Cisco Switch Password Reset


Cisco Switch Password Reset

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This article describes the password recovery procedure for the following (but not limited to) Cisco Catalsyt switches: 2900, 2950, 2960, 2970, 3550, 3560, 3750

What you will need

  • Serial Cable
  • Terminal Software (Putty / Hyperterminal) on a Laptop/Serial Console or Connected Device.

Reset Procedure Steps

Connecting to the switch

1) Connect Serial cable to switch and laptop

2) Load terminal software and set the speed to 9600 baud.

Boot switch for password recovery

3) Unplug the power from the switch
4) Hold down the ‘Mode’ button at the front of the switch
5) Plug in the power to the switch and release the ‘Mode’ button after you see this at the prompt:

Find and rename the config file

6) Enter these commands to find your config file

switch: flash _init
switch: load_helper
switch: dir flash:

7) You will get a directory listing similar to this:

13 drwx   192 Mar 01 1993 22:30:48 c2960-mz-124-0.0.53
11 -rwx   5825 Mar 01 1993 22:31:59 config.text
18 -rwx   720 Mar 01 1993 02:21:30 vlan.dat

8) Now rename the config.text file and reboot the switch

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

9) Reboot the switch

switch: boot

Once the switch reboots, answer NO to:

“Would you like to enter system configuration dialog? [Yes/No]:
Restoring the original switch configuration

10) Get into the privilege prompt and carry out the steps below:


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

Switch#copy flash:config.text system:running-config

Source filename [config.text]?

Destination filename [running-config]?

11) Press Enter to copy switch to global configuration and reset the password

Switch#conf t

Switch (config)#enable secret password

Enter the password you would like

12) Save your config:

Switch (config)#exit 

Switch#copy run start


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