How do I Reset a Password in Catalyst 2960?

Written by alan hughes
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How do I Reset a Password in Catalyst 2960?
Reset the Password on a 2960 Switch. (switch image by martini from

Cisco has been a major player in the networking equipment market for many years, and products like the Catalyst 2960 switch have been a part of its success. You can get a good price on a used 2960 switch, but if the seller does not reset the password before shipping, you will have some work to do. Fortunately, Cisco has a built-in password-recovery procedure that will help you reset the password.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cisco 2960 Switch
  • Serial cable
  • Computer with terminal software

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  1. 1

    Find the serial cable that is packaged with the switch and connect a 9-pin D-shell connector to the serial port on your computer. Next, connect the jack that looks like a slightly larger telephone connector to the console port on the switch. This is the RJ-45 connector.

  2. 2

    Power on your computer and configure a terminal session for the Catalyst 2960 switch. HyperTerminal and Putty are two of the most popular, but most any terminal emulator will work fine for this step. Set the terminal session settings to 9600 baud, 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit and Xon/Xoff flow control.

  3. 3

    While holding down the "mode" button on the left front of the switch, plug in the switch power cable. When the Status LED goes out, wait 5 seconds and release the Mode button. The SYST LED should blink amber.

  4. 4

    Enter the following commands at the prompt:

    flash_init (press "Enter")

    load_helper (press "Enter")

    dir flash: (press "Enter")

    rename flash:config.text flash:config.old (press "Enter")

    The "dir flash:" command displays a directory of flash memory, and the "rename" command renames the existing configuration file.

  5. 5

    Reboot the switch with the following command:

    boot (press "Enter")

    When the System Configuration Dialog appears, answer "n" to the prompt and press "Enter." Press "Enter" again to get to the Switch > prompt.

  6. 6

    Enter enable mode with the following commands at the "Switch>" prompt:

    en (press "Enter")

    The prompt should change to Switch#. Rename the configuration file with the following command:

    rename flash:config.old flash:config.text (press "Enter")

    Press "Enter" to accept the default when prompted for the destination file name.

  7. 7

    Copy the configuration file into the switch's memory with the following command:

    copy flash:config.text system:running-config (press "Enter")

    Press "Enter" to accept the default when prompted for the destination file name.

  8. 8

    Create new passwords with the following commands:

    conf t (press "Enter")

    enable secret spswd (where "spswd" is your new secret password) (press "Enter")

    enable password enpswd (where "enpswd" is your new enable password) (press "Enter")

    line vty 0 15 (press "Enter")

    password tpswd (where "tpswd" is your new terminal password) (press "Enter")

    login (press "Enter")

    line con 0 (press "Enter")

    password cpswd (where "cpswd" is your new console password) (press "Enter")

    write memory (press "Enter")

    The "Building Configuration" message followed by the [OK] message, the Sw1# prompt, indicate that you have successfully reset the passwords.

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