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unbrick wrt54gA while back, I was having some issues with my Linksys Router. It was a WRT54GS v5. A perfectly good router back then, but whenever I connected to it with my shiny new Windows 7 laptop via Wi-Fi, my network connection slowed to a crawl.

I tried everything and changed all of the router settings, to no avail.

The real problem turned out to be a few settings in Windows 7 (long story), but I didn’t discover that before I had completely bricked my Linksys router.

The “bricking” event came after I’d contacted our team of authors, and one of the authors (who no longer writes for us anymore), suggested that I flash the “crappy” Linksys firmware with the free Tomato firmware.

What he failed to tell me – apparently assuming I was less of a Router-flashing amateur than I was – was that I should verify the compatibility of the router with the Tomato firmware.

Long story short – by the end of the night I had wiped my Router of all firmware and firmly bricked it. I couldn’t even ping it. According to all of the blogs and forums I read – it was as good as dead.

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Unbricking a Bricked Linksys Router

After laying the router to rest in a box in the basement and buying a brand new, faster router, I forgot all about the old, “dead” Linksys router.

Recently, I wanted to build a sub-network on my home LAN. I remembered the bricked router and wondered if – years later – I could finally fix that thing. Worth a try, right?

After doing a bit of research, I discovered a variety of factory “reset” sequences that allegedly work with Linksys routers. Basically, hold down the reset button for 15 to 30 seconds (depending who you talk to), power off the router (while holding reset), then power back on and keep holding reset for 15 to 30 seconds. 30 seconds worked for me.

While the power light kept incessantly blinking (the sign of a bricked router), and while I couldn’t access it on 192.168.1.1 with my browser, I was surprised to see that my computer “saw” the router when I connected a network cable.

unbrick wrt54g

Better yet, I could actually ping it.

unbrick linksys wrt54g

It seemed so odd to me that I could ping the router, but couldn’t get to the web-based emergency recovery screen that all of the blogs and forums mentioned should come up after a reset. I’d clearly done a real number on this thing.

So, I went out in search of a way to flash my Linksys with firmware without the need to use any web-based front end. Tomato firmware was out for my Linksys version. However, I discovered an awesome set of tools and instructions at DD-WRT. The first step is to go to that page and download the vxworks_prep_GS_v03.zip file. After unzipping the files, run the VxImgToolGUI.exe utility.

unbrick linksys wrt54g

Make sure to click the right WRT54G version that you’re trying to unbrick. Type in the MAC address from the label under your router, and then save the file as My54gsImage.bin in the folder where you unzipped those files.

Now, here’s the problem. The DD-WRT instructions tell you to go to your router “webgui” screen and click on firmware upgrade and use the vxworks_prep_GS_v03.bin file. The problem – I can’t get any webgui.

The solution? A very, very cool tool called Firmware Upgrade Utility. Pick the latest version, download and install, then run the Utility.

unbrick linksys wrt54g

This awesome little application upgrades the firmware via TFTP. According to the DD-WRT instructions for upgrading from a bad flash, you can just use the good LinkSys firmware image that you just created with the utility above, or the DD-WRT image file (included in the zip package you unpacked).

First, I tried using the Firmware Upgrade Utility to reinstall the Linksys Image bin. Just type your router IP (that you know you can ping), browse to the firmware file, and click “Send”.

unbrick linksys router

You’ll see the progress bar as the utility transfers the new firmware to your sick router.

unbrick linksys router

When it’s done, try rebooting it and see if you can get to the web management window by going to 192.168.1.1 with your browser.

At this point, I still couldn’t connect to the router with the browser, but I decided to forge ahead anyway. What could I lose – the router was already bricked, right?  In the “Recover from a bad flash” instructions, the DD-WRT team says to follow the flash above with a flash of the 12548_NEWD_Micro.bin file included in the zip collection you extracted.

This time, instead of using the Firmware Upgrade Utility, I decided to use the TFTP command that the DD-WRT instructions mention. In this case, I opened a command prompt and typed:

“TFTP -i 192.168.1.1 PUT dd-wrt.v24-12548_NEWD_micro.bin”

After a quick file transfer screen, the following box opened up.

I typed in the router IP address for “Server”, no password, and browsed to the bin file mentioned above. I changed retry to 99 times, and clicked “Upgrade”.

unbrick linksys router

After the transfer progress went through its routine, the status message finally said “Firmware was upgraded successfully!”

