Cant enter Linux Wireless Password

by . Originally posted

Okay so a nice short article on something that was causing me a lot of grief!

I came home from work and for some reason unknown to me, over the course of the day my laptop had lost the WPA (WiFi Protected Access) code to connect securely with my home wireless network. Okay a little bit weird, but as I’m rountinely having minor issues due to the fact I dont want to upgrade my Linux distribution (for this reason, Unity), I assumed it was related. Perhaps a WiFi or networking package was due for upgrading, or needing rolling back. Either way, I flipped open the WiFi connection wizard, selected my SSID and began entering the password.

Needless to say, halfway through entering the password I noticed the problem…

Linux Password Screen

There was a warning triangle beside the input box, as well as the connect button being disabled. Cancelling the window, trying again, rebooting, all had no effect. Everytime the window opened the triangle was there and the button was disabled! Very frustrating.

The next day I took my laptop to work and it connected fine. Strange! Yet back home again that night it was the same problem.

The solution

As usual though it boils down to a blend of user error, bad form feedback and a pinch of stupidity. It was quite a poor UX (User Experience) and definiately think something needs changing.

The warning triangle was completely irrevelent. It was apparently warning me my num-lock was enabled. Why it didnt visually say this I’m not sure. Its very bad interface development to inform people theres a problem or error without clearly explaining what that problem is, or how to rectify it.

Also the connect button was disabled because the password I had entered, or had started entering, was too short. Its a fairly long random hash of a password, so I stopped entering it when I saw the connect button wasn’t responding, or so I thought. Apparently you have to enter quite a few characters before it becomes enabled again. This is very strange. What about people with short WPA codes? To my knowledge there isnt a manditory length to WPA codes, so why enforce it in the form.

So all in all a simple problem that just came about due to some bad GUI (Graphical User Interface) and a great deal of user failure.

Needless to say I hope other people find this article if they’re having trouble connecting their WiFi machines up to their internet.

Categories: Computing, Fixes & Solutions, SysAd and Security

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