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How to factory reset your router

It's one of those devices you only think about when it isn't working.
By
December 29, 2022

As the centerpiece of your network, your router is designed for you to set it and forget it. Like an air conditioner or microwave, it’s one of those devices that you only think about when it isn’t working. When your router does give you trouble, it might be tempting to go straight for a factory reset. But a far simpler procedure might do the trick, and there are steps to take before you begin. So if your router is slow, or if you’ve had unwanted guests on your network and you want to make sure they left nothing behind, read on for a review of what you need to consider before you factory reset your router.

Read more: How to update your router’s firmware

QUICK ANSWER

To factory reset your router, leave the router powered on and find the recessed reset button on the back (or bottom) of the router. Use a paper clip to hold the reset button for 30 seconds. Wait two minutes for the router to restart, and set a new name and password for the network.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to restart your router

Picture of Flashrouters Linksys-3200ACM
Gary Sims / Android Authority
Restarting (or rebooting) your router will fix most issues of slow downloads, stuttering video, and the like. It is much quicker and easier than resetting your router. Here is the procedure:

  • Unplug the router. If your modem is separate from your router, unplug that as well. Wait 60 seconds.
  • Plug the modem back in (if it is separate). Wait another 60 seconds.
  • Plug the router back in. Wait 120 seconds.
  • Test to see if the problem is solved by using the device that caused you to suspect your network was at fault.

Things to know before factory resetting your router

The reason you want to reboot your router before resorting to a factory reset is that it resets everything, including all the personalizations you added when you set it up. Your router username and password, the Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and password, and any customized settings will all be lost. The username and password will revert to the factory listed on the back (sometimes the bottom) of the router. You will also have to change the settings on all the devices that connect to your network, and you should not use the same information again to save a step here, because that would defeat the security advantage you gain by resetting your router.

How to factory reset your router

Factory Reset Router Reset Button
Kevin Convery / Android Authority
If you have decided that a factory reset is necessary, keep the router plugged in. Look on the back of the device for a button labeled Reset. Most often this will be what is known as a recessed button, meaning it looks like a small hole. You need to unwind a paper clip so you can insert it into the router and hold the recessed button down for a number of seconds. The number varies by router manufacturer from seven seconds to thirty. You will know the reset has begun when all the lights on the router go out momentarily, then begin to come on again one at a time. Once it has begun, give it at least two minutes for the reset to complete.

Reconfiguring your router

Once the reset is complete, you will need to reconfigure your router using its online control page. You reach this control page by entering its IP address in any web browser. You can find the IP address of your router in the network settings of your computer. Look for IP address or Default gateway and copy the number string given into a web browser. You will need to log in to use your online controls, but you have reset the router, so your username and password have reverted to their factory defaults. The default login information can be found on the back or the bottom of the router itself.

Once you have access to the controls, you can set a new router username and password, and give your Wi-Fi network a name (also called an SSID, which can stay the same as it was) and a new password (definitely not the same one as before). As usual, write the login information somewhere secure but handy, as each of your network-dependent devices — computers, phones, TVs — will have to have their saved login information updated.

Wi Fi Password
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

Some router manufacturers who do not require the pushing of the physical reset button to reset the router will provide an online factory reset button. This is convenient if you are not at home, or if your router is inside a media closet and difficult to reach. Using either method, resetting your router will usually solve problems of slow or no performance, and get rid of any router malware you may have picked up as well.

kick people off Wi Fi Reset Router
Kevin Convery / Android Authority

FAQs

Yes, you can, unless your particular router requires the use of the physical reset button as a security measure. If this is not the case, then you can factory reset your router from anywhere you have an internet connection. You will need the public IP address, network name, and password of the router in order to gain access to its online controls.

Yes, it will, unless your security system has cellular or some other form of backup.

No, you do not, because an app’s password is checked by the server operating the app, and not your router. If you had the Wi-Fi password saved on your phone under your Wi-Fi settings, you will have to update this after factory resetting your router.