Menu Close

Catalyst 2960 – password recovery

Recovering from a Lost or Forgotten Password


The default configuration for the switch allows an end user with physical access to the switch to recover from a lost password by interrupting the boot process during power-on and by entering a new password. These recovery procedures require that you have physical access to the switch.


Note On these switches, a system administrator can disable some of the functionality of this feature by allowing an end user to reset a password only by agreeing to return to the default configuration. If you are an end user trying to reset a password when password recovery has been disabled, a status message shows this during the recovery process.


These sections describes how to recover a forgotten or lost switch password:


Procedure with Password Recovery Enabled


Procedure with Password Recovery Disabled


You enable or disable password recovery by using the service password-recovery global configuration command. Follow the steps in this procedure if you have forgotten or lost the switch password.


Step 1 Connect a terminal or PC with terminal-emulation software to the switch console port.


tep 2 Set the line speed on the emulation software to 9600 baud.


Step 3 Power off the switch. Reconnect the power cord to the switch and, within 15 seconds, press the Mode button while the System LED is still flashing green. Continue pressing the Mode button until the System LED turns briefly amber and then solid green; then release the Mode button.


Several lines of information about the software appear with instructions, informing you if the password recovery procedure has been disabled or not.




If you see a message that begins with this:


The system has been interrupted prior to initializing the flash file system. The 
following commands will initialize the flash file system


proceed to the “Procedure with Password Recovery Enabled” section, and follow the steps.


If you see a message that begins with this:


The password-recovery mechanism has been triggered, but is currently disabled. 


proceed to the “Procedure with Password Recovery Disabled” section, and follow the steps.


Step 4 After recovering the password, reload the switch:


Switch> reload
Proceed with reload? [confirm] y


Procedure with Password Recovery Enabled


If the password-recovery mechanism is enabled, this message appears:


The system has been interrupted prior to initializing the flash file system. The following 
commands will initialize the flash file system, and finish loading the operating system 


Step 1 Initialize the flash file system:


switch: flash_init
Step 2 If you had set the console port speed to anything other than 9600, it has been reset to that particular speed. Change the emulation software line speed to match that of the switch console port.


Step 3 Load any helper files:


swtch: load_helper

Step 4 Display the contents of flash memory:


switch: dir flash:

The switch file system appears:


Directory of flash:
   13  drwx         192   Mar 01 1993 22:30:48  c2960-lanbase-mz.122-25.FX
   11  -rwx        5825   Mar 01 1993 22:31:59  config.text
   18  -rwx         720   Mar 01 1993 02:21:30  vlan.dat
16128000 bytes total (10003456 bytes free)

Step 5 Rename the configuration file to config.text.old.


This file contains the password definition.


switch: rename flash:config.text flash:config.text.old

Step 6

Boot the system:


switch: boot

You are prompted to start the setup program. Enter N at the prompt:


Continue with the configuration dialog? [yes/no]: N

Step 7 At the switch prompt, enter privileged EXEC mode:


Switch> enable

Step 8 Rename the configuration file to its original name:


Switch# rename flash:config.text.old flash:config.text 


Step 9 Copy the configuration file into memory:


Switch# copy flash:config.text system:running-config 
Source filename [config.text]? 
Destination filename [running-config]?

Press Return in response to the confirmation prompts.


The configuration file is now reloaded, and you can change the password.


Step 10 Enter global configuration mode:


Switch# configure terminal

Step 11 Change the password:


Switch (config)# enable secret password

The secret password can be from 1 to 25 alphanumeric characters, can start with a number, is case sensitive, and allows spaces but ignores leading spaces.


Step 12 Return to privileged EXEC mode:


Switch (config)# exit 


Step 13 Write the running configuration to the startup configuration file:


Switch# copy running-config startup-config

The new password is now in the startup configuration.


Note This procedure is likely to leave your switch virtual interface in a shutdown state. You can see which interface is in this state by entering the show running-config privileged EXEC command. To re-enable the interface, enter the interface vlan vlan-id global configuration command, and specify the VLAN ID of the shutdown interface. With the switch in interface configuration mode, enter the no shutdown command.


Step 14 Reload the switch:


Switch# reload


Rate this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.