While connecting to a broadcasting wireless network in Windows 8 is a very simple process, the same can’t be said of a hidden network. By not broadcasting its SSID (service set identifier), or network name, a hidden network is not visible in the list of available networks you can access from your computer. You’ll need to know the SSID, as well as all of the other security information before you can connect. Read on for step-by-step instructions for connecting to a hidden network in Windows 8.
Get Your Network’s Details
When connecting to a broadcasting network, much of the network configuration is done for you automatically. All you have to do is enter a password. When connecting to a hidden network you’ll need to gather all of the information and enter it in manually. Before you even try to connect, you’ll need to gather some important information.
Access your router’s configuration menu, which can typically be done by entering its IP address in your browser’s address bar.
Select the wireless settings section and take note of your network’s SSID and Security Type. If your network uses WEP, check the WEP key. If you’re using WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK, take note of the Pre-shared key. If you aren’t using any kind of security, you’ll only need the SSID.
Note: The aforementioned security types are those most likely to be found in home networks. WPA, WPA2 and 802.1x are most often found in corporate networks, where an admin would be handling the configuration.
Access the Network and Sharing Center
There are a number of ways to enter the Network and Sharing Center. The fastest method on a Desktop is to right-click the networking icon in the system tray and click "Open Network and Sharing Center."
Another option is to move your cursor to the bottom-right corner of your Desktop to open the Charms. Click or tap "Settings" and then "Control Panel."
Click or tap "Network and Internet" and then "Network and Sharing Center."
Connect to the Hidden Wireless Network
Once you find your way to the Network and Sharing Center, click or tap "Set up a new connection or network."
Select "Manually connect to a wireless network" and click or tap "Next."
Enter the security information for your network in the spaces provided. Be sure to enter the information exactly as it was set up on your wireless router to ensure the connection. Once the information is completed, click or tap "Next."
Provided you entered the information correctly, you’ll receive a notice of success.
Check your network icon in the system tray. It should depict a series of full bars to show your connection strength.
Troubleshooting Connection Issues
Even if you followed the instructions provided above carefully, issues can arise. If you find yourself unable to connect to your network of choice, and you’re sure the security information you entered is exactly correct, check out these articles for troubleshooting information.
- Troubleshoot Internet Connection Problems over a Wireless Network - Windows can diagnose and solve many simple connectivity issues using its own troubleshooter. This article details how to access the tool.
- Troubleshoot Wireless Network Connection Problems by Yourself - If you’d rather do your own troubleshooting, this article provides a series of flowcharts that can help. Answering a few questions can help you find the cause of your networking troubles.
- Fix Troublesome Wireless Connections by Removing their Profile - If you find yourself unable to connect to a previously functioning network, you may have an issue with your network profile. Check out this tutorial the learn how to delete the toublesome profile and get connected.
You’ll notice that the procedure for connecting to your hidden network is much more complex than simply connecting to a broadcasting network. In case you are wondering whether or not it is worth the effort, that is a matter of debate. Hiding your SSID does cloak the network from unskilled hackers and freeloaders, but it wouldn’t even slow down an experienced hacker. In the end, if hiding your SSID makes you feel more secure, go for it. But no matter what you choose, make sure to use a secure password and encryption.