I was a bit in disbelief – did it really work? Was my long-bricked Linksys router finally brought back from the grave?

With great anticipation, I went once again to the browser window and typed: 192.168.1.1 – and saw this:

unbrick wrt54g

Let me just say, this was around 2 a.m. and I still jumped up out of my chair and shouted with joy. I had honestly started this little “unbricking” endeavor thinking that all odds were against me. But, when you’re dealing with nothing more than a paperweight, really – what do you have to lose?

Now that I see it’s really possible to dig your way out of a bricked Linksys router, I’m going to be tempted to gather up all of the “dead” Linksys routers my friends and family throw away, and then flash them with DD-WRT using the procedure above!

Have you ever bricked your router? Were you able to fix it, or did you give up and throw your router away? Share your own experiences in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Linksys Router via ShutterStock

  1. Frood
    September 26, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    2016-09-26
    During what I expected to be a routine DDWRT flash, I was stuck in the same situation you were. Quick flashie light ... nada else. I performed each step using your process, and it worked.

    ** Note, after the final flash and reboot ... I was a little worried because the power light did the quick flashie again ... but settled after about 20 seconds as the router fully came up.

    Tip o' the hat to you, sir.

  2. Juan0661
    August 27, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Hi,
    I successfully used the firmware upgrade utility on a Linksys WRT54G version 2 and installed the TFTP version of the dd-wrt site directly onto the router. 20 minutes after I started the router was back to life again.

    Thank you so much for sharing !

  3. Ron
    August 15, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Nope. Didn't work all front lights keep flashing green. The Power, the four Ethernet port lights, and the Internet port lights are all flashing simultaneously

  4. cpufreak101
    August 6, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    i have no ping unfortunately, same site is saying i gotta make a JTAG cable to get in, oh well, guess that'll be a project.

  5. Bob
    May 13, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Hi all,

    I used this method to resurrect my Linksys WRT54G v1.0 that I bricked many years ago while upgrading to the latest Linksys firmware. It only took one try to do it. Then in 2009 I flashed the same Linksys router with DD-WRT and it has been working great ever since.

    I recently flashed a Netgear WNDR3700 with DD-WRT too which worked perfectly. Afterwards I read that most image files on the DD-WRT database are rarely updated so I decided to upgrade the DD-WRT firmware to the latest version using the required web-flash image file. I researched what had to be done before proceeding. When the message appeared indicating the upgrade was successful, I left it untouched for an extra couple of minutes and then carried out the recommended 30:30:30 reset only to find out that my Netgear router had bricked.

    I tried the method above with a Windows PC set to a static IP Address but with no success. The TFTP utility recommended by Netgear refused to even recognise the Netgear bin file to push it to the router and the updated version of the DrayTek utility which worked fantastically well for the Linksys router years earlier kept timing out no matter how much I adjusted it.

    Only after finding and using a TFTP utility for Mac OS X with my iMac set to a static IP address did it work, but it took many, many times before I was successful. Now my WNDR3700 has the latest DD-WRT version which I will not be upgrading.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

  6. Barbara
    May 5, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Call on helpline for support for Linksys 1-800-585-2494

  7. Seskoi
    April 19, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    Thank you!
    Sadly, this didn't work for me.
    No way I could ping the unit... And it smell fried circuitry after some minutes pluggued. Ahah!
    Thanks anyway :)

  8. Anjem
    March 17, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Call on helpline for support on linksys 1-800-585-2494

    • Nancy
      March 27, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks for Service Number

  9. Jim Bob
    January 25, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    This looks like a great post. Would be easier to follow if the steps were labeled, and maybe added a quick "download these first" section?

    I am going to give it a try.

  10. Patrick
    January 12, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks a million Ryan Dube!
    You helped me a lot!

  11. Alejandro
    January 4, 2016 at 3:17 am

    I have a Linksys router, that I bricked, and kept, in hopes I would come accross a post like this. Now I can use it as a repeater and extend my signal :) Thanks for this post

  12. lillian le
    June 20, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Would this be considered bricked? - I installed the dd-wrt firmware for my linksys wrt160n. And upon seeing the success page, I foolishly unplugged the power. So I tried to savage by doing a hard reset 30/30/30 several times. My power lights are working fine. Solid power light. Unplugging a lan cable slot and its respective light goes off. With Ethernet plugged to my laptop, 192.168.1.1 for linksys doesn't work. It showed up as, summarizing, "asus updated successfully, page will refresh. Please go to the correct address ip". What? And my laptop have the router as "unidentified network".

