On the surface, the “Incorrect PSK provided for network SSID” error message merely means you entered the wrong password. However, the solution to this one isn’t always as simple as putting in the correct password. Let’s talk about this particular error and how to fix it, shall we?
When your computer connects to a new wireless network, Windows automatically creates a new profile to accommodate it. The new profile contains the SSID or network name, the PSK, and other security information needed to connect.
Sometimes, the connection process fails, and you see the ”incorrect PSK provided for network SSID” error displayed. Before we delve into solving this issue, let’s define a few basic terms first.
What is a Network SSID?
SSID stands for Service Set IDentifier. When you set up a wireless home network, you assign it a name to distinguish it from nearby networks. SSID is the technical term for a WiFi network name, and you will see it displayed when you connect a device to the wireless network.
The SSID usually appears printed on a label on the bottom or side of the modem along with the WiFi network alpha-numeric password WPA2 key.
What is the PSK of a Network?
PSK stands for Pre-Shared Key. It is one of two authentication methods used for WPA and WPA2 or WPA3 encryption on wireless networks. The PSK is an authentication method that uses 64 hexadecimal digits, or passphrase of 8 to 63 ASCII characters, to generate encryption keys for each wireless client.
Here is what a PSK looks like:
- SSID: Smith Family Home Network
- Password/Passphrase: ThisisMypassword123!
- PSK: c7p98e83bfd123d122ec776bc45682accfb7e8f0561f39f44dd388cba0e86g3
The concept of a PSK dates back to cryptography before the Digital Age and back to a time when encrypted messages in printed pages of a book needed decoding. The basic idea is that a user delivers a key through a secure channel and then sends a second transmission with encryption that depends on the initial key.
In a wireless network, the PSK acts as a digital asset to unlock encrypted messages sent over a network.
The standard for authentication though is moving from a simple password system to MFA or multi-factor authentication. Options like WPA or WiFi Protected Acess, and newer versions WPA2 or WPA3, plus encryption on wireless networks make PSK not the default authentication method when setting up a WLAN Service profile with access points, wireless routers, client adapters, and bridges. The 802.1X authentication is the standard choice.
PSK is more for home and small office networks that do not require the complexity of an 802.1X authentication server. PSK is simpler to implement, and you can also use it simultaneously with WPA/WPA2 to accommodate all connections.
What Does the “Incorrect PSK provided for network SSID” Error Message Mean?
The “Incorrect PSK provided for network SSID” error happens when a user tries connecting to a wireless router. It typically occurs after the password of a router is reset and the pre-shared key is changed.
As previously mentioned, Windows automatically creates a new profile that contains the SSID, PSK, and other pertinent information whenever a user connects to a new Wi-Fi network. It was also stated that sometimes, the automatic connection process fails, thus resulting in an “ incorrect PSK provided for network SSID” error.
Why You Might See the “Incorrect PSK provided for network SSID” Error?
A few reasons you might see the “incorrect PSK provided for network SSID“ error:
- You’ve entered an incorrect password
- The passwords on the router were changed or have been reset, and the PSK changed
- Router settings changed
- Computer settings changed
- The router is using the default Windows adapter
- A faulty network profile or corrupted network driver
6 Ways to Resolve the “Incorrect PSK provided for network SSID” Connectivity Error
When you see this error, follow these easy fixes:
- Make sure you are using the correct password
- Restart the modem and router
- Delete existing Wireless Network profile
- Install updated driver
- Connect Manually
- Connect using an elevated command prompt
For some solutions that require an internet connection, you may need to acquire a connection through a hotspot or other means.
1. Enter the Correct Password
It may sound like an obvious fix, but before attempting any of the following remedies, make sure you are using the correct password.
2. Restart the Modem and Router
If your router and modem have been working for quite a while, there’s a possibility that it got overheated. If this is why the error appears, turn off the modem and router. Wait for 3 minutes to give them time to cool down, and then turn your modem and router back on.
If neither entering the correct password nor restarting your modem and router worked, try these fixes:
3. Delete Existing Wireless Network Profile
If you are using a third-party application of any kind, like a Wireless Connection Manager, your computer saves the settings and profile of the wireless network previously connected. After a network or router password is changed, the saved profile and settings may remain unchanged. You will need to open the network configuration utility to delete the profile.
