Password Recovery/Reset Steps for Cisco Catalyst 2960 Switch

The Cisco switch configuration allows an end user to recover from a lost password by interrupting the boot sequence during power-on with physical access and we can assign new password for the Cisco Switch. These recovery procedures require that you have physical access to the switch. The procedure for recovering the password will vary depending upon the Cisco Catalyst series and model. You’ll need a few items in place before you begin to attempt a Cisco password reset.

I will cover password recovery procedure for Cisco Catalyst Switch 2960 and this procedure will also work for other Cisco Catalyst switches 2900XL/3500XL, 2940, 2950/2955, 2960, and 2970 Series, as well as the Cisco Catalyst Layer 3 fixed configuration switches 3550, 3560, and 3750 Series.

Next, find the below PDF document  for step-by-step instruction on how to reset and recover the password on your Cisco Catalyst switch.

Download Cisco Catalyst Switch Password Recovery Instructions

Password Recovery Steps for Cisco Catalyst 2960 Switch

Step 1:

Connect your PC to the console port of the Cisco switch and open terminal emulation Software on your PC (Ex. Hyper Terminal).

Use the following terminal emulation settings:

  • Bits per second (baud): 9600
  • Data bits: 8
  • Parity: None
  • Stop bits: 1
  • Flow Control: Xon/Xoff

Cisco Password Recovery




Step 2:

First Power off the switch, then press and hold “mode button” while you power on the switch again. Hold it for about 15 seconds until the SYS led is solid green, and then release it.

switch should then give you this prompt:

Step 3:

To initialize the flash file system, execute the flash_init command:
switch: flash_init
Initializing Flash…
flashfs[0]: 5 files, 1 directories
flashfs[0]: 0 orphaned files, 0 orphaned directories
flashfs[0]: Total bytes: 32514048
flashfs[0]: Bytes used: 8059904
flashfs[0]: Bytes available: 24454144
flashfs[0]: flashfs fsck took 10 seconds.
…done Initializing Flash.
The switch will now give a bunch of messages about the flash memory, hopefully one of them will be ‘done initializing flash’ as above shown

Step 4:

You can now list the contents of your flash by running
switch: dir flash:
Directory of flash: /
2 -rwx 12300 <date> config.text
4 -rwx 1906 <date> private-config.text
5 -rwx 676 <date> vlan.dat
6 -rwx 8040418 <date> c2960-lanbasek9-mz.122-50.SE3.bin
7 -rwx 2072 <date> multiple-fs

Step 5:

There should be a file named ‘config.text’, in the Flash directory. Now you have to rename this file as follows:
switch: rename flash:config.text flash: oldconfig.backup

Step 6:

Now run the Switch by using  boot command as:
switch: boot

Step 7:

When the switch is booted, then old configuration will be gone.Enable switch now using below command.



Step 8:

To recover the old configuration, change the configuration file and re-name back to “config.text”.
Switch#rename flash: oldconfig.backup flash:config.text
And now to replace the running configuration with the backup
Switch#copy flash: config.text running-config
Destination filename [running-config]?
Press enter, and you will have your old switch configuration back and you are enabled.

Step 9:

Copy the configuration file into memory.
Switch#copy flash:config.text system:running-config
Destination filename [running-config]?—–Press Return or Enter.1131 bytes copied in 0.760 secs
The configuration file is now reloaded.

Step 10:

Overwrite the current passwords that you do not know.
Switch# conf t
Switch(config)#enable secret <new_secret_password>
Switch(config)#enable password <new_enable_password>
Switch(config)#line vty 0 15
Switch(config-line)#password <new_vty_password>
Switch(config-line)#line con 0
Switch(config-line)#password <new_console_password>
Write the running configuration to the configuration file with the write memory
Switch#write memory
Building configuration..

Step 11:

Reload the switch using the reload command to cross verify new login details.


Note: The password recovery procedure can be different depending on the Cisco switch series, so you should refer to the product documentation before you attempt a password recovery.




2.CCNA Exploration 4.0 – 2.4 Configuring Switch Security

Video- Cisco Catalyst Switch Password Recovery:

Watch the Video on Cisco Catalyst Switch 2960 password recovery procedure.




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  1. Saris says:

    Hay its fantastic you have spend your valuable time to teach this Password recovery procedure for Cisco Catalyst 2960 Switch, thank you !

  2. Ahmed says:

    Hi Admin,

    I did the same way as you said to recover a password on Cisco Catalyst 2960 Switch but i got an error:

    switch: dir flash
    unable to stat flash/: permission denied

    Pls help

    • admin says:

      To initialize the flash file system, execute the flash_init command after that try dir flash in Cisco Catalyst 2960 Switch.

      switch: flash_init

  3. Khan says:

    Thanks for the password recovery steps on Cisco Catalyst Switch.

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