    Lol it is bricked?!

  13. Oleg
    May 17, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Thanks a lot. It did help. even through wine at ubuntu 14.04.

  14. Joey
    May 2, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Does this work on routers that are not linksys? I have a Swisscom centro grande that I can't log in to. Apparantly it's an ADB.

  15. Ashok
    April 2, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Model: WRT54G v6, Similar situation, Follow one of your steps mentioned, and it works like a charm.

    My situation little different, I tried to upgrade a firmware from dd-wrt and it kill my router. Blinking light and didn't ping 192.168.1.1 and obviously the web gui not accessible.

    So I manually configure my NAT
    IP: 192.168.1.10
    Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
    Gateway: 192.168.1.1

    And then ping 192.168.1.1 and it works.

    TFTP was disabled by default in Windows 7, so enable it by:
    Control Panel: Programs: Programs and Features: Turn Windows features on or off: TFTP

    And follow this steps as mentioned by Ryan Dube:
    “TFTP -i 192.168.1.1 PUT dd-wrt.v24-12548_NEWD_micro.bin”

    And upgrade successful.

    Downloaded Firmware Upgrade Utility:
    http://www.draytek.com/index.php?lang=en&Itemid=586#

    Downloaded dd-wrt.v24-12548_NEWD_micro.bin:
    http://www.ry-cor.com/downloads/index.php?sort=type&path=DD-WRT/Linksys%20WRT54Gv5/

    Thank You very much Ryan Dube. My 8years old router back to life again.

  16. Steve
    March 30, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I have a brand new Fios Wireless cable router that I had sent to me a few years ago that never got used, still in the box and plastic sealed bag. Actiontech MI424-WR, REV F

    I was wondering if this could be flashed to make it usable as a repeater or extender to another network using the process from above and the DD-WRT software.

  17. Ivan
    December 26, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Anyway to recover router from bad flash?

    Thanks with appreciations

  18. Mike Navarini
    September 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I believe I have bricked my WRT160N V3. I accidentally did a firmware upgrade with the DD-WRT 1.0 compatible version instead of the 3.0. Is there any hope? Any way to unbrick the device?
    It gives no ip address. It doesnt respond. Tftp times out. When I turn it on the power light blinks for about 15 seconds and then goes out. I've tried the 30-30-30 method along with some other methods posted on different sites and the same happens above. Can you help?

    Need help asap. Thanks much.

  19. Ganni
    August 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Hey Ryan

    May i ask for window 7 setting for linksys wrt54g ? My wins7 is really slow connection internet and downloads.

  20. David Tan
    August 3, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I would like to thank you. I just recently bricked my WRT54gs v6 and this guide helped me alot... hahah Thank you so much, I owe you a hundred thousand internets.

  21. sabih
    July 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Great, If i come in contact with a bricked router, i will use this guide. Thanks!

  22. Victor Hurtado
    July 28, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Hello Ryan,

    I have 2 of these units will try it today and hope to revive them. Thank you for the great article!

  23. Tristan Kuhns
    July 28, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I once bricked a router with the 30-30-30 hard flash. I was bored later that day, and unplugged it, a second or too after plugging in, re-plugged it back in, and wallah! The router mysteriously worked again.

  24. Rigoberto Garcia
    July 28, 2012 at 2:27 am

    Great article Ryan... Thanks

  25. Claudio
    July 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I kind of have the same thing but the power light does not even turn on can i get help ? I have tried the 30/30/30 that does not work and I can't even go to the ip of the router please help !

  26. Brent
    June 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Ryan!! Thank you so much ! I've spent almost two day trying to fix my bricked router after a bad flash. The instructions on the dd-wrt site are overwhelming, so much information. You really made this fix seem so easy compared to dd-wrt.

    I did exactly what you outlined on this posts and it works! :D Wahoo! I Literally jumped from my chair as well :-).

    The symptoms I had were very similar to your own. I could ping the router, couldn't see it using through the web interface, and power light continued the blink on an off. Below are the first techniques I used to fix the bricked router.

    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/TFTP_flash#Windows
    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/TFTP_flash#Linux
    http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Recover_from_a_Bad_Flash

    All of these techniques would flash the router but and after waiting for two minutes I would still have a blinking power light and no interface.

