Clear Wireless Keys Automatically?
November 12, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Auto-Delete XP Laptop's Wireless "Preferred Networks" List?

At work, we have laptops we loan to staff. I want to be able to make sure all "Preferred Networks" are deleted automatically, or at the very least, the Network Keys are cleared.

As you probably know, once you connect to a wireless network on an XP machine, that network is stored in your list of Preferred Networks. It also stores the network's key (password), and will automatically log on when detected. Since we're loaning laptops to people, I don't want our network settings stored on the laptops (nor do I want their home network settings retained). My thought is: what if a laptop is stolen? The thief could park outside one of our buildings, and from the comfort of his car, he could automatically log into our network, using the credentials of the previous user...

"Kiosk mode" will not work for us; users need to be able to make & retain changes. And relying on individuals to delete the Preferred Networks is useless.

Ideally, once you log off/reboot, the settings are cleared.

Any suggestions?

posted by NYScott to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It sounds like your users are sharing the same logon/profile- That's probably a higher security risk than worrying about network keys. Also, setting a password/auto-lock will prevent any thieves from accessing any data.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:03 PM on November 12, 2009

Write a batch script to delete this reg key at login or shutdown/ logout:


Seconding locking PC after x amount of idle and standby.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:22 PM on November 12, 2009

Response by poster: Because our users (several hundred) can't be relied upon to remember a Windows username & password to log onto the laptop, there is no password to start Windows. If we used a username & password on all our loaner laptops, I'm absolutely certain most users would write down the information on a sticky note & attach it to the laptop's screen.

However, to log onto the network via wifi, there's a security key and a Cisco Access log-on ID & password. The Cisco Access log-on is unique to the user (via LDAP), and that has an X-hour expiration, eventually requiring the user to re-enter his/her credentials.

But here are a few potential scenarios that concern me: we're in a very popular & public location, so what if a user logs on while while in a cafeteria, or outside, etc., neglects to secure the laptop while he/she is distracted, and the laptop is stolen? Or, what if the laptop is being used for a presentation in one of our large public venues, and the user just leaves it there? Or, what if a user logs-on, leaves work, and loses/forgets the laptop somewhere? The laptops are easily identified as belonging to "this entity."

I like the batch script idea; not sure how to do it, but I'll figure it out. Thanks!!
posted by NYScott at 5:17 AM on November 13, 2009

Best answer: Here's my solution:

>Created a Batch File:

net stop "Wireless Zero Configuration"
regedit /s DelRegKey.reg
net start "Wireless Zero Configuration"

>Created a Reg File:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


>Placed both files in the same folder (I used c-doc&set-all users)

>Created a shortcut to the batch file, and placed shortcut in Startup folder for All Users.

Now, every time the laptop boots, the WZC service is stopped, the registry key that stores the information is deleted, and then the WZC service is started. Simple, and effective.
posted by NYScott at 7:49 AM on December 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

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