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A factory reset erases the router’s user settings and returns it to a new state. This is an important step in network troubleshooting. The factory settings are relatively simple, but each router is slightly different.

What is a factory reset and when should I do it?

A reboot is not the same as a reboot, which people sometimes erroneously refer to as a «reboot». Just like a PC, rebooting turns off your router and starts it up again. This is a good troubleshooting step if your router is acting weird.

A factory reset, on the other hand, wipes all your data from the router. This includes any passwords, Wi-Fi network details (such as your network name (SSID) and password), and any other settings you have changed.

Basically, it’s like you just purchased a router from the factory, hence the name. And that’s the whole point. If your router is acting weird and rebooting didn’t help — or you think it might have router malware — a factory reset might fix the problem. But there’s no going back, so this shouldn’t be your first troubleshooting step. At the very least, try restarting your computer first. It may also be a good idea to update your router’s firmware and see if that fixes the problem.

Factory reset is a good idea if you’re selling or recycling your router. That way, anyone who gets your router next can start fresh without seeing any of your personal information (such as your Wi-Fi passphrase).

RELATED: How to Check Your Router for Malware

How to reset your router with a button

The back of a Samsung Smartthings Wireless Router with a paperclip inserted into the reset button.

Warning : as we explained above, this will remove all custom settings from your router, including its Wi-Fi passphrase! You will need to set it up again.

Almost every router uses a different admin interface, but that’s okay; You might be able to bypass this completely. First, take a close look at the router — most have a reset button on the back or bottom. You may need an unrolled paperclip to push it down.

On many routers, if you hold down the button for 10 seconds, it will reset the router. If that doesn’t work, try the 30-30-30 method:

How to Factory Reset Your Router Using the Web Interface

If your router does not have a reset button, you must reset it using an option in its configuration interface.

We recommend that you refer to the manual of your router. You can search the net for the model name of your router and turn on the «manual» to find the online version. The guide will help you connect to your router’s web interface and will also show you where the reset option is located.

If you don’t have a mesh Wi-Fi system (in which case you’ll need to use the device’s app to reset it), you usually start by determining the IP address you need to log into your router’s admin interface.

On Windows 10, you can find this by going to Settings > Network and Internet and then clicking View your network properties. Locate the entry «Default Gateway» — this is an IP address. Here’s how to find your router’s IP address on any platform.

Router administration screen with Default Gateway circle and IP address.

Paste this IP address into the address bar of your favorite web browser and press Enter. You should see your router’s admin interface and prompt for a username and password. If you’ve never changed your router’s credentials, it’s likely that the username and password are «admin» (without the quotes). If you’re unsure, try checking a website like for your model. You can also find this information in your router manual.

From there, dig around to find the factory reset options. They are different for each router manufacturer (and even vary from model to model). Check any tabs named «Restore», «System», or «Settings».

On the Asus router we have, this option is called «Factory Resets» and is found under Administration > Restore/Save/Load Settings.

Factory reset screen for Asus router.

Most likely, you can also save your router settings to a file using its web interface. After restoring the router to factory settings, simply re-import this file. If these settings were causing problems, restoring the saved settings file may also fix the error.

Again, resetting your router erases everything you did to set it up, from Wi-Fi passphrases to your own DNS server. Basically, you will have a router out of the box again.

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