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Definitive Guide: Factory Reset Brother HL-2170W Wireless Printer

Posted by binglongx on June 23, 2013

The little printer was easy to set up initially, see a previous post. However, Brother does not have very good configuration support if anything changes in the wireless network, for example, your wireless router, SSID or key. Supposedly you just need to re-connect the Ethernet cable, and re-run Wireless Setup Wizard for Windows to let the printer know your new wireless network information, and restore printing. What you may often see, however, is that the Wizard reports it could not find the printer at all, letting alone allowing you to change its configuration.

The problem is that the printer is stuck with the stale network information and even prevents configuration connections. Whenever the PC cannot see the printer, the recommended approach is to factory reset the printer and redo the setup process. You can find the official factory reset instructions here. However, the instructions are too concise and do not tell you what is normal and what is not during the process, and you could wonder if you did it right. I stumbled a few times on that. By combining the official instructions with Brother HL-2170W: Installation Gotchas + Reset to Factory Settings and How do I configure the wireless printer with the temporary use of a network cable and install the printer driver in Windows, and after some experiments, I believe below is the best guide available over the internet for factory resetting Brother HL-2170W:

  1. Turn off the printer.
  2. Remove the Ethernet cable and USB cable from the printer.
  3. Remove paper from printer and close the front cover. Removing paper is optional and to save paper and toner; if you go wrong, the printer may print TEST PRINT pages, which I have had a bunch…
  4. Hold the Go button and turn on the printer. In fact the Go button is the only button that you can operate. It is white, and has blue light when on.
  5. Keep the Go button pressed down until the Toner, Drum and Error LEDs light up. For my printer, as soon as I power up the printer all the three LEDs light on immediately.
  6. Release the Go button and make sure the Toner, Drum and Error LEDs go off. Again, for my printer, the three LEDs go off right after I release the Go button. At this time, all the LEDs and the Go button light are off.
  7. Press (and of course release) the Go button 7 times. When the Go button is pressed, its blue light is on. After 7 presses, all the LEDs and the Go button light are off. For a few seconds, the printer may not seem to respond to your presses at all. Don’t worry, I believe it is just unsure and waiting for you to press more if you want to do some other secret settings. For example, pressing Go more times can print the TEST PRINT page.
  8. After the waiting period (for my printer this silence takes about 10 seconds), all the Toner, Drum and Error LEDs and the Go button light come on briefly and go off, then the Go button light slowly flashes for a few times. This means the factory reset is successful.
  9. After the factory reset, as you usually see when the printer is turned on, it makes some noise and then the Go button remain lit. The printer is now ready.

If you believe you go wrong in the middle, just turn off the printer and start over. The procedure above could be too much for first time users. In my point of view, since any change in network settings essentially requires resetting the wireless printer, Brother could have really added a reset button in the back of the printer and made it painless.

Once your printer is reset, you can use an Ethernet cable to connect it to your home network. If your router has a DHCP server, HL-2170W will try to get an IP there. The instructions say that you may need to wait for 1 minute, but I can see that the printer gets an IP right away from my router in the router’s management page. It is also shown that the printer names itself as BRNxxxxxxxxxxxxxx in the DHCP client list.

To install it as a wireless network printer, you just need to follow the rest of Installing Brother HL-2170W Wireless Laser Printer to finish the installation. Specifically when you run Wireless Setup Wizard for Windows, and it will see the printer with the BRNxxxxxxxxxxxxxx host name and IP from DHCP.

Another option is to install it as a wired network printer.

20 Responses to “Definitive Guide: Factory Reset Brother HL-2170W Wireless Printer”

  1. […] Reset the printer to return to factory settings (if it was set up as a wireless printer). […]

  2. LAye said

    Thank you SOO MUCH. The ‘official’ guide on resetting the printer didn’t work: it asked me to press the GO button 10 times and as a result, the printer still retained the old network settings. I read your guide and pressed the GO button 7 times and it worked a treat. Cheers

  3. Keith Lowe said

    Many thanks – I’d messed with mine for too long and this post did the trick for me!

  4. Mari said

    Ditto to the comment above. The factory instructions did not work, and yours did. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this.

  5. Mizvickey said

    Man, I’ve been trying like hell to do this and it wouldn’t work until I found these instructions… smhlol! Thank you!

  6. Dave T said

    Another thanks for posting this, it was a big help. I upgraded my router, so couldn’t get at the printer to reconfigure its network settings.

  7. Mark Peck said

    Thank you thank you thank you – I wasted far too long trying to connect to the printer before I gave up and googled how to reset it. Your instructions were spot-on, I really appreciate you sharing your solution.

  8. Georg said

    Very helpful. Thanks.

  9. Linda said

    changes in my router necessitated changes for my wireless printer. missed seeing this helpful info until today. at one point my printer just turned off and will not turn back on. it is just ‘dead’. Is there another forum/help for any options to check? Is there any other reset options? :/

  10. Josh said

    Thank you so much, I have had this Brother printer for the past six years — with a recent move I decided to change my wifi SID. I vaguely remember the factory reset option and just found it onliine. As others have stated, Brother’s instructions are wrong stating 10 times is needed.

    Thank you so so much to ending a frustrating switch and taking the time to post these instructions.

  11. Geoff said

    Sweet! I changed my router and therefore I need to reset. I successfully reset the printer to factory settings but when running the Set-Up Wizard I am stuck at the point it asks me to “temporarily reset my computer’s wire-less settings.” It tells me what to take note of but I have no idea where my settings are and I don’t want to go messing around , hence I cannot proceed with the set-up wizard. I’m doing this on a Mac Air via wireless [no ethernet cable]. Any thoughts on how to move forward? Appreciate!

    • binglongx said

      I don’t own a Mac Air so I don’t know how the Brother Setup Wizard works exactly on your PC. I think it should only concern about changing the printer’s wireless settings, and it has no reasonable need to change your PC’s network settings (no matter wired or wireless). You may want to refer to the Brother’s user manual for Mac users.

  12. 0xfafa said

    Thanks! Very helpful!

  13. Mine was in a funk and wouldn’t reset to setup mode but this worked first time. Bravo. In my case was on a Mac Mini.

  14. Alfredo said


  15. Jorge said


  16. Jephthah said

    Thanks a million. I struggled to install mine on the network for weeks. This post did the magic. You are the man!

  17. Edwin said

    SUPER!!! Thanks!

  18. Mitch said

    Um, God bless you! I spent 3 hours trying to get that darn printer back on the network. Once I read your instructions, it was only a matter of minutes. It’s working, and I feel a deep sense of peace and calm washing over me. We need more good and *helpful* things like this on and off the internet.

  19. wr3nch3d said

    Woot!!!! Thank you thank you! Saving these directions for next time. I recently updated my wireless password and the instructions on the Brother website are abysmal to say the least! You freaking ROCK!!!!

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