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What happens if I reset my router?

Resetting your router can help solve a lot of common internet connectivity issues. When you reset your router, you’re essentially restoring it back to its factory default settings. This clears out any problematic settings that may have been causing problems. Here’s a closer look at what exactly happens when you reset your router and why it often helps resolve problems.

The router reboots and wipes settings

The most obvious thing that happens when you reset your router is that it reboots. This clears out the router’s active memory and reloads the firmware from scratch. All custom settings that you configured on the router are erased and returned to their defaults.

This includes settings like:

  • WiFi network name (SSID)
  • WiFi password
  • LAN IP address range
  • DHCP settings
  • Port forwarding rules
  • Parental controls
  • Custom firewall rules

Resetting wipes out all of these settings. The router’s configuration is basically reset to the state it was in when you first took it out of the box and turned it on.

The router reestablishes internet connectivity

After rebooting, the router will go through its startup sequence again, including:

  • Connecting to your internet modem
  • Establishing a WAN IP address
  • Authenticating and connecting to your ISP
  • Setting up DHCP and NAT for LAN devices
  • Broadcasting WiFi network SSIDs

This reinitialization can help overcome any issues like connection drops or authentication errors that may have been occurring previously. The router is starting fresh with your ISP.

Connected devices may lose connectivity temporarily

When you reset the router, any devices currently connected to it will be disconnected and lose internet access temporarily. This includes devices connected over:

  • Wired ethernet
  • WiFi
  • USB or eSATA

Once the router finishes rebooting, devices will be able to reconnect and reestablish internet connectivity. You may have to manually reconnect devices on your network by:

  • Rejoining the WiFi network
  • Renewing DHCP leases
  • Reconnecting VPN tunnels

Some devices may detect the network interruption and automatically reconnect on their own after a few minutes.

You’ll need to reconfigure router settings

Since all custom settings get erased, you’ll have to reconfigure any specialized router options again if needed. This may include settings like:

  • Port forwarding for online gaming or other server apps
  • Static IP reservations for certain devices
  • WiFi channels or frequencies
  • VLANs
  • VPN and firewall rules
  • QoS traffic shaping
  • Remote management

You’ll have to log back into the router’s admin interface and set these up again if you were using customized configurations before resetting. Make sure you know what settings need to be reconfigured beforehand.

Router logs and activity are cleared

In addition to resetting all settings, a router reboot also clears out any logs and activity data stored on the router:

  • System and event logs are erased.
  • Usage statistics and traffic counters reset.
  • DHCP lease tables are cleared out.
  • Active connections are removed.

This can make troubleshooting more difficult following a reset, since you lose visibility into what was happening before the reset. Make sure to record any router logs you may need for support purposes before performing a reset.

What are the benefits of resetting a router?

Resetting your router can solve many common connectivity and performance issues. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Fixes internet connection problems – Reestablishes the router’s connection to your ISP’s network.
  • Clears up WiFi issues – Can resolve problems connecting to or finding the WiFi network.
  • Resolves speed/performance problems – Clears any settings that may be slowing your network.
  • Fixes router lockups/freezes – Rebooting clears any software or memory errors.
  • Tightens security – Wipes out any vulnerable settings or backdoors.
  • Recovers from firmware failures – Can reset the router after a failed firmware update.

Resetting your router essentially gives you a fresh start if you’ve been having any sort of connectivity, stability or performance issues. It’s one of the first troubleshooting steps to try for many common router problems.

When should you reset your router?

Some common situations when resetting your router may help include:

  • You can’t connect to the internet at all.
  • Your WiFi is slow or drops frequently.
  • You’re seeing slower speeds than you should.
  • You can’t log into the router admin interface.
  • You forgot your WiFi password.
  • You need to tighten security after suspicious activity.
  • You’re setting up the router again after moving.

Resetting the router essentially gives you a fresh start with your network and internet connection. Try it if you’ve run out of other troubleshooting options.

How to reset your router

The basic process to reset your router is:

  1. Access your router admin page (usually or
  2. Find the reboot or reset option (usually under a “System” or “Administration” tab)
  3. Select the reset option and confirm.
  4. Wait for router to restart – this may take several minutes.
  5. Reconfigure your connection and WiFi settings.

However, the specific reset process can vary depending on your router model and manufacturer. Always check your router’s manual for exact reset instructions.

Some popular router brands reset using:

Router Brand Reset Method
Linksys Admin page > System Settings > Reset
Netgear Admin page > Advanced > Reset
TP-Link Admin page > System Tools > Factory Defaults
Asus Admin page > Administration > Restore/Save/Upload Setting > Restore Default
D-Link Admin page > Tools > System > Reset my Router

You can also reset your router via hardware by pressing and holding the router’s Reset button for 10-30 seconds until it reboots.

Risks and downsides of resetting a router

While resetting a router often resolves issues, there are some downsides to be aware of:

  • You’ll lose all custom router settings and have to reconfigure them.
  • Devices will temporarily lose internet connectivity while resetting.
  • Resetting can be disruptive to your home network.
  • You may have to re-authenticate services after a reset.
  • It clears out router logs that may help with troubleshooting.
  • The router issues may return if they aren’t fully fixed by resetting.

Make sure to try less disruptive basic troubleshooting steps first before resetting your router.

How to troubleshoot router issues without resetting

Some ways to troubleshoot common router issues without fully resetting it include:

  • Rebooting the router
  • Checking physical cable connections
  • Logging into the router admin interface
  • Checking router logs and status
  • Running internet speed tests
  • Updating the router firmware
  • Swapping ethernet cables
  • Disconnecting and reconnecting devices

Try these basic steps first to isolate the issue. Only reset your router if these don’t resolve the problem and you want a clean slate.

FAQs about resetting your router

How long does it take to reset a router?

The reset process itself usually takes 1-5 minutes. However, you’ll have to spend time afterwards reconfiguring router settings. Plan on about 10-15 minutes for the entire process.

Will resetting my router improve speed?

Possibly. Resetting can clear up any glitches or settings that may be slowing your network. But issues like distance, interference and bandwidth could still limit speeds.

Do I have to reconfigure my whole network after resetting?

You’ll have to reconfigure the router itself, but client devices like computers and phones will reconnect on their own once the router is back online.

Will a router reset delete my files and data?

No, resetting the router does not delete anything saved on your connected PCs, phones and other devices. It only erases settings stored on the router itself.

Can a factory reset fix router malware?

Yes, resetting your router can wipe out any malware or unauthorized changes made to its firmware. But you may want to do further checks for any malicious activity on your network.


Resetting your router can quickly restore functionality and fix common internet issues. Just make sure to reconfigure your settings afterwards and be aware of any temporary connectivity loss during the reset process.

Try less disruptive basic troubleshooting steps first before resetting your router. But if you’ve exhausted other options, a reset often clears up problems and gets your network back online.