Start by deleting the existing network profile and then reconnecting to the network. Here’s how you apply this fix:
- Click on Windows Key
- Type: Settings into the search bar
- Click Open Network & Internet settings
- Select Wi-Fi on the menu
- On the right side, select Manage known networks
- Choose the network you want to delete
- Click the Forget button
Now that you deleted the profile try connecting to the network again. If it still does not connect, move on to the next solution.
4. Install Updated Drivers
Out-of-date or corrupted drivers cause a lot of problems. Installing the latest driver software for your router often offers a fast solution.
Fix the issue by installing a trusted third-party program, or updating drivers through the device manager as follows:
- Make sure you are connected to the internet through a mobile hotspot if necessary. You may also try using an Ethernet connection, or downloading the driver onto a USB drive from another computer with internet access.
- Click Windows Key
- In the search bar, type: Device Manager then select it from the menu
- A menu of your device’s hardware, software, programs, and peripherals will be displayed
- Double-click on Network adapters to expand the category
- Right-click on the network where the error occurred then select Update driver
- In the pop-up window, click Search automatically for drivers
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete operations
- After you install the latest driver, restart your PC
- Check to see if you can connect to the network
Alternatively, follow these steps to update the drivers:
- Make sure you are connected to the internet through a mobile hotspot if necessary or through an Ethernet connection. You may also download the driver onto a USB drive from another computer with internet access.
- Press Windows Key + R to open the Run box
- Into the Run Box, Type: devmgmt.msc
- Click on OK to open Device Management
- In Device Management, double-click to expand the Network adapters drop-down menu
- Right-click on your network adapter driver then choose Update driver
- In the next screen, click on Search automatically for updated driver software
- Wait for the “investigation” to complete
- If a new driver version shows up, follow the on-screen prompts to install it.
- Reboot your computer
If the error persists, move on to the next solution, which is connecting manually.
5. Connect Manually
Remove the “incorrect PSK provided for network SSID” error by connecting the network manually using the Network and Sharing Center through the following steps:
- Press the Windows key + R to open a new Run box
- Type Control then hit Enter to open Control Panel
- Inside the Control Panel, go to Network and Internet
- Click on Network and Sharing Center
- Inside the Network and Sharing Center window, click on Set up a new connection or network
- Click on Manually Connect to a Wireless Network then click Next
- Enter the information for the wireless network you want to add.
- Make sure you enter the same network name that you have in the Network name box
- Set the Security Type to WPA2-personal and the Encryption Type to AES
- Under Security Key, cautiously enter the correct password you are currently using for other devices. Keep in mind, however, that your router may be using different Security type and Encryption type settings.
- Tick the boxes associated with Start this connection automatically and Connect even if the network is not broadcasting, then hit the Next button.
- If the network with the same name already exists, click on Use the existing network.
- Go to your wireless pane and enter your network name and password to see if you can connect.
If you have already tried to connect manually but still failed, then on to the next and final troubleshooting method.
6. Connect to Existing Wireless Network Profile Using an Elevated Command Prompt
The steps for this method are as follows:
- Open a new Run Box by pressing Windows Key + R then type cmd
- After typing “cmd” Do not Hit OK. Instead, Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open an elevated Command Prompt.
- The screen will change to a User Account Control prompt and ask if you are sure you want to make changes. Choose Yes at the UAC User Account Control prompt.
- In the Elevated Command Prompt, type the following command to get a list of all wireless network profiles: Type: netsh wlan show profiles.
- Locate the profile that you want to connect to
- Type: netsh wlan connect name = “Name of network profile” (Replace the words Name of network profile with the actual name obtained in step 2 then hit Enter.
- Test to see if you can connect. If the connection is successful, close the Elevated Command Prompt.
“Incorrect PSK Provided for Network SSID Error”, Fixed!
Connecting to a wireless internet network is not always hassle-free. The Incorrect PSK Provided for Network SSID” is just one of the few errors you will commonly encounter, especially when connecting for the first time to a new network like in your new workplace, a cafe, or your friend’s place.
We presented 5 simple solutions you can follow to get over the said connection error. In case you have other online connectivity issues such as being connected to a Wi-Fi but not getting access to the internet, or you can’t connect to a Wi-Fi network at all, we have articles that can teach you to fix these issues as well. Just click the links we provided.
If any of our tech troubleshooting advice helps you in any way, we would appreciate hearing from you in the comment section below.