Find Password for Wireless Router

Q. Someone set up a router for us and we can no longer locate him. We have found out that it is a wireless router but we can’t locate the password to make a wireless connection.

A. I’m not sure what password you’re referring to so I’ll cover both passwords associated with a wireless router. Every router, wireless or not, allows you to access it to configure it and you log in to the router with a user ID and a password. All manufacturers have different default log in settings. Here are two of the most popular:

Netgear: user ID is admin and the password is password (all lower case).

Linksys: user ID is left blank and the password is admin (all lower case).

Once you gain access to the router you can change the log-in and set your own password, which is highly recommended. If you should forget or misplace the log-in information, you can reset the router to its original settings. Of course, if you do this, you lose all of the custom settings and you’ll have to reconfigure it. You may have to read the manual to learn how to reset it in case it’s not obvious. If you have lost the manual, you can usually obtain it from the manufacturer’s website.

A wireless router has an additional password associated with it and it is frequently called a passphrase. This is what is required when a PC attempts to connect to your wireless network. This assumes, however, that you have set up a type of security on your router for wireless connections which, again, is highly recommended. In order to set the passphrase or to find out what it is, you need to be able to log in to the router. If you didn’t have to reset your router, you can log in and find out what the passphrase is.

Make sure you write down all of this information and put it in a safe place. If you have someone set it up for you, have them write it down for you.

You can log into many routers by opening Internet Explorer or your favorite browser and entering into the address field. You should then be presented with a log in screen.

Ed Schwartz is a member of the North Orange County Computer Club. To send in a question, go to and click the Contact Me menu. Archives of previous columns are also on the website.

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