Password Recovery for a Catalyst 3560

Written by alan hughes
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Password Recovery for a Catalyst 3560
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The Cisco Catalyst 3560 is a solid member of the Cisco networking equipment team; it contains the features that have made Cisco a market leader for many. Several passwords exist for the 3560, including the enable password, the secret password and the terminal password. It is no wonder that losing or forgetting passwords is a common occurrence. Another reason for password problems can be when vendors do not reset the passwords before a used Catalyst 3560 is shipped to you. Do not panic---Cisco's Catalyst switches have a built-in a password recovery function to help you when you do not know the password.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Connect your computer to the switch using the blue serial cable that came with it. The 9-pin d-shell end plugs into the serial port of your computer, and the RJ-45 end plugs into the console port on the switch.

  2. 2

    Boot up your computer and use any terminal emulator to build a terminal session for the Catalyst 3560. Set the terminal session settings to 9600 baud, 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit and Xon/Xoff flow control. Press and hold the "Mode" button on the left front of the switch and plug in the switch power cable. Wait 5 seconds after the Status LED goes out and then release the "Mode" button. The SYST LED should begin to blink amber.

  3. 3

    Enter the following commands at the "Switch:" prompt:

    flash_init (press "Enter")

    load_helper (press "Enter")

    dir flash: (press "Enter")

    The last command will display a directory of flash memory. Rename the existing configuration file with the following command:

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

  4. 4

    Enter "boot" at the "switch:" prompt and press "Enter." This will reboot the switch. Answer "n" to the "System Configuration Dialog" prompt and press "Enter." Press "Enter" again and you should see the "Switch>" prompt.

  5. 5

    Enter "en" at the "Switch>" prompt. Press "Enter" to enter "Enable" mode. You should see the prompt change to "Switch#." Issue the following command to rename the configuration file:

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

    Press "Enter" a second time to accept the default "Destination filename."

  6. 6

    Issue following command to copy the configuration file into switch memory:

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

    Press "Enter" a second time to accept the default "Destination filename."

  7. 7

    Issue the following commands at the prompt to create new passwords:

    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 and the "Sw1#" prompt indicate that you have successfully performed password recovery on the Catalyst 3560.

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