Home internet users frequently want to know how to factory reset their routers; in other words, restore them to completely default settings, as they where when the router shipped new from the factory.
This is possible on almost all routers, and in this guide, we’ll provide a detailed guide for UK based users on how to factory reset the routers of all the major British internet providers that most people will have heard of.
We’ll first start with a general process for doing this that more or less applies to most routers, and then move onto specific steps for the routers of specific ISPs, for more clarity and precision.
The General Process For Factory Resetting a Router
Here’s a generic process for factory resetting any router that should more or less make sense regardless of the brand or internet provider. It’s a generic template of how to restore a router to default settings that should work and make sense with most routers:
In list form:
- Make sure the router is switched on
- Find the recessed “reset” or “factory reset” hole on the side or back.
- Push a pin or safety clip into this hole for up to 30 seconds.
- Wait for all lights to go out on the router and release
- Wait up to 5 minutes for the process to complete.
- Once the lights on the front are solidly on, it’s completed.
- All login, passwords and settings are reverted to default.
The 2 most common scenarios:
Scenario #1 – The router’s got a simple reset button somewhere prominent, and also a reset/factory reset hole somewhere else. This is pretty clear. Quickly pressing the reset button quickly resets the router (also known as a power cycle – does not wipe any settings). The reset hole is what you push a pin into for 20 seconds for the full reset (will wipe all settings and restore router to default).
It often looks something like this:
Scenario #2 – The router seems to only have one reset button sticking out, with no reset hole anywhere. When this is the case, it’s more likely that quickly pressing the reset button will do a quick reset, whereas pressing and holding the reset button for 10-20 seconds will do the full factory reset.
However, the exact buttons and process, and the location of the factory reset button, can vary a little bit between different ISP routers; we’ll cover specific steps for each of the major British ISPs further below.
What Does Factory Resetting a Router Do?
Just so users know exactly what they are doing when factory resetting a router, here is a list of things that will be lost or reverted to default once you do this:
- All custom Wi-Fi SSIDs/usernames and passwords to access the network will be lost and reset to the defaults indicated on the sticker on the back of the router. So any users who need to reconnect will need to find the router again on the network list and re-enter the default password to use the Wi-Fi.
- If you have also set custom values for the router login admin/password (to change settings), these will also be reset back to the default values indicated on the sticker on the back.
- If any gamers have set a static IP for their console on the router, this will be deleted and they’ll have to do it again.
- Any other custom settings that were configured on the router (eg. QoS, DNS settings, DMZ) will be lost and need to be reconfigured.
- All logs and stored browsing history will be wiped off the router.
- Factory resets can sometimes also take longer than quick resets, with a disruption of connection for sometimes several minutes.
- See our article on resetting your router for more on this, plus how to get settings back to how they were if you need to.
Now that readers know the general process and what it does, let’s specifically cover the process for each of the well known UK internet providers.
Factory Resetting BT Routers
BT Broadband routers all have a “Factory Reset” or “Reset” recessed hole, that is usually on the back of the router, somewhere near the main power button and where the AC power jack plugs in. With the power switched on, press a pin into this hole for between 5-20 seconds to initiate and full factory reset of the router, which takes up to 5 minutes.
Here are the exact steps for different BT router models:
- BT Smart Hub 2 – Push into the factory reset hole for 5 seconds.
- BT Smart Hub or Ultrafast Smart Hub – Press a pin into the reset hole for 20 seconds
- BT Home Hub 4 – Push a pin into the recessed reset hole for 20 seconds
- BT Home Hub 3 – Push a pin into the recessed reset hole for 20 seconds
With BT routers, you will need to wait up to 5 minutes for the factory reset to complete. Once the light on the front of the router returns to a solid blue colour, you know the reset is complete.
See here for a useful guide from BT to reset the different routers.
Factory Resetting Virgin Media Routers
On Virgin Media routers, there is a “Reset” pinhole on the back, which you can push a pin or pen into for 10 seconds to initiate a full factory reset. Make sure the router is on when you do this, and wait a few minutes for it to complete.
You know the reset is complete when the white power light on the front of the Hub is on.
See here for a guide on doing this from Virgin Media.
Factory Resetting Sky Broadband Routers
On most Sky Broadband routers, there is a hole labelled “reset”, which you must push a safety pin or paper clip into for 10-15 seconds when the router is switched on, to initiate a full reset. The reset is complete once the WLAN/wireless light on the front stops blinking.
With some Sky Broadband routers, there isn’t a reset pinhole, but there is a reset button. In this case, try pressing and holding this button for up to 20 seconds, to see if this initiates a full factory reset.
See here for more on resetting Sky routers.
Factory Resetting TalkTalk Routers
TalkTalk routers have a reset pinhole button, usually located on the back somewhere. Making sure the router is switched on, push a paper clip or pin into this hole for 30 seconds to initiate a full factory reset. Once all lights on the front of the router are solidly on, the reset is complete.
If the lights on the front of the router come on solid red or amber, and stay that way, then there’s usually a fault and you’ll have to get in touch with TalkTalk to fix the issue.
See here for a guide from TalkTalk on factory resetting their router.
Factory Resetting Plusnet Routers
Plusnet routers have a reset pinhole on the back of them which you need to push a pin or safety clip into for 20 seconds when the router is on to initiate a full reset. You can release the reset button once light on the front turns green, and once it turns blue, you know the reset is complete.
See here for help from Plusnet on resetting their routers.
Factory Resetting Vodafone Broadband Routers
Vodafone Broadband routers have a “reset” hole on the back that you need to push a pin into when the router is turned on. The lights on the hub will come on, and then go off, after which you can release the button. When the internet light comes back on, you know the Hub has fully reset.
See here for help from Vodafone on resetting their routers.
Factory Resetting Now Broadband Routers
Now Broadband routers have a reset pinhole somewhere on the underside or back of the box. You need to push a pin into this reset hole for 30 seconds when the router is on to initiate a full factory reset.
See here for help from Now TV on resetting their devices.
Factory Resetting EE Broadband Routers
EE Broadband routers have a “reset” hole on the back of them which you need to push a pin or sharp object into for 8-10 seconds when the router is on to initiate a full reset. The reset takes about 5 minutes to complete.
With EE Broadband hubs, you can also factory reset them from within the router settings itself. Here are the steps to do this:
- Type 192.168.1.1 into the address bar of any browser on any devices currently connected to the router.
- The username for EE Hubs is “admin” and the password is printed on the back.
- Selected “Advanced” and then “Accept” from the EE Hub Menu
- Select “Tools” and then “Factory Default”.
- Click “OK” to accept the warning and start the factory reset.
- The initial process takes up to 99 seconds.
- Enter the router username and password on the login screen
- Once logged in, wait up to 5 minutes for the full process to complete.
- Once Broadband/Internet status is “Connected”, it is complete.
See here for an illustrated guide from EE on resetting their routers.
Factory Resetting Post Office Broadband Routers
It was not possible to find anything specific at this time on resetting Post Office Broadband routers.
However, like most routers, they probably simply have a “reset” hole somewhere on the back that you push a pin or safety clip into for up to 30 seconds when the router is powered on to initiate a full factory reset.
Factory Resetting Shell Energy Broadband Routers
Again, I could not find anything from Shell Broadband specifically on resetting their routers.
Simply look for a “reset” hole somewhere on the back and push a pin into it for 20-30 seconds when the router is on to initiate a full reset.