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Losing your router's administrative password will prevent you from managing and securing it properly. I'll look at the general process to regain access.

My router is not accepting my password. How do I reset it?

I'll assume that you mean your router's administrative password - the password that you need to make changes to your router's configuration.

The specific answer will depend on the manufacturer and model of your specific router, but the good news is that a reset is almost always very easy to do.

The problem

Most of the time if you visit or, the default address for your router, you'll be presented with something like this:

Internet Explorer's Security dialog asking for router username and password

That's a dialog asking for your username and password to access the router.

If every combination of username and password that you can think of - the default one, the one that you believe that you set it to or anything else - doesn't work, then you have only one option: reset the router to factory defaults.

The question is: how?

The manual

The sequence to reset a router to factory defaults varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and even from model to model. So to start, I'm going to encourage you to visit the support site for your router's manufacturer and download the user manual for your router. I'm assuming that you discarded the manual when you got the router, so if I'm wrong, you can skip this step and just go get it.

The support sites for popular router manufacturers include:

If your router's manufacturer isn't listed above, just search for the manufacturer's name and the word support (i.e. "LinkSys support") and it'll most likely be one of the first results.

You'll need your router's model number.

Using my LinkSys as an example, you can see from the password dialog box that the router's model number is BEFSR41v4. Some routers will make it that simple while others will require that you look for the model number on the router itself.

As I type the model number into the search box at the LinkSys support site, the list of possibilities narrows until it's only a couple:

Linksys support site model search

I click on the first one which represents my router.

On the resulting page is a "Downloads" tab and after selecting the hardware version (the v4 that was part of the model number shown in the password dialog above), all downloads including the user's manual in PDF are available.

Sure enough, we can download the user's manual for that router as a PDF.

Linksys BEFSR41 User's Guide Front Page

Note: This is just an example to show you the kind of steps that you'll need to take to download the user's manual for your router. Your steps will be different depending on the manufacturer of your router.

The reset

In the manual for the router, you'll find the instructions to reset the router to factory default. Here's what the LinkSys manual says (emphasis mine):

If you are experiencing extreme problems with the Router and have tried all other troubleshooting measures, press and hold in the Reset button for 30 seconds. This will restore the factory defaults and clear all of the Router's settings, such as port forwarding or a new password.

Offhand, I'd say not being able to login to the router's administration screens qualifies as an "extreme problem".

The manual also includes this warning:

IMPORTANT: If you reset the Router to its factory defaults, all of your settings, including Internet connection and security settings, will be deleted and replaced with the factory defaults. Do not reset the Router if you want to retain these settings.

That's important to realize. When you reset to factory defaults, you're resetting everything. If there were other customizations made to the router configuration besides just setting a new password, you'll need to re-enter those configuration settings after you've successfully logged in.

For the record, most routers seem to use the reset button approach. As we've seen here, this model requires a 30-second push, but I've also seen models that require that the button be pushed and held at the time power is applied and other random approaches. The one common thread is that they are all difficult to do by accident. Most are just plain difficult to do, period.

The default password

After you reset the router to factory settings, you'll still be faced with the authentication dialog above when you attempt to reconnect.

But this time, you know the answer.

In fact, pretty much everyone knows the answer. The factory default password is publicly known for almost all models of routers.

Back to my LinkSys's manual where I find:

A screen will appear asking for your User Name and Password. Enter admin in the User Name and Password fields. Then click the OK button.

Everyone on the planet who cares to look can find out that the default user name and password for my router is admin/admin. The defaults for your router will probably be different, but just as easy to find - either in a manual, such as we've located and downloaded here, or even with a simple web search.

That's why we change the password right away.

The re-configuration

You should now have access to your router.

I strongly recommend that your first task be to change the administrative password for your router. Change it to something that you'll remember, but change it; otherwise, anyone, including malware, could look up the default password that you've just set it to, gain access, and perform various malicious reconfigurations.

You'll then also need to reconfigure any additional customizations, including securing your router further.

Article C4894 - August 4, 2011 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

happy flower
January 12, 2013 11:17 PM

hello the website and is not opening, what will i do?

Mark J
January 13, 2013 2:56 AM

@Happy Flower
You would have to get the IP number to access your router setup from the manufacturer. This information is normally available on the manufacturer's website or in the literature which comes with your router.

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