How do I transfer a file using TFTP? (How do I fix my brick router?)

Oops…  I think I bricked my router

So, you’ve broken something.  You were upgrading firmware on your router, and you jumped the gun and rebooted too soon.  You’re up a creek without a paddle, right?

Wrong!  (hopefully) Breaking stuff isn’t fun, especially when other people use it, or you paid good, hard earned money for it.


The FIRST thing you should do to find out if your router is salvageable and will accept a TFTP flash is to ping it.  If you get a response, you’re in good shape and there is a much better chance you’ll be able to get save your router.

1. Open up a command prompt:  start-run type cmd and hit enter

2. c:\ping (your router’s ip)

You might see : Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=64

Something to pay attention to in your pinging is the TTL, or time to live.  You’ll generally see a TTL of 64, under normal conditions.  However, when a router is ready to accept a TFTP transfer (of firmware), the TTL will change, to a number like 100.  I doubt that the TTL will always be 100 in every flash, but, it’s important that it’s different than normal.

Next, if you can ping your router, than you should download the firmware that you want to flash onto the router  (probably good to go with Stock firmware)

Important:  If you are using Vista or Windows 7, you must install the TFTP client first before proceeding!  If you don’t know how to do this, go to this tutorial on How to install TFTP in Vista or Windows 7.

Start a pinging session on your computer in the following manner:

ping (your router’s IP)  -t

Keep this command prompt open and watch it carefully.

Open up another command prompt and type the following:

tftp –i (your router ip) put firmwarefile.bin


Unplug your router, wait a few seconds, and plug it back in.

As SOON as your router starts to give ping replies (and you may notice the TTL is different than normal), hit enter on your TFTP prompt.

This may take a few tries.  You have to hit the sweet spot in the booting process of your router where it is accepting firmware transfers.  This of course will not work with every router under the sun.  But… hey… what do you have to lose?  It’s broken.

Good luck!  Hope you can get that router back.

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