Error message when you try to automatically connect to a wireless access point that uses shared-mode network authentication in Windows Vista: "Windows cannot connect to <access_point>"

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Article ID: 948180 - View products that this article applies to.
For a Windows XP version of this article, see 884787.
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SYMPTOMS

Consider the following scenario.
  • You are running a Windows Vista-based computer.
  • You use a wireless access point that is configured to use Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP) and shared-mode network authentication.
  • In the properties of the wireless network connection, you click View Wireless Networks, and then you click Choose a wireless network.
When you double-click the WEP-shared mode access point in this scenario, you cannot connect to the access point. Instead, you receive the following error message:
Windows cannot connect to access_point.

CAUSE

This problem occurs when you try to connect to a wireless network access point that uses shared-mode network authentication.

The Wireless service in Windows Vista performs a scan for available wireless network access points. The results of the scan are shown in the list of available networks in the Wireless Network Connection dialog box. Access points broadcast an identifying beacon that uses a format that is defined by the IEEE 802.11 standard. This format does not include the authentication mode that is used by the access point. Because most access points use open authentication, the wireless service assumes that all access points use open authentication for connections.

Note For networks that do not use Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), we recommend that you use open authentication together with WEP encryption instead of using shared authentication with or without encryption. This helps provide additional security for your wireless network. If you use a shared key instead of open authentication together with WEP encryption, an unauthorized user could decrypt the shared key to obtain access to all the computers in your wireless network.

WORKAROUND

To work around this problem, manually create a network profile by using the Manually Connect to a Wireless Network Wizard and by selecting shared-mode network authentication. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start
    Collapse this imageExpand this image
     Start button
    , type network and sharing in the Start Search box, and then click Network and Sharing Center in the Programs list.

    Collapse this imageExpand this image
     User Account Control permission
    If you are prompted for an administrator password or for confirmation, type your password, or click Continue.
  2. Click Manage Wireless Networks, and then click Add.
  3. Click Manually create a network profile.
  4. In the Network Name box, enter the name of the network.
  5. In the Security type box, click Shared.
  6. If the network uses encryption, select the encryption type in the Encryption type list, and then enter the security key in the Security Key/Passphrase box.
  7. Click Next, and then click Close.

MORE INFORMATION

Steps to reproduce the problem

  1. On a Windows Vista-based computer, connect to a wireless access point that is configured to use Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP) and shared-mode network authentication.
  2. Open the properties of the wireless network connection.
  3. Click the Wireless Networks tab.
  4. Click to select the Use Windows to configure my wireless network settings check box.
  5. Click View Wireless Networks, and then click Choose a wireless network.
  6. Double-click the WEP-shared mode access point.

    You cannot connect to the access point, and you receive the error message that is mentioned in the "Symptoms" section.

STATUS

Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

Properties

Article ID: 948180 - Last Review: April 16, 2008 - Revision: 1.0
APPLIES TO
  • Windows Vista Enterprise 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Basic 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Business 64-bit Edition
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Home Basic
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • Windows Vista Starter
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
Keywords: 
kberrmsg kbexpertiseinter kbtshoot kbprb KB948180

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