How to Obtain a Lost Network Key for a D-Link Wireless Router

By Techwalla Computers Editor

Network keys are "open secrets." The key must be known to the users of the network, but remain hidden from unauthorized users and attackers. This is especially important in wireless networks, as you cannot control who connects to your D-Link router. Not only are the intended users of your network connecting to the router, but someone sitting in his car surfing for a free Internet connection can be, as well. Unfortunately, WiFi networks are often configured and left running for extended periods of time, and it is easy to forget passwords you don't use often. For this reason, you may need to know what to do when you lose your network encryption key.

Things You'll Need

  • D-Link router
  • Small tool to reset router

Obtain a Lost Network Key for a D-Link Wireless Router

Step 1

Do the obvious: Ask other users of the network for the key. They may remember or be able to check in their WiFi configuration settings. Since it's an "open secret," other users need to have known the key when they configured their WiFi interface.

Step 2

Log in to the D-Link wireless router's administration interface. This is usually done by opening "" or "" in your web browser. Some administration interfaces will help you obtain the key, but there's no real way to tell without trying it. If you've also forgotten the password for the administration interface, consult your router's manual for the default password.

Step 3

Reset the router's configuration if you also can't remember the password to the administration interface or you just want to start over. Using a small object to put into the hole of the small reset button on the back of the router, press the button and hold it down for several seconds. A retractable pen with tip retracted, a coffee stirrer, a small stick or a Phillips-head screwdriver work well as tools.

Step 4

Reconfigure the router, including your router's SSID and WEP or WPA options. Consult your router's manual for specific steps on this task if you're unsure how to proceed.

Step 5

Choose a new password and a new network encryption key. The password should be difficult to guess, but not so difficult that you and the users of your network will forget it (again).

Step 6

Write the information down in a hidden but handy location, such as inside your router manual.

Step 7

Distribute the new password so that every user can change it in his WiFi settings. If you're within physical proximity of your users, tell them verbally. Otherwise, you will either have to email them the key or, more securely, email them to call you to get the new key.

Tips & Warnings

  • Recovering a lost password is complicated, and it's often less effort to create a new key and distribute it to your users.
  • Be careful emailing keys, since malicious users (unauthorized users trying to gain access) can obtain the key this way.
  • If you can't log in to your administration interface or the interface will not tell you your network key, then the key is permanently lost.