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Vista now appears to support automatic wireless key distribution through USB disks. To see this in action, attempt to connect to a secure access point (that you don't have a key for) and when it asks for a key, insert a USB drive. It reports that the drive doesn't have the required information.

How do you create this file? It would be very handy for distribution of keys - in fact, one needn't ever give the key out - an administrator comes along, plugs in the drive, and then leaves. The users never have access to the key as it goes straight into the windows wireless configuration (although I imagine it could be extracted from windows).

Is it a simple text format, or more complicated, and how does one create this inside windows?

Is it a well enough known format that it could be used for MAC and Linux configuration as well?

Is this the same format that is used by XP (but isn't as 'automatic' as Vista's new support)?

-Adam

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Vista uses the same system as XP SP2, called Windows Connect Now (WCN). The file itself is just an XML file on the USB drive named Wsetting.WFC, usually created with the Wireless Networking Setup Wizard.

It seems to be fairly well known, however I've never run across it being used with Linux or Mac systems...

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Thanks! That led me to WCN-UFD, and I'll post a new answer from what I found there... –  Adam Davis May 8 '09 at 22:02

Thanks to gharper who gave the information that led me to this:

Windows Connect Now, USB Flash Drive (WCN-UFD) is the name Microsoft uses for automatic wireless configuration as part of their Windows Rally suite of wireless configuration technologies.

Windows Connect Now-UFD for Windows XP Specification

Windows Connect Now-UFD and Windows Vista Specification

Sample Wsetting.wfc file for wireless AP with WPA, works with both XP and Vista:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<wirelessProfile xmlns="http://www.microsoft.com/provisioning/WirelessProfile/2004">
    <config>
    	<configId>000A013E-6740-439C-9935-EE58D85FA38A</configId>
    	<configAuthorId>0B4E59B8-8317-46B2-B8C2-C46850162E6C</configAuthorId>
    	<configAuthor>Microsoft Wireless Network Setup Wizard</configAuthor>
    </config>
    <ssid xml:space="preserve">FCTest324-2</ssid>
    <connectionType>ESS</connectionType>
    <primaryProfile>
    	<authentication>WPAPSK</authentication>
    	<encryption>TKIP</encryption>
    	<networkKey xml:space="preserve">adfafdgrhknakj fdankjnahiu rhyqa thnblajrtl985762987)</networkKey>
    	<keyProvidedAutomatically>0</keyProvidedAutomatically>
    	<ieee802Dot1xEnabled>0</ieee802Dot1xEnabled>
    </primaryProfile>
</wirelessProfile>

The above sample is from both specifications.

If you like this answer, please upvote gharper, I wouldn't have found it without his pointer.

-Adam

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