Makomed's Weblog

Windows Wifi troubleshooting: Unable to find valid certificate

Posted on: March 3, 2010

So I’m at a coffee shop where everybody has already accessed the wi-fi through their laptop computer. I think to myself, “this should be easy, I’ll just open up the list of networks and connect to the cafe’s wireless internet router.”

But, no. Nothing. Nada. It’s connected with a strong signal but the stupid Windows XP is telling me “unable to log on because it can’t find the certificate. Firewall. Certificate not valid.”

AAAAAAHHHHHH, this problem is so annoying and embarrassing.

I searched through all the forums and nothing came up. Except, one day I tried to look for an answer using the keywords “certificate not valid” again but this time found a link to Microsoft’s Technet site.

I’m a mac guy so I’m not too savvy when it comes to the inner workings of Windows, but I noticed that the title was

Troubleshooting IEEE 802.11 Wireless Access with Microsoft Windows
So I put 2 + 2 together and remembered that the above was mentioned in one of the properties at the wireless network connection windows.
So here’s how I fixed it:

1. Open up the list of available networks. The easiest way is to click on the bottom right hand side of your desktop screen.

2.  Make an educated guess on which network you are trying to connect to. If it’s a trendy cafe (by that, I mean anything besides Starbucks), then it will probably show up as an unsecured wireless network with a strong signal.

3. Note the name of that wireless network for later. It’s one of the ones under the list that says “Choose a Wireless Network.” It should usually be on top. And it’s the one that keeps screaming “can’t find a valid certificate.”

4. Now move your eyes to the left side of that very same window under the part that says “related tasks” and click on “Change Advanced Settings.”

5.  A new window will pop-up and one of them will say “Wireless Networks.” Click that.

6.  In the middle of that there’s a button that says “Add…” Click on that.

7.  Under the blank part near the top it says “network name” type in the network name that you remember.

8.  Now remain here & go look at the tabs on top of this window. Click on the one that says “Authentication.”

9.  Then click on the box that says “Enable IEEE 802.11x authentication for this network.” Then press OK.


10.  Relaunch your wireless networking window by clicking on the icon on the bottom right of your windows desktop again.


11.  Try that stubborn network that has been denying you access and choose “connect anyway.”


12.  Hope that it works.

And I do hope that it works for you! If so, kindly leave a comment so that I know how many people this has helped. Thanks.

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