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Changing Your Wireless Network Password

Steve from Salt Lake writes:

I would like to know how to change the password of a wireless network.

A security password is a critical component of your wireless network, as it prevents anyone with a laptop or other mobile device from piggybacking off your Internet connection. If you suspect your neighbors are using your network to download illegal pirated files, or you just don’t want certain people within range of your network to be able to access the connection, you can change the network’s password. Your wireless security password can’t be modified through the Microsoft Windows network settings, however, and instead must be changed by logging into your router.

To access your router’s settings menu, open a web browser on any computer that is currently connected to the wireless network and type the router’s Internet Protocol (IP) address into the address bar. Depending on the specific manufacturer and model of your router, the address will be either “” or “” Some router brands, such as Netgear, also allow you to access the admin page by navigating to the URL “www.routerlogin.net.” Tap “Enter” to bring up the settings menu’s login screen.  Certain Cisco/Linksys brand routers can instead be accessed by double-clicking a desktop icon installed when you first setup the router. 

Router IP Address

Log into the router by typing the device’s user name and password in the corresponding text boxes. The router password is separate from your wireless network’s security password and is only used to access the router’s settings menu. If you haven’t previously changed the user name and password on your own, there will be default options set by the manufacturer. Different router manufacturers use different default user names and passwords, but the standard user name is usually “admin” and the password is simply set to “password.” In some cases the password field is instead left blank.

The specific user name and password for your model are listed in your router’s manual. If you no longer have the original manual, the user name and password are available through the router manufacturer’s support website, such as Netgear [1], Belkin [2], or Cisco/Linksys [3]. Click “OK” after entering the user name and password.

Entering The Router Password

In the event that you previously changed the password and can no longer remember what you chose, the only remaining option for accessing the router’s settings is to perform a hardware reset. This process returns all the router’s settings back to their original factory defaults, including the user name and password. Unfortunately this also removes any wireless network settings you may have previously changed. The reset button is located on the back of your router and must me depressed for 15 seconds and then released. Some models house the reset button inside a small hole on the back of the router to avoid accidental resets, which must be pushed in with an unfolded paper clip or the tip of a pen.

After logging into the router, navigate to the “Wireless” heading, which is located on either the left or top edge of the window.

Accessing The Wireless Menu

Scroll down to the “Passphrase” text box, which is typically positioned underneath a heading labeled “Security Options” or something similar. Type the new security password you want to use for your wireless network in the text box. To save the newly chosen password, click the “Apply Changes” button at the top of the screen. Some router models instead have a “Save Settings” button at the bottom of the menu.

Changing Your Security Password

Before being able to access any websites after changing the password, you first need to reconnect to the router and enter the new password. To bring up a list of available wireless networks, click the “Network” icon in the taskbar at the lower-right corner of your screen. 

Connecting To Your Network

Click the name of your wireless network and select the “Connect” button. Type your new wireless security password in the “Security Key” text box and click “OK” to reconnect to your router. Repeat the process of connecting with the new password on any other computers you use with your network.

Entering The New Password

~ Ty Arthur