Is there a way for Windows 7 to connect to a wireless network before a user has logged in?

I have found no good answers to this question elsewhere. Some say it should already be happening if I am using Windows' connection management (WLAN AutoConnect, formerly WirelessZero), but I am using that, and it is not. I can sit at the login screen for as long as you please and it will not connect (watching the router from a separate PC), moments after I login it will connect.

Others have said that you need to use the manufacturer's connection management (not Windows'), and they can sometimes have the option for prelogin/prelogon connections, but I am using generic drivers. The device is a Netgear/Cisco WMP300N, with a Broadcom chipset. Netgear/Cisco and Broadcom all claim to not have drivers for Win7, but Win7 apparently comes with a functional driver.

  • To further clarify: this is a home network, no active directory or anything like that. Just a wireless router and a desktop computer. Using WEP security. No tricky setup or 'funniness'. I want this computer to be available to the network after a power-on without having to physically go to it and login.
    – EJ
    Mar 10, 2010 at 5:34
  • what will you do before logging in ? just curious Mar 10, 2010 at 6:28
  • @mgpyone want the system to be able to run backups and such in the background without me having to log in.
    – jcantara
    Apr 12, 2010 at 18:33
  • Have you figured this out? Let me know what you've tried.
    – sam yi
    Dec 8, 2013 at 8:05
  • I've found this and it's not working for me... ehow.com/…
    – sam yi
    Dec 8, 2013 at 8:05

1 Answer 1


Try adding an entry in the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run registry key.

In a command prompt, get the name of your profile by running netsh wlan show profile

Then in registry editor, add a string value to the above mentioned key. Call it anything, but its value should be something like

%comspec% /c netsh wlan connect name="<profile name>"

If there are no profiles available, make sure the automatically connect option is on (although from your question, it appears to be on).

  • Any thoughts on how/if this can be adapted for any recognized wifi? (i.e one that's already been connected to and has a password stored) The only real answers I've found are all for wpa2-enterprise (therefore domain-bound) and this is for some workgroup laptops. All will be upgraded to Win10 soon.
    – JoelAZ
    May 12, 2018 at 22:59

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