    I have no idea why but your approach worked the first time 0_o... again, thank you ! :-)

    This is my router model:WRT54G v5 s/n: CDFB0EBL1286

    • Ryan Dube
      June 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Hey Brent - That's really good to hear. I'm so glad the article helped. I know what you mean about the overwhelming instructions elsewhere. I think that a lot of tech folks feel the need to add every little detail, making the whole process overly complex. I tried to focus just on this router model and the exact steps & sequence that worked without any extra details. I'm really glad to hear that it's helping other people get out of the jam that I was in. Enjoy your newly revived router!

      • toshu
        October 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

        Ryan, i think your router was actually not bricked because it responded to ping after a 30/30/30 reset. you were lucky :)
        but not me as mine router is not responding at all.
        its dsl and power lights are always on no matter what i do.
        Mine router is completely bricked, may it needs jtag method and might be buying a new one is worthy now :P

  27. Chris Hunter
    May 20, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Great article, Ryan! And it came at a great time since I've been experiencing issues with my Linksys wrt54gs v6 router!

    I do have 2 questions for you guys, though.

    1.) what is a "bridge" and what do you primarily use it for?

    2.) If I flash the DD-WRT software to my Linksys router, will it helpitmto perform better? It's not bricked by any means, but it's been getting sluggish on me and it does have the current firmware installed on it for the model and version number that it is.

    Thanks for the help!

    Chris

    • NooJo
      May 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Great article Ryan and intersting questions vaibhav and chris, I would like to know the same!!

    • Ryan Dube
      May 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      Thanks guys. I sometimes use "bridge" interchangeably with "switch", but in my application I hope to connect to subnetworks together in a way where only certain devices/PCs are accessible from other networks, while other devices remain accessible only from within those subnets. It's a work in progress, but having this second router available will help.

    • Ryan Dube
      May 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm

      Chris - as to question #2, I think that it could. At least I've been told by a number of people that they believe DD-WRT runs far more efficiently, but personally I think their opinion is subjective. I still am not certain in my case because I haven't had long enough to compare. I suspect that you will not be disappointed if you flash to DD-WRT instead of the standard Linksys firmware.

  28. Vaibhav Jain
    May 19, 2012 at 5:43 am

    hey ryan,nice procedure..but would you like to share what settings you made on windows pc to counter slow speeds...I am also having the same issue with my BEFW11S4... thanks

  29. Jon Hiller
    May 18, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    I have the cable modem/router version of this, and it's got to where it is really slow and bogs down/has to be reset all the time. I wonder if flashing it would be able to bring it back to life, as I don't really care for the Motorola modem/router I have right now.....

    • Ryan Dube
      May 19, 2012 at 12:18 am

      Just be really careful to verify the exact model version or you could brick it. It needs to be supported by DD-WRT. If it is, you're golden.

  30. John
    May 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I have the same router, only older (V2), and at Cisco's recommendation I loaded the firmware they told me to and ended up with a bricked router.

    I tried to wade through the DD-WRT site info, but that's quite a lot of reading, so I only got the basic idea of 1) trying the reset trick (hasn't worked for me yet), 2) try some more with different IP's to ping, 3) if all else fails and lights indicate it has some life left - try to build/buy a JTAG and go into the hardware to see if you can reset it.

    So now I may try your steps first to see if I can get it back.

    I REALLY want to use this as a bridge (I think the DD-WRT firmware will allow me to setup a bridge where the Linksys firmware will not) so I can save $45-70 on buying a bridge to get the internet from upstairs down to our Blu-Ray player and Satellite Receiver.

    Thanks for the blog and hopefully I have success!

    • Joe Quartararo
      May 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      DD-RT works great as a bridge. I used it for almost exactly the same reason with an old Linksys W54g v.5, to give better wireless from Verizon to my PS3 in our room over the garage, and it is now smoking!

    • Ryan Dube
      May 19, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Yes, that's exactly why I've done this as well - hoping to use this router as a bridge and DD-WRT looks great.

  31. Nhan Nguyen
    May 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Ryan, thank you. I have the exact router model you have (WRT54GSv5), and it also bricked after the recommended "30-30-30" technique. I can't wait to try this out.

    • Ryan Dube
      May 19, 2012 at 12:16 am

      Cool Nhan - I hope that the procedure helps. The key for me was the tool that could flash it via IP only, without the need for the web access...that solved the dilemma and I'm pretty sure it'll help everyone out there that has had the same problem.

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