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Restore Linksys Firmware

On this page I'm going to detail how I restored the firmware in my Linksys WRT54GL to the original Linksys firmware.

Linksys Broadband routerIt may also work for other models in the Linksys range, if it does, please contact me and let me know.

This method may also work to flash an alternate firmware but I've only tried it with an image I downloaded from Linksys support.

In any case, going back to the original Linksys firmware is probably a good idea before trying some other open source variety, at least you can make sure your router is still working.

At the time I did this, my router was not bricked. I had the X-Wrt version of OpenWRT installed and I could not get the web interface to install anything else. It looked like it was installing but on reboot, the OpenWRT firmware was still there.

What you will need-

  • The correct firmware image for your router model which you can download from Linksys support. This will be a .bin file.
  • The official Linksys TFTP recovery utility which I downloaded from Linksys. This application was so hard to find that I've put a mirror of it here: linksys-tftp.exe
  • A Windows PC connected by wired Ethernet to one of the four LAN ports on your router. (I actually used Virtual PC on Mac OSX)
  • The IP address of your router. The default IP is 192.168.1.1 but you may well have changed this.
Before starting, I made sure that I could see the router on the network, in my case, I could access the (OpenWRT) web interface but if yours is bricked, you may have to ping it to makes sure it's there.

If yours is not bricked and there is anywhere in the web interface to turn on boot_wait, it is important to do this before you start.

If you also have a setting to adjust the length of boot_wait, turn it up to something useful like 20 seconds as the default would appear to be one second.

Advanced users may be able to SSH or Telnet into the router to turn this on although I suspect that they leave the factory with a very short boot_wait and web interfaces just increase it to a few seconds.

Launch the Linksys TFTP application and you should get a window like this-

Linksys recovery program

Enter the IP address of your router in the first box.

Enter the router password in the second box. For me, this was the password for the OpenWRT web interface.

Click the button to the right of the third box and navigate your way to the firmware image .bin file that you downloaded from Linksys and click 'Open'.

Power off your router

Power up the router and at the same time, click the 'Upgrade' button. It is important to get the timing right on this as the router only waits for a short time at boot up for a TFTP connection. I was lucky, the X-Wrt web interface had allowed me to set the boot_wait time to 20 seconds so I did not have to be so precise with my timing.

If it doesn't work, the application will tell you straight away that it's failed.

If it does work, you'll get a progress bar showing the percentage of image transferred.

Once it's finished, the router will reboot into the Linksys firmware and the password will be admin and the username blank. It may also reset the IP address to the default but mine was already 192.168.1.1

Good luck! If this works for you, perhaps you'd be kind enough to contact me and let me know, and if you have any further tips on the subject, I will gladly include them on this page.

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