Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10 and How to turn it OFF and WHY

What is Wi-Fi sense in Windows 10? What are the potential problems associated with the feature? This post will answer these questions and also show you how to turn off Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10, should you wish to.

Wi-Fi Sense was first seen in Windows 8 Phones. It has been ported to Windows 10 – both mobile and desktop versions. However, with Wi-Fi Sense on the Windows 10 desktop, there are potential problems or shall I call them dangers?

Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10

Wi-Fi Sense is a feature in Windows 10 that allows you to connect to your friends shared Wi-Fi connections. That is, you and your friends may opt to share your or their Wi-Fi connections. Friends, according to Microsoft, are people on your Facebook friend list, your Outlook contacts and Skype contacts. By default, all these 3 are pre-checked.

When you opt to turn it on in Windows 10, these ‘friends’ can connect to your Wi-Fi without having to know your password. This means two things:

  1. The Friends should be in the range of the Wi-Fi being shared
  2. The password is sent encrypted to the other computers, but could be potentially hacked.

“The password is also stored in Microsoft’s database – in encrypted format so that no one can hack it”, says Microsoft.

But we all know what happened to LastPass and similar password storing entities. Hackers are everywhere and there is always a danger of the passwords being hacked.

Problems with Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10

There are two problems with Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10. First is that you do not really want to share your Wi-Fi with all of so-called friends. You might want to share it with one or two members of your family or your real offline friends, who you really trust. But by default, all the people in your contact lists of Facebook, Outlook and Skype can access the Wi-Fi provided they are in the range. This is the default setting.

Secondly, though the password is sent encrypted to both the friends’ computer and Microsoft, there are chances that it could be cracked. Again as far as the Microsoft database goes, well, cybercriminals will always try to hack the database.

Read: How to secure Wi-Fi.

How to turn off Wi-Fi Sense and Why

Microsoft stores the passwords in its database. Security can be breached anytime. If it can happen to LastPass, it can happen to Microsoft or anyone else for that matter. No one can guarantee 100% security. The type of encryption used to store passwords is not mentioned anywhere on the net. It is only mentioned that the passwords will be encrypted – although I am sure that it will be a very good encryption.

If after reading this, you feel that you want to turn off Wi-Fi Sense follow these steps:

Open Settings app. Click on Network and Internet. Scroll down to find Manage Wi-Fi Settings. Click on it to open the following panel.

wi-fi-sense-windows-10

This window will give you the option to:

  1. Connect to suggested open hotspots
  2. Connect to networks shared by my contacts.

You should set the 2nd option to Off.

Once you turn it off, you can’t access other peoples’ computer which is good as they won’t be able to hack into your computer and neither can others connect to your computer – the button works both ways to turn off Wi-Fi Sense.

Uncheck the 3 available options:

  • Outlook.com contacts
  • Skype contacts
  • Facebook friends.

Close the Settings app. You will have now turned off Wi-Fi Sense and others will not be able to use your Wi-Fi nor will you be able to use theirs. I have turned it off as I feel it is a danger – as much as using public hotspots. If you are in an enterprise environment, you can disable Wi-Fi Sense using Registry.

Read about Microsoft Wi-Fi in Windows 10.

What are your views about Wi-Fi Sense in Windows 10?

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.