installed all the hardware drivers and then updated the OS by installing SP3 and then running Windows Update.
Windows is and was in control of the wireless card the whole time.
Hope this provides you with enough information. Thank you again.
---------- net-tek - Posted on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 8:29:48 AM
Ok, I uninstalled the wireless card and reinstalled it in Device Manager and all the WPA2 encryption modes are now visible. I was able to establish a connection to my wireless network using WPA2-PSK. Thanks for looking and hope this helps someone else.
No. Some AP's can have several SSID's but under pre-WPS IE you could only see one of the SSID's from a wireless client. After installing kb893357 you would be able to see all of the SSID's a single WPS IE enabled AP is producing.
The workaround was to un-hide the SSID temporarily using the click and select GUI to choose the settings (WPA2 PSK AES). Then to re-hide the SSID broadcasting by the wireless router.
Apparently the WinXP SP3 WZC setup uses a slightly different GUI when you have to specify the SSID versus when you simply click on a found SSID.
That was the simple solution (I'm pretty sure this is a reproducible bug so I'll just state that out here and someone in the future can verify when they set up their home wireless network and report back the results).
TEST: a. Hide the broadcast of your SSID b. Install Windows XP SP3 c. Try, just try, in WZC, to choose WPA2-PSK AES (I dare you to try)
SOLUTION: a. Un-hide the broadcast of your SSID b. Install Windows XP SP3 c. Select your SSID in the WZC & follow the prompts d. Hide the broadcast of your SSID when done (if desired)
No, I'm not sure. It was a hope hidden SSID thing was gotten rid of in MS too. The main point of my answer still stands though.
I think LR explained it better than me. Go with his answer.
I never said you cannot connect to hidden SSID. The point is that you can't see it on a list of all near by APs. But if this is what you meant, I cannot explin it. I just remember I had problem connecting to WPA and then WPA2, but I don't remember how I solved it. Maybe someone else can help.
You don't need a special sniffer software to do it, neither do you need to be an expert of any sort. Today client software comes with a button to show so called hidden APs. This is how I understood the text you got from MS, but LR seams to have a better explaination.
The AP is a home wireles srouter which is set up for "WPA2-PSK/WPA2 Personal" AES and has been ever since I read to do that on here.
There are other computers on the access point, and Skype phones, all of which are using the WPA2-PSK (aka WPA2 Personal), so that part of the equation was never in question! :)
Thanks for digging though ... it seems the problem lies with the Windows setup GUI which only allows for WEP or WPA when you set it up on WinXP SP3 from scratch (i.e., which is what you have to do when the SSID is not broadcast).
In contrast, when you broadcast the SSID, you get a prompt for the network key which Windows XP3 accepts as WPA2-PSK (aka WPA2 Personal).
On Sun, 4 Jan 2009 00:50:46 -0800, Donna wrote in :
You cannot really hide an access point by turning off SSID broadcast -- it's still trivially easy to see them. In general it's a bad idea because it tends to cause problems, like multiple access points camping on the same channel.
That might be Microsoft's logic (at least it makes sense that way).
If so, then it's not a bug that you can't even find a button, in WinXP SP3, to select WPA2-PSK unless the SSID is broadcast by the AP.
I would suspect that the fact that I typed the SSID into the WZC setup GUI, the WZC setup would perform the act of declaring that SSID to be "preferred", and therefore it should send a "probe" to the AP, which should allow it to connect.
Once it connects to the AP, then I should think it should allow me the option of selecting WPA2-PSK or not; but it doesn't allow this option (unless the SSID is broadcast by the AP prior to connecting to the AP).