Password Recovery for Cisco Catalyst 2900XL, 3500XL, 2950, and 3550 Series Switches

The worst thing when starting a new job is when the previous Network Administrator left behind no documentation. How do you get into the devices? If you've been in this situation or just accidently mistyped your password, this article will hopefully shed some light on your problem.

1. Console to the device

Console into your switch using a console cable an a program such as HyperTerminal, CRT, SecureCRT or Putty.

2. Enter recovery mode

Unplug the power cable. Then, plug the power cable back in WHILE holding the mode button located on the front panel of the switch.

Note: For 2900/3500XL and 3550 Series switches, release the mode button after the LED above port 1 turns off. For 2950 Series switches, release the mode button after the STAT LED goes out.

3. Initialize the flash


switch: flash_init

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4. Issue the load_helper command


switch: load_helper

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5. View the flash


switch: dir flash:

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6. Rename the current configuration file


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

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7. Boot the device

Type "boot" and press enter.

switch: boot

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8. Cancel the the system setup


--- System Configuration Dialog ---
                      At any point you may enter a question mark '?' for help.
                      Use ctrl-c to abort configuration dialog at any prompt.
                      Default settings are in square brackets '[]'.
                      Continue with configuration dialog? [yes/no]: n 
                      Press RETURN to get started.

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9. Enter enabled mode



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10. Rename the configuration


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

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11. Copy the configuration into the running-configuration


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

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12. Change the password


Switch#configure terminal
                      Switch(config)#no enable secret 
                      Switch(config)#enable password NEWPASSWORD

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13. Save your new password


Switch#write memory

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