Forgotten wireless password – how to connect?

Wireless router forgotten password recoverySo, you have a forgotten wireless password and want to connect to your wireless network? Perhaps you are going to a friend or family member’s house and want to use their wireless network but they don’t know the password. Read on…

First off, if you are going away from home, take a small Ethernet cable for the worst case scenario. Grab the one that goes from your router to the cable box (cable systems only) or the one from your PC to the router if you have no spare.  That way, you can plug the laptop into the router and it will definitely work, as this is the way they are all designed.

For the wireless password, there is usually a sticker on the router itself.  This will generally show the name of the wireless network (also known as “SSID”) and the password to get onto it (also known as “Passphrase” or “Key”). This would mean you only have to tell your PC to connect to their wireless network and then put in the password exactly as shown (it’s case sensitive) and you will be connected. The installer may have changed this to his own SSID and password.  In this instance, if you have access to the router with the Ethernet cable, you can logon to it and change the settings to something else.

At this point, you may wish to be extremely careful.  Avoid pressing the reset button on the router as this will get it back to factory settings but you will then need to know the username and password for the broadband service, as well as other important data such as MTU, Encapsulation etc on many setups.  If you are still happy to proceed, then you fire up your browser and type in the address of the router.  To find this, do the following:

Start, Run and type in cmd (for Vista and 7 just type cmd into the box above the start button)

Press Enter

In the black box, type in ipconfig

The router address is the “Default Gateway“, eg or similar. You may need to scroll back up on some systems to see this. When typed into the browser address bar at the top, this number communicates with the router directly. You will often see a password page at this point, so what happens when you don’t know or remember the password? Read on….

Forgotten router passwords

Usernames and passwords are often written on the router but you can try a few of these. I’ll write them in Username, Password format.

  • Admin, (blank)
  • Admin, Admin
  • Admin, Password
  • admin, password
  • admin, admin
  • Administrator, (Blank)
  • Administrator, Password
  • Admin, sky (for many Sky routers)

There are many other variations but 80% are still unlocked like this. Once in, change the wirelessname and  key to a more secure one (use WPA-PSK or WPA2 ideally) and make a note of it on the router. Change the default admin password on the router and write this on the router too.

Beginners’ tip

Plugging the cable into the router will do nothing except give your PC the internet connection (just like your one at home maybe). No settings will be altered and their wireless will still work at the same time as well.

You could run a wireless key retrieval utility on their laptop if all else fails.  Here is the download link:

For a 32 bit system (check in Control Panel, System)

For a 64 bit system

Antivirus programs can detect this as a Trojan so they may need to be told to ignore it as a threat.  It’s not dangerous, but obviously they are protecting you from a wireless password hack!


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