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I have an Acer Aspire ZG5 netbook which is currently running Jolicloud, but I've decided it isn't for me and plan to switch to Lubuntu or Xubuntu.

However, I do lot of travelling and have many saved wifi passwords for different offices, hotels, cafes, restaurants, friends' and relatives' houses etc. It would be very annoying to have to ask for and reenter all of these passwords.

Is there a way to transfer my saved wifi passwords from the old installation to the new one?

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Did you resolve this issue? – pl1nk Jun 25 '12 at 1:01
This method doesn't seem to work anymore for 12.04/12.10. Also see How do I restore a backup of my keyring (containing ssh key passprases, nautilus remote filesystem passwords and wifi passwords)? – con-f-use Dec 6 '12 at 18:00

On my 12.04 system the WiFi connections and passwords (in the clear) were stored in text files in /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/

Stopping the network manager, copying these files to the new machine, restoring the permissions and restarting network manager worked for me.

sudo stop network-manager
sudo cp /backup/path/etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/* /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/
sudo chown root.root /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/*
sudo start network-manager
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Does not work on 14.04 – Marc Dec 7 '15 at 15:56

Your passwords are stored in ~/.gnome2/keyrings. By default, they are protected with your login password. If you copy that folder to your new system and use the same login password, then you should have all of your passwords, including your wifi connections.

Your Passwords

You can see your passwords in the Passwords and Encryption Keys application. They should be under a keyring called login. You can search for "Network secret" to show only wifi passwords.

mv ~/.gnome2/keyrings ~/old_keyrings
cp ~/backup/keyrings ~/.gnome2/keyrings

However, for network manager to use your password, it needs a gconf setting with a matching id number. You can do this two ways: copy your old gconf settings or create new connections and change their id numbers.

Copy your old gconf settings

This is really simple:

# network-manager will overwrite your changes if you don't terminate it
sudo stop network-manager
# back up old settings
mv ~/.gconf/system/networking/connections ~/old_connections
cp /media/old_install/.gconf/system/networking/connections  ~/.gconf/system/networking/connections
sudo start network-manager

Unfortunately, this method didn't work for me. My test case is abnormal, so hopefully it works for you.

Create new connections

If the above doesn't work for you, then on your old machine:

  1. open Passwords and Encryption Keys
  2. right click on your default keychain
  3. select change password
  4. set the password to blank
  5. copy the ~/.gnome2/keyrings/default.keyring to ~/old_passwords.keyring
  6. Now you can connect to networks and look up passwords in ~/old_passwords.keyring (since you removed the password, it will be a plain-text file).

(You could also create connections and modify their uuid to match the existing password, but that's too much work unless you can script it.)

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nice of you to elaborate on my earlier post. – con-f-use Jun 1 '11 at 15:22
Xubuntu doesnt have .gconf/system/networking/connections – Kangarooo May 23 '12 at 20:03
  1. Shut down NetworkManager

    sudo /etc/init.d/network-manager stop
    pkill nm-applet
  2. Copy ${HOME}/.gconf/system/networking/connections/
  3. Restart network-manager:

    sudo /etc/init.d/network-manager start

    Press Alt+F2 and enter nm-applet --sm-disable to start the applet.

Might be a litte out of date.

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Aren't the gconf settings only necessary if you have specific settings for different networks (you used network manager to edit your connection to change MTU, DHPC settings, etc...). All my passwords are stored in my keyring. – idbrii Jun 1 '11 at 14:00
Last time I checked, both was necessary. – con-f-use Jun 1 '11 at 14:03
Yes, you're right. network-manager doesn't bother to look in the keychain unless there's a matching uuid in the gconf settings. – idbrii Jun 1 '11 at 15:17

JoliCloud is based on 10.04, so I'd assume that it is using Network Manager to organize wireless passwords. Much of that configuration is stored in .gconf/system/networking/ -- Not sure if the passwords are stored there or elsewhere.

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