Enabling security on your wireless router protects you from would-be data thieves, hackers and bandwidth leeches. Most routers walk you through setting up security when you first set up the router. However, if you forgot your password, you can still locate the password through the router's administration utility. Some routers do not display the password in this setup program, but you can change it there to something you'll remember. If you plan to make changes to the wireless settings, it's recommended to make a wired connection for the procedure.
Connect to the wireless router via an Ethernet cable between your computer and any of the numbered ports on the back of the router. If you're not planning on making changes, you can use a wireless connection for access.
Enter the router's IP address in your browser's address bar. This IP address is listed in the router's manual or on a sticker under the router itself. If you can't find the IP address, click "Start | All Programs | Accessories | Command Prompt" and enter "ipconfig." The router's IP address will be listed as the "Default Gateway." Typical IP addresses are "192.168.1.1," "192.168.0.1" or "192.168.2.1."
Log in to the administration page using the current username and password. This password is not the network's password, but one specifically for the router's setup utility. The default login details are also listed in the manual or the router's sticker. Common usernames are "admin" or none at all. Common passwords are "admin," "passport," "1234" or none at all.
Look for "Security" in the Wireless section. This is the page with your wireless security information. On some routers, you may need to click a "Manual Setup" button before accessing any sections.
Look for a "Password," "Passphrase" or "Security Key" field, which lists your current password. If the characters are not displayed, look for a "Show Password" button. If you still can't see the characters, simply delete the asterisks and enter a new password.
Click "Apply Changes" or "Save Settings" if you changed the password. Otherwise, you can just close the browser window.
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