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How to reset Cisco Catalyst 2960 switch password without losing your configuration

Paolo Caparrelli Cisco 22 June 2022

To reset your Cisco 2960 password, connect your console cable to the switch and open up your terminal emulator software.
Power on the switch while holding the mode button.
Release the mode button after you see the screen below in your terminal emulator software.

o reset your Cisco 2960 password, connect your console cable to the switch and open up your terminal emulator software, you can use minicom if you are using Linux. Please visit this link on how to install and configure minicom using in Fedora/Red Hat/CentOS and this link if you are using Debian/Ubuntu.

Power on the switch while holding the mode button. Release the mode button after you see the screen below in your terminal emulator software.

Boot Sector Filesystem (bs) installed, fsid: 2       

Base ethernet MAC Address: 1c:1d:86:db:c8:80         

Xmodem file system is available.

The password-recovery mechanism is enabled.



The system has been interrupted prior to initializing the

flash filesystem.  The following commands will initialize

the flash filesystem, and finish loading the operating 

system software:



    flash_init

    boot



                                                                                

switch: 


Initialize the flash file system using the below command.

flash_init
Initializing Flash…                                                           

flashfs[0]: 542 files, 19 directories                                           

flashfs[0]: 0 orphaned files, 0 orphaned directories                            

flashfs[0]: Total bytes: 32514048                                               

flashfs[0]: Bytes used: 13520384                                                

flashfs[0]: Bytes available: 18993664                                           

flashfs[0]: flashfs fsck took 11 seconds.                                       

…done Initializing Flash.

                 

switch: 


Find the config file in flash: directory

dir flash:

The files that we are looking for in the flash: directory is the config.text file.

Directory of flash:/                                                            

                                                                                

    3  -rwx  2296                     vlan.dat                            

    4  -rwx  3569                     config.text                         

    5  -rwx  5                        private-config.text                 

    6  drwx  192                      c2960-lanbasek9-mz.122-55.SE7       

  562  -rwx  2072                     multiple-fs     


Rename the config file so that it will not be loaded when we boot to the switch.

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

Then type the below command to boot to the switch

boot

After booting, the switch will ask you to enter the "initial configuration dialog" to initially configure the switch using interactive CLI mode. Just type the word "no" because we are not re-configuring the switch.

         — System Configuration Dialog —



Enable secret warning

———————————-

In order to access the device manager, an enable secret is required

If you enter the initial configuration dialog, you will be prompted for the enable secret

If you choose not to enter the intial configuration dialog, or if you exit setup without setting the enable secret,

please set an enable secret using the following CLI in configuration mode-

enable secret 0 

———————————-

Would you like to enter the initial configuration dialog? [yes/no]: no


At the switch prompt type en to enter enable mode.

Switch>en

Rename the configuration file to its original filename.

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

Copy the configuration file into the memory

copy flash:config.text system:running-config

Now that the config is loaded in to the memory, we can start changing the password.

conf t
enable secret newpassword

After changing the password, save the config and done.

write memory

This tutorial will also work on Cisco 2950 switches. Hope this helps.

- See more at: http://www.cahilig.net/2014/04/14/how-reset-cisco-2960-switch-password-without-losing-your-configuration#sthash.EXxvKMBs.dpuf

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

flash_init
boot

switch: flash_init
switch: dir flash:
switch:rename flash:config.text flash:config.text.old
switch: boot

Would you like to enter the initial configuration dialog? [yes/no]: no

switch>en
switch:rename flash:config.text.old flash:config.text
switch:copy flash:config.text system:running-config
switch:conf t
switch<config>:enable secret nuovapassword
switch<config>:end
switch: write mem
switch: reload

The system has been interrupted prior to initializing the flash filesystem. The following commands will initialize the flash filesystem, and finish loading the operating system software: flash_init boot switch: – See more at: http://www.cahilig.net/2014/04/14/how-reset-cisco-2960-switch-password-without-losing-your-configuration#sthash.EXxvKMBs.dpuf
The system has been interrupted prior to initializing the flash filesystem. The following commands will initialize the flash filesystem, and finish loading the operating system software: flash_init boot switch: – See more at: http://www.cahilig.net/2014/04/14/how-reset-cisco-2960-switch-password-without-losing-your-configuration#sthash.EXxvKMBs.dpuf
The system has been interrupted prior to initializing the flash filesystem. The following commands will initialize the flash filesystem, and finish loading the operating system software: flash_init boot switch: – See more at: http://www.cahilig.net/2014/04/14/how-reset-cisco-2960-switch-password-without-losing-your-configuration#sthash.EXxvKMBs.dpuf

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