If you have been using Windows Vista and you have set up a connection to a wireless network you may have noticed – as I did – the text at the bottom that reads "If you have a USB Flash drive with Network Settings for XXXXXX, insert it now."
This caught my attention the first time I saw it and I had even made a couple of cursory attempts to figure out how to save settings onto a USB key – to no avail. Today I decided to try and figure it out once and for all.
I started out by searching Google and found nothing of much use – though it did lead me to the Windows Vista online help. I searched through the online help and that was not much help at all. So I decided to do it the old fashioned way and have a good hunt around... and I figured it out! Here's how you save Wireless network settings onto a USB Flash drive in Windows Vista. (If you already have the network configured on your Vista machine – delete it before you begin.)
- Start by right clicking the network icon in the System tray and selecting Connect to a network.
- In the Connect to a network dialog click on the link down the bottom that reads "Set up a connection or network"
- On the Choose a connection option page click on Set up a wireless router or access point and click Next.
- You then get this welcome screen that tells you what the Wizard is going to do – click Next
- After a short detection process (which for me did not detect anything – YMMV) you are presented with an option to Create wireless network settings and save to a USB Flash drive – click on that and click Next.
- On the network name dialog you need to enter the SSID of you wireless network. Unless you have not yet configured you wireless access point do not just accept the default here – the SSID must match what is configured on your AP.
- After that you need to enter the network pass phrase. Again – the settings entered here need to match those configured on you AP. Enter the key and click next.
- You then get an option to configure sharing – or you can choose not to enable sharing for this connection – you can always change it on the client later.
You then get a save settings dialog that will allow you to save to a USB key. Insert a USB key and make sure it is selected in the dropdown, then click next.
- On the final screen you get instructions on how to transfer these settings to other machines.
Basically you just insert the USB key into a Windows XP or Windows Vista client machine and – assuming auto run is enabled - you will be prompted to run the Wireless Network Setup Wizard.
The setup Wizard is so easy I did not even bother to screen shot it. There are two dialogs. The first one asks if you want to setup XYZ network. The second confirms that is succeeded. Too easy.