WiFi passphrase or key is incorrect even if it’s correct after upgrading to Windows 7

If you’ve encountered the error “the key or passphrase is incorrect” with your wireless connection after upgrading your Windows XP or Windows Vista to Windows 7, then you’re not alone. I’ve encountered this annoying error after upgrading my 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium to 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium.

I already browsed the web about it and found multiple cases same as mine in Windows 7 forums and other tech forums related to wireless connectivity issues. What’s weird is that it only happens with the current wireless internet connection that you’re using, others will not be affected.

The best thing to do is disable your wireless connection first before you update your OS.

I have 3 wireless routers at home and the 2 routers are not affected, only the one that I’m currently using. After reconnecting to that router, I can’t connect anymore because my password is not correct! OMFG!

I then restarted my modem and my router and changed the password. Still, it didn’t help.

The next thing I did is remove my router’s pass. Now I can connect, but not securely, and my neighbors can used my WiFi for free! I don’t think that’s a great idea.

Now, I tried to change my SSID and my keyphrase as well. It still didn’t help.

I’m now out of ideas and I don’t think this can ever be fixed. I already re-installed my Windows 7 and updated all my drivers. I still can’t fix this small problem. I’m a complete noob!


19 responses to “WiFi passphrase or key is incorrect even if it’s correct after upgrading to Windows 7”

  1. Simon Chester Avatar
    Simon Chester

    Enabling MAC address filtering should stop your neighbors accessing your network.

  2. I share your pain. This §@&# thing is driving me crazy. I even copy & paste the password but Windows refuse to accept it.

    There is one work around though: open the “Network and Sharing Center”, click on “Manage wireless network”, remove any wireless profile accosiated with your SSID. Then click on “Add” and type in your configuration. After that windows will try to connect automatically. The downside is unstable connection. Look like windows trying to connect to wireless all the time.

  3. Chuck Nepps Avatar
    Chuck Nepps

    This is driving me crazy as well. After browsing the web I came across the comment that updating the adapter driver fixes the problem. After I did that, I tried connecting to my router and this time it asked for the PIN instead of the Key, I entered the PIN (printed on the label on the router in my case) and it connected! Had no problems for about a week, then I booted up one morning and could not connect; back to saying the “Key or pass phrase is incorrect”. I tried the adapter driver again, but it just returns the message “driver is up to date”. I have a laptop running Xp that connects fine, my wife has a laptop running Windows7, that connects fine, just can’t get my desktop running Windows7 (actually a desktop hybrid…it’s an HP Pavilion Slimline 7712 n) to connect. This problem did not start when I installed Windows 7 about a year ago; only starting acting up a few weeks ago. I have changed internet providers, but have had the current one for 6 months. Something must have changed, via a Windows update, that’s messing with the wireless connectivity.
    Has anyone else made any progress in solving this problem?

  4. Eistein Avatar


  5. Vista and Windows 7 can only accept PSKs that contain the characters 0-9 and A-F. If your wireless router is setup with a PSK that contains any other characters then Windows will not be able to connect to it. If you want to use Windows and wireless you can only use a PSK that contains hexadecimal characters. As to why Microsoft imposes this limitation (or allows wireless card manufacturers to impose this limitation) and doesn’t support wireless specifications only Microsoft knows.

    1. Irfan ali taj Avatar
      Irfan ali taj

      I was going to kill my internet provider but this wasnt their fault .. thanks for your idea man… you saved me.. I was going to be mad

    2. This happened recently 2018, to my HP and as soon as I changed the password to hexadecimal characters, my WiFi started working like a champ. By the way, this issue only happened with Win 7, Not Win 10. Thank you very much.

  6. I had the same problem, and I managed to fix it. What I did was I went into the windows Device manager, found the wireless adapter, and rolled back the drivers.

    1. Please pardon my ignorance but when you say your “rolled back” the drivers, what exactly did you do?

  7. Schuette Avatar

    Thanks for another fantastic post. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am on the look for such information.

  8. Had same problem. Comments here helped with solution. Changed Wifi usb adapter and used different driver — now it connects. Thanks guys.


  9. Same here. I think this is an issue with the Belkin router, as I can connect using Linksys. Really weird problem though. I was able to connect using the Guest connection. Then my Windows 7 PC will automatically select the main connection in my Belkin router.

    Based on the comments that I’ve read from this post. I assume that the problem is the compatibility of my WiFi USB adapter, because it’s Linksys. Using a Belkin WiFi Adapter easily solves the problem.

    But that’s just me. I hope this comment helps.

  10. Oliver Avatar

    Thanks Mummy Ninja, that was exactly my issue. I had a Linksys wireless USB adapter and it didn’t work. I just changed for a Broadcom network adapter and it works! Linksys is not Win7 compatible

  11. Alex, great advice.
    My first trial was to have a guest-SSIS with WPA2 security and that worked stable. but I didnot like the the principle. So under the DEVICE MANAGER I automatically updated the driver software and the problem was solved.

  12. You can also try to manually add your network in Manage Wireless Connections list if you know:
    1. SSID, name of the network
    2. security type
    3. password
    This will rewrite old network information stored by Windows if you are sure your drivers are (and were) working fine.

  13. you must use Client Manager its easy Connected to router

  14. Same here.. but after I tried @Lamnk suggest, the icon “connected” (signal bar) were still in red cross sign. Then, in the Internet sharing center there the notification that the laptop had connected (eventhough the signal bar is in red cross). I tried to open my browser, tried to open google, and voila! the internet were connected. So in my case, the connection still run eventhough the signal bar showed the unable(red cross) sign.

  15. just uninstall any cisco applications will resolve the issue

  16. enter into ” manage networks”, remove the wifi you can not connect to, and click add, enter the password. It works for me, I hope it works for you as well.

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