Router Factory Reset Guide For Major American ISPs


This is a common query for home internet users – 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 America based users on how to factory reset the routers of all the major USA 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 American ISPs, for more clarity and precision, covering:

  • Comcast/Xfinity
  • Verizon
  • AT&T
  • Spectrum
  • Cox Communications
  • CenturyLink
  • RCN Internet
  • Mediacom
  • Frontier Internet
  • Suddenlink Internet
  • WideOpenWest (WOW!)
  • HughesNet
  • Viasat Internet

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:

  1. Make sure the router is switched on
  2. Find the recessed “reset” or “factory reset” hole on the side or back.
  3. Push a pin or safety clip into this hole for up to 30 seconds.
  4. Wait for all lights to go out on the router and release
  5. Wait up to 5 minutes for the process to complete.
  6. Once the lights on the front are solidly on, it’s completed.
  7. 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 American 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 biggest and well known internet providers in the USA.

Factory Resetting Comcast/Xfinity Routers

I actually couldn’t find much on their official site on resetting their router, but here is a general process:

To factory reset your Comcast/Xfinity Gateway, press a pin or other sharp object into the small recessed reset hole on the back of the router when it is on for 10-15 seconds, until the lights on the front of the modem turn off. Then wait several more minutes for the process to complete.

See here for a guide on this, but it doesn’t really tell you much more, and there isn’t a great deal on Comcast’s own website. The general process is the same for almost all routers though, and it’s pretty easy to find the reset hole on any model.

Factory Resetting Verizon Routers

To factory reset a Verizon router, when it is powered on push a bent paperclip into the reset hole on the back for 15 seconds, and release. Then wait several more minutes for the reset to complete and the router to restart.

See here for a brief guide from Verizon on this, plus a page with links to user manuals for their different routers.

Factory Resetting AT&T Routers

To reset your AT&T Gateway, press and hold the reset button on the back for at least 10 seconds when it is turned on, until the lights on the front flash or go out. Then wait several more minutes for the router to fully restart. If all the lights come on as normal, then the reset is complete.

See here for AT&T’s brief guide on this.

Factory Resetting Spectrum Routers

To factory reset a Spectrum router, press and hold the reset button on the side panel for at least 15 seconds when it is turned on. Wait until the lights flash or go out, and then release and wait for several minutes for the process to complete.

See page 5 of this user guide from Spectrum for an illustration of the side panel where the reset button is located.

Factory Resetting Cox Communications Routers

To reset a Cox Wi-Fi router, when it is turned on press a sharp object into the recessed reset hole on the back for at least 10 seconds until the lights on the front flash. Then wait several more minutes until the router fully reboots.

See here for a quick guide from Cox on this, including a photo of the back of the router so you can see where the reset hole is.

Factory Resetting CenturyLink Routers

CenturyLink offer more detailed steps on how to factory reset their routers, and both manually and through their router settings menu. We’ll cover both options here.

Here are the steps to factory reset a CenturyLink router on the router itself:

  • Make sure the router is turned on
  • Look for the red recessed reset hole on the back
  • Push a sharp object into this hole until you hear a click
  • Hold for 10 seconds until the power light turns orange.
  • Release and wait 3-5 minutes for the reset to complete.
  • When it’s complete, the power light turns orange again.
  • Then run through the modem activation process.
  • You may need account login details to set up again.
  • Once the internet light is green, you are back online.
  • Devices will need to re-enter the Wi-Fi password.

However, do not hold the reset button for more than 15 seconds, or the light will turn red, in which case you’ll have to wait for the router to reboot, and then try the reset again. An amber/orange light is what you need for a factory reset.

Also by modem activation process, we mean the process you went through when you set it up for the very first time when the service was first installed. When you factory reset, it’s like you are literally starting again from scratch. This means you may need your CenturyLink account details, such as login details, to re-configure your modem/router.

See here for a detailed illustrated guide from CenturyLink on resetting their routers.

You can also factory reset their routers from within the settings/admin page:

  • Connect any device to the router by cable or Wi-Fi
  • Type 192.168.0.1 into any browser address bar
  • Enter the username/password on the sticker.
  • Username is often “admin” and password “password”
  • Select “Utilities”, then “Restore Defaults”.
  • Select “Restore Modem to Factory Default State”
  • Wait 3-5 minutes for the process to complete.
  • When it’s complete, the power light turns orange.
  • Then run through the modem activation process.
  • You may need account login details to set up again.
  • When the internet light turns green, you are back online.
  • Devices will need to re-enter the Wi-Fi password.

