Tutorial How to reset encrypted admin password via SSH


Senior Member
Asus and Asuswrt-Merlin have introduced encrypted passwords since and 384.17 firmware, which I appreciate, but I messed up a few days ago.

I tried backing up all encrypted password hashes in nvram in ssh and re-writing to nvram, but I found that even though nvram didn't change anything, the GUI told me the password was wrong. because there are many important settings that are not backed up, I don't want to do a factory reset, so I tried looking for a solution, the good news is I found it.

You must be able to log into your router via SSH.
(For me I'm using Authorized Keys so I can still log in even if the GUI password is incorrect)

How to do:
1) Enter the following commands in SSH:
nvram set http_passwd=admin
nvram commit
2) Now logging into the GUI with admin as the password should ask you to reset the password (Or just open: )
3) Congrats, you've unlocked your password without resetting the router

How it works:
I remember that when 378 or 380, asus introduced an initial setting check, when the default password is admin, it will enter an interface and ask to change the password before continuing to enter the GUI, This is a security feature to make sure no one uses admin as the password.
So we just need to use SSH to write the plaintext admin password to nvram, we can trigger the interface to reset the password, and when we reset the password, we can enter the GUI.
In short we are using one security feature to hack another security feature.:cool:

This method may not work for everyone because not everyone has SSH enabled and Authorized Keys set. So when there is no way to log into the router via SSH, the only way is to do a factory reset.
Anyone is welcome to copy this thread to the wiki.
Last edited:


Senior Member
Encrypted passwords are a challenge for nvram save restore utility, maybe it's time to revive it with this trick ;) @Xentrk

Just realized that RMerlin discovered this trick two years ago: :eek:
At a quick glance, I think httpd has a special case for when httpd_passwd is set to the default password. So, try setting it to "admin", it might then let you connect over http, and define a new, encrypted password.
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