Reset the password on a Cisco Catalyst 3560 —

This assumes you have access to the switch.. and that at the very least.. your dumb ass forgot the password.

Step One: Connect your serial cable to the switch with your very favorite terminal software (I use gtkterm) and set the port to 9600 baud data bits 8 no parity stop bits 1 and Flow Control as Xon/Xoff

Step Two: Unplug the switch.

Step Three: Hold down the mode button on the front and plug the switch back in. Release the Mode button after approximately 15 seconds when the SYST LED turns solid green. When you release the Mode button, the SYST LED blinks green.

Step 4: Issue the flash_init command
Initializing Flash...
flashfs[0]: 402 files, 6 directories
flashfs[0]: 0 orphaned files, 0 orphaned directories
flashfs[0]: Total bytes: 15998976
flashfs[0]: Bytes used: 8165888
flashfs[0]: Bytes available: 7833088
flashfs[0]: flashfs fsck took 9 seconds.
...done Initializing Flash.
Boot Sector Filesystem (bs) installed, fsid: 3
Setting console baud rate to 9600...

Step 5: Issue the load_helper command
switch: load_helper

Step 6: Issue the dir flash: command
switch: dir flash:
Directory of flash:/

2 -rwx 796 vlan.dat
4 -rwx 10968 config.text
5 drwx 192 c3560-ipbase-mz.122-25.SEE2
409 -rwx 27 private-config.text

7833088 bytes available (8165888 bytes used)

Step 7: rename the current config on the flash to something else to save it by typing..
switch: rename flash:config.text flash:config.old

Step 8: Boot the system with the boot command

This takes a minute or so.. and you will see a message to the effect of:
Would you like to enter the initial configuration dialog? [yes/no]:
You type No. and this gets you to a Switch> prompt.

Step 9: type en, to enter enable mode.

Step 10: You are now going to re-rename that config file.
Switch#rename flash:config.old flash:config.text
Destination filename [config.text]? (press enter here, don't type y.. if you type y.. you rename the file to y.. lol

Step 11: Copy that very same config into memory
Switch#copy flash:config.text system:running-config
Destination filename [running-config]?

Step 12: type conf t
switchname#conf t
Enter configuration commands, one per line. End with CNTL/Z.

Step 13: Reset your Passwords:
reset secret:
switchname(config)#enable secret secretpass
reset switch password
switchname(config)#enable password pass
reset vty password
switchname(config)#line vty 0 15
switchname(config-line)#password vtypass

reset console password
switchname(config)#line con 0
switchname(config-line)#password conpassword

Step 14: Type exit a couple of times to get back to # and write memory to save.
switchname#write memory
Building configuration...


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Categorised as: Geeking Out


  1. Ivor Hux says:

    Will this procedure allow me to Log into my 3560 switch via the web interface?
    Also near the end of this procedure …When I’m re-setting the passwords…do I have to enter ‘CNTL/Z’ after every line?

    Thank you.

  2. jano says:

    Thanks so much this helps me really.

  3. Robin says:

    So much easier to follow than the guide I looked at first on Cisco website! Thank you very much!

  4. BoltThrower says:

    Cool helped me alot with a pre used 3560 Switch. However…one mistake is in the howto…the copy flash:config.text system:running-config should be copy flash:config.old system:running-config

    As evidence, simple type dir to see, that no config.text is available

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  6. Ananthan says:

    Thank you so much for this document and really helpful!

  7. isma says:

    i did follow the procedure but i lost all the configuration on a switch, is there a reason for that?

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