I had been using firmware 18.104.22.168 with no issues, with 2 ipads, 2 iphones, a Windows 7 netbook, a Windows 8 laptop, and a wireless printer. [ A Windows XP laptop (permanently disabled) had been getting disconnected and sometimes reconnecting with no security with this firmware, but then it would change to a secure connection within a few seconds, this was wireless. The XP laptop was not having this issue with a Linksys router, only with the Netgear.]
I connected by ethernet to the router with the Windows 8 laptop and logged in to the router's settings, using Firefox. (Apparently I should have used IE.) I chose to upgrade the firmware through the router's interface. Everything seemed to be going well and I saw the router reboot. However, the browser froze after that. After quite a while of waiting, I refreshed the page. The router showed the new firmware.
After that, the Windows 8 laptop, which had never, ever had any problems with wireless connection on a Linksys router for several months in another location as well as for a few days with the Netgear with the old firmware, started losing its wireless connection once in a while. Several times in the past 24 hours I have had to run the Windows troubleshooter to reset the wireless adapter in order to re-establish the connection. I rebooted the router, using the button on the back of the router at the bottom to power it off and then back on. This didn't seem to help.
I went to the Netgear website and downloaded the firmware for both 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. I connected the Windows 8 laptop to the router with the ethernet cable, logged in to the router's settings, and manually re-installed 188.8.131.52, using IE this time. It appeared that everything went smoothly. I decided to try rebooting the router using the router's settings in IE. I watched as the router rebooted. However, the page seemed to get 'stuck' on telling me to wait while the router restarted, although the router actually had restarted and, in fact, all devices were back online...while this page continued to tell me to wait. I tried again, same result.
I've seen references to doing a factory reset after upgrading the firmware, but would that not restore the router to original factory settings, including the firmware? This does not make sense to me.
Since I have done the second installation of the new firmware, my Windows 8 laptop has not lost wireless connection, although I'm not ruling out the possibility that it still might.
The Netgear support pages don't seem to be really definite about the necessity of doing a 'factory reset' after upgrading the firmware, it seems to be either optional or not mentioned at all.
So my questions are:
What is meant by a 'factory reset', and how would that be done? Is it by pushing the recessed button on the back of the router? And would that not wipe out the firmware upgrade?
Is powering down the router and powering it back up enough to complete the installation? Again, Netgear's support pages aren't very definite about that.
And are there known issues with firmware 184.108.40.206 and Windows 8? I am wondering why only one device in my network was having problems.