'I've forgotten the router password,' is a common problem. But first, which password do you need?
Here’s a rough guide to what to do in each case. For detailed instructions, check your manual. If you can't find a manual, follow the tip How To Find A Router Manual. (NB: You don't have to read the whole manual - just check a few details, as described in the tip).
- If you want to login to your router, to view or change settings - you need the router login password.
- If you want to connect (say) a new laptop to your wireless internet connection – you need the network key. This is the encryption key used to secure your wireless signal. Windows asks for this key when you try to connect.
1) Retrieving a lost network key - so you can connect (say) a new laptop to your wireless network:
i) Login to your router. Do this by entering http://192.168.0.1 or whatever is correct for your model, into a web browser. Enter your router username and/or password at the prompt. If you don’t have these, see Step 2, ‘Retrieving a lost router password’.
ii) In the screen that you see, go to the section headed Wireless, Security, or similar. Every router is different, so you may have to hunt around. Key words to look for are Security, Wireless Settings, Encryption, WPA, (or WEP).
Your network key will be here. It might be labelled PSK, pre-shared key, WPA or WEP key, WPA-PSK etc – but that’s the one you need. Now you should be able to connect to your wireless network.
Tip: Write the network key on a label, and stick it to your router.
2) Retrieving a lost router username/password- so you can login to your router, to view or change settings: i) First, see if there is a label on the base of your router, showing the correct username and password.
ii) Otherwise, try the defaults and see if they work. Common default usernames are admin, or blank (ie type nothing, just leave blank).
Some common default passwords are password, admin, 1234, sky (for UK Sky users), or blank (no password). Check your manual for this, or try a Google search. It’s important that you find the correct default password for your router.
iii) Defaults don’t work? You will have to resort to a hard reset.
Beware. If you perform a hard reset, your router will be back at factory defaults. Your router login password will then be the default, BUT you will normally lose all your router settings. If you have a combined modem/router you will also lose your internet connection, until you have set up your router again.
If you are very concerned about this, ask the person who set up your router to help you.
Otherwise, you can do it yourself . Every router and ISP is different, but if you have your ISP login details and your manual (see How To Find a Router Manual ) - you should be OK.
Your ISP’s website may also have info which will help you - why not take a look. Similarly, your router manufacturer’s website may offer easy install software, and setup tips, if you need them. Print off any online information you need before performing the reset.
iv) To reset - ensure you have a wired (ethernet) connection to your router, and that it is switched on. Find the router reset button, which may be an unmarked pinhole, often on the back of the router. Press and hold down the reset button as long as it takes to reset the router. This is typically 10 seconds or so (check the manual).
v) You can now use your default password to login to the router, and set up your details afresh.
I hope this tip helps you. Losing a password is a pain, and we've all done it. But - armed with your router manual - you will soon be up and running again.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------All information is offered as is, without warranty. If you choose to use it, it is completely at your own risk. If you are in doubt, consult a local professional. Thanks to all Fixya contributors who helped with this tip. Updated Dec 09.