Q. I have lost the password to my router – how do I reset it?

Where can I find my WPA or WEP key?
You created it when you set up your Wi Fi router.  Hopefully you wrote it down- the best place to record it is the inside cover of your router’s manual.

If it’s not your router, ask the router’s owner.

There are two main passwords, the administration interface password and the wireless password (key).

(If it is your router, and you have forgotten the admin password, then you will have to reset the router to factory defaults, and re set it up from scratch.  Consult the router’s owners manual for instructions.)

  1. Connect a computer to the router by an Ethernet cable if you can, it will make it easier than setting it up over WiFi.
  2. Open a web browser and log onto your router’s admin interface with the administrative password.  You do this by typing the internal LAN IP address of the router into the  browser location bar.  This will be a number like (the exact number will vary by manufacturer)
    Check your router owner’s manual, or if you have machine(s) that were previously set up on this router, look at their Network or Ethernet/TCP/IP settings for the “Default Gateway” or “Router” number.  Most times, the default admin password is
    user: admin    password :{blank}  or vice versa, or “admin” in both slots, or “administrator”. Otherwise consult your owner’s manual.
  3. Go into the Wireless / Security settings of the admin interface. Choose WPA or WPA2 for security instead of WEP. Only choose WEP if your device (like an older game console) doesn’t support WPA. Set a long password with numbers and punctuation in it. Write this down.
  4. Set an administrator name and password on the router administration interface so someone can’t come in and reset the router. Write this down.
  5. Set a network name for the wireless network, other than the default.  But don’t use a personal name or your home address.  I suggest something like “MyHouse”. Write this down.
  6. If you don’t want others to see your router, turn off SSID Broadcasting so that the router isn’t shouting to the neighbourhood “I’m here!”
    This will mean that the first time you log back on with a wireless device, it will not automatically find the network. You will have to choose “Other” network on the device, and manually type in “MyHouse” as the network name, plus the WPA passkey.  Once you have done this the first time, the device should remember the network.
  7. The rest of the default settings should be OK for standard in home use.
    If you want to restrict access to certain machines, or set up preferred service for gaming or VOIP, or set up a server in your network with a fixed IP address, consult the owners manual or online help.
  8. WRITE DOWN the new settings in the inside cover of the router owners manual for next time.
  9. Now, you need to update each of the wireless devices (phones, tablets, computers, printers, streaming media boxes) on your network with the new network name and the new WPA passkey.

Resetting router to factory defaults
Netgear: kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/9665
Linksys: www6.nohold.net/Cisco2/ukp.aspx?pid=80&vw=1&articleid=4008
D-Link: www.dlink.com/support/faq/default.aspx?question=Reset
Belkin: en-us-support.belkin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/48/~/performing-a-hardware-reset-on-the-router
TP-Link: www.tp-link.com/ca/article/?articleid=109
Asus Support Center: support.asus.com/ServiceHome.aspx?SLanguage=en
Trendnet www.trendnet.com/kb/kbp_viewquestion.asp?ToDo=view&questId=406&catId=309

When you reset the key on the router, you will have to use that new key on all devices that attach by WiFi to the router.

Remember to set an administrative username and password immediately, so it can’t be hacked:
Netgear: http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1024
Cisco/Linksys: http://www6.nohold.net/Cisco2/ukp.aspx?pid=80&login=1&app=search&vw=1&articleid=19584
D-Link: http://www.dlink.com/support/faq/default.aspx?question=password
Belkin: http://en-us-support.belkin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/30/~/setting-the-router%27s-administrator-password
Trendnet: http://www.trendnet.com/kb/kbp_viewquestion.asp?ToDo=view&questId=410&catId=309

Read the manual or download the information for your specific router, it varies by brand and model.

For additional security, you could restrict access by MAC address , (although this will make it much harder for friends to bring their computers or smartphones over and hook up).  Every device has a unique Ethernet serial number called the MAC address, so in many routers you can identify which devices you will allow onto you network.
Keep in mind that all of the above security precautions can still be gotten past with dedication and time.

For ultimate security, you could turn off WiFi in the admin interface, or simply put your router on a powerbar and turn off the switch when you are not using it (just be careful that you are not turning off net access for streaming media and internet based phones if you have those.)

This entry was posted in Computer Questions and Answers, Internet and Networking, Security and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Q. I have lost the password to my router – how do I reset it?

  1. mary mowat says:

    I have lost the owners manual, and I received an Apple IPad for Xmas. Ihope you can give me a Wifi address and a Wifi password. I am a Senior, and do not quite understand these terms, mySon asked me to contact you. Anything you can suggest would be wonderful Tks, Mary

    • quill says:

      Go to the website of the manufacturer of your router, and download or print the owners manual for your model of router. Follow the instructions there for the address of the router to configure it from a computer, and the instructions for setting up the WiFi password.

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