Factory Resetting RCN Internet Routers

To factory reset an RCN router, make sure it is turned on and push a sharp object into the reset hole on the back for around 5 seconds. Then wait several minutes and the router should restore itself to factory settings.

See here for a very brief guide from RCN on this.

Factory Resetting Mediacom Routers

To factory reset a Mediacom router, make sure it is turned on and press and hold the reset button on the back for 45 seconds. Release and wait several minutes, and the router should be restored to factory settings.

See a short Mediacom forum on this.

It’s a slightly longer period you need to hold the button in for (45 seconds) than with other ISPs and routers, so be patient with holding it. Also most ISPs aren’t very precise with their instructions on resets, so what they are calling a reset “button” may indeed be more of a recessed reset hole as it is on most routers.

If this is so, you’ll need to push something sharp into this hole for 45 seconds and release. Check your specific router to see how it’s reset function works, but the general process is familiar.

Factory Resetting Frontier Internet Routers

Here are the quick steps to factory reset a Frontier router:

  • Make sure the router is powered on.
  • Find the red recessed reset hole on the back
  • Push a pin into this hole for 10 seconds and release.
  • After 10 more seconds, the reset should start
  • Some lights on the front will turn off and flash.
  • Wait several minutes for the process to complete.
  • Once the internet LED comes fully on, reset is done.
  • Wi-Fi users will need to re-enter the default password.

See here for a brief illustrated guide from Frontier on resetting their routers.

Factory Resetting Suddenlink Routers

Suddenlink don’t provide a process on physically factory resetting their routers; they only have an option to do it from the router settings menu. However, if you check your router, you may still find a recessed reset hole which you can push a pin into for 10-20 seconds to initiate a factory reboot, as per the general process outlined above.

Here is the process to factory resetting a Suddenlink router from the settings menu:

  • Connect any device to the router by cable or Wi-Fi
  • Type 192.168.0.1 into any browser address bar
  • Enter the username/password on the sticker.
  • Username is often “cusadmin” and password “password”
  • Go to the “Admin” tab in the router settings.
  • Select “Factory Defaults” in the sub-tab
  • Click on “Restore Factory Defaults”
  • Wait several minutes for the process to complete.
  • When the internet light comes on, you are back online.
  • Devices will need to re-enter the Wi-Fi password.

See our USA guide on default router logins, which has a section on Suddenlink, if you are struggling to login to your router.

Factory Resetting WideOpenWest (WOW!) Routers

To factory reset a WOW modem, press and hold the reset button on the back for 5-10 seconds when it is turned on, and wait for the lights on the front to flash or go out. Then wait several more minutes for the reset to complete, and once the lights on the front turn solid, connection should be restored.

See here for a help page from WOW which very briefly mentions factory resets.

Again, they don’t really specify in detail the reset feature, so it may be more of a recessed reset hole than a button, but the idea is the same as usual – push something sharp like a bent paperclip into it for around 10 seconds until something happens, then wait a few minutes for the reset to run through.

Factory Resetting HughesNet Routers

HughesNet have a slightly different process for factory resetting their routers.

Here is a quick summary of the process:

  • Find the WPS button on the front
  • Find the reset hole on the back, near the barcode
  • Press and hold the WPS button on the front
  • While doing this, push something into the reset hole and release.
  • Continue to hold down the WPS button until the lights flash.
  • You may need to hold the WPS for around 30 seconds.
  • Then wait several more minutes for the reset to complete.
  • This should reset all settings to default
  • Devices will need to re-enter the Wi-Fi password.

See here for an illustrated guide on factory resetting HughesNet routers. It’s a little different to other router in that the WPS button is also involved, when it’s usually not. Press and hold it, and while doing this, quickly push something sharp into the reset hole and release. Again when lights start blinking or going out on the front of the modem, you know something’s happening.

Factory Resetting Viasat Routers

To factory reset a Viasat router, press and hold down the reset button on the back for around 7 seconds when it is turned on, and release. Then wait several minutes for the process to complete, and all settings should be restored to default.

See here for a help page which very quickly covers the process. Again, it’s not very clearly stated and it may be more of a reset hole than a button, in which case you need something sharp like a bent paperclip to push into it for around 7 seconds. Wait for lights on the front to start blinking or going out and you know the process is starting.

Oliver

Online gamer and general home networking enthusiast. I like to create articles to help people solve common home networking problems.

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