You can sort of understand it from a security point of view, it is probably against some form of policy to dish out wireless keys to your users but it does mean its us poor buggers that need to manually type the key into each machine before allocating them out to members of staff or putting them in trollies for the pupils. (That is if you don't use imaging, such as Ghost/MDT/Ping)
Now after a hell of a lot of Group Policy searches via Google, there doesn't seem to be anyone who has bothered to write out a step by step guide on how to send out a wireless setting with the key pre-installed. So here I go, finally solving this damn issue that has tormented god knows how many people. The beauty of this method, is that it is Microsoft Approved, as you don't need any third party tools to do this. :)
Here we go.
1. First you need a machine, ideally freshly built, no crap on it. Windows 7 of course.
2. You need to set this machine up connected to the desired wireless connection you want, in this example we are going to say the SSID of the school is: ITMagic_WPA.
So join your network and type in the wireless key, in this example we shall say the wireless key is: NoWires12345
3. Once connected to the wireless, if you want to play around with certain settings like Infrastructure only etc, do it now. This method being taught will also allow for these customisations to be exported to :)
4. So now we have a fresh Windows 7 machine, connected to our wireless network ITMagic_WPA with the network key NoWires12345 correctly implemented.
5. Now we export it using Microsofts own NetSh Command line.
(You might be turning away now, thinking i've tried this route and didn't succeed, but if you are like me, you probably didn't have time to play with it enough to understand it. Well I found time and with a little scripting experience behind me, I figured it out. I still haven't found a website that tells you this part.)
Go to Start, type Cmd and open that black window of power. - (just open command line)
6. Type in
You will be presented with a list of all the "Wireless Profiles" stored on your machine, if you have only connected to one network, you will have a massive list of.. one.
Nine times out of ten, this profile name is identical to your wireless SSID. So lets say I did it with my example profile, the command line would come back with the result:
Well now I know the name of my profile, I can export it. Of course I don't just export the name, I export everything, the name, the key and any extra settings I might of set.
7. To export type in:
Remember to obviously replace my example with your profile name.
8. By default, this command will save this file to the ".\WirelessConnectionName" , basically, this location is found in C:\Users\YourLoggedInUser\ folder.
9. You will find an xml file named something like Wireless Network Connection - SSID.xml, so mine would be Wireless Network Connection-ITMagic_WPA.xml. Or something like that, depends if your machine is untouched and fresh.
Save the xml file to a shared area where people have access to, lets say the netlogon folder just to keep things simple, I mean if you have a designated Scripts Share on your server, by all means stick it in there, but remember to change the below script to suit your network.
14. Right, so i've saved my XML file as a shorter name called "WirelessConnect.xml" and saved it to the
15. In the netlogon folder, create a txt document and type in the following script:
IF EXIST C:\WirelessSet.txt GOTO _END Netsh wlan add profile filename="\\dc-01\netlogon\WirelessConnect.xml" user=all >>C:\WirelessSet.txt :_END
Just make sure your UNC path, points at the xml file in your share.
16. Save this file as Win7Wireless.bat or something like that
17. Go to group policy, and set this wireless script to run at start up for all the wireless 7 machines on your network, once run, it won't rerun providing there is a file called WirelessSet.txt on the C:\ on that computer.
Your wireless is now deployed, with a key.
Hope this helps a few people!!