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How to Recover the Password on Cisco Catalyst 3850?

January 2 2014 , Written by Cisco & Cisco Router, Network Switch Published on #Cisco Switches - Cisco Firewall

How to recover the password on a Cisco 3850 switch when you lost or forgot it? It is easy to solve it for it’s so common for a network user. Here we list some tips and basic steps to help you recover password on catalyst 3850 again.

Tips and Steps to Recover the Password on Cisco Catalyst 3850

On a switch, power off the standalone switch or the entire switch stack. Reconnect the power cord to the active switch. Within 15 seconds, press the Mode button while the System LED is still flashing green. Continue pressing the Mode button until all the system LEDs turn on and remain solid; then release the Mode button.

Several lines of information about the software appear with instructions, informing you if the password recovery procedure has been disabled or not.

If you see a message that begins with this:

The system has been interrupted prior to initializing the flash file system.

The following commands will initialize the flash file system proceed to the below steps

Step1 Initialize the flash file system.

Switch: flash_init 

Step2 Ignore the startup configuration with the following command:


Step3 Boot the switch with the packages.conf file from flash.

Switch: boot flash:packages.conf

Step4 Terminate the initial configuration dialog by answering No.

Would you like to enter the initial configuration dialog? [yes/no]: No

Step5 At the switch prompt, enter privileged EXEC mode.

Switch> enable     


Step 6 Copy the startup configuration to running configuration.

Switch# copy startup-config running-config Destination filename [running-config]?

Press Return in response to the confirmation prompts. The configuration file is now reloaded, and you can change the password.

Step7 Enter global configuration mode and change the enable password.

Switch# configure terminalSwitch(config)# 

Step8 Write the running configuration to the startup configuration file.

Switch# copy running-config startup-config     

Step9 Confirm that manual boot mode is enabled.

Switch# show boot

BOOT variable = flash:packages.conf;

Manual Boot = yes

Enable Break = yes 

Step10 Reload the switch.

Switch# reload

Step11 Return the Bootloader parameters (previously changed in Steps 2 and 3) to their original values.



Step12 Boot the switch with the packages.conf file from flash.

Switch: boot flash:packages.conf

Step13 After the switch boots up, disable manual boot on the switch.

 Switch(config)# no boot manual

Refer to https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-35289

More Cisco 3850 Tips:

Cisco Catalyst 3850 Series- the Industry’s first Fixed, Stackable GE Switch

More Cisco switch review, news and Topics you can see at: http://blog.router-switch.com/category/reviews/cisco-switches/

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Chad 09/16/2015 01:29

Warning! This does not completely work on 3.07 code. I found out the hard way. I think steps 9 through 12 need to be updated. After your passwords are changed, while still in privileged exec mode execute:
no system ignore startupconfig switch all
system disable password recovery switch all

This will allow the switch to load the startup-config on next reload.

See: https://supportforums.cisco.com/document/12018491/password-recovery-cisco-catalyst-3850

jimmy 05/08/2015 07:36

will this remove the configuration of switch

Gerrit 08/08/2015 12:57

NO, startup config still exist