Recovering Lost Cisco Passwords

  1. Connect a PC or Terminal to the router's console port using a Terminal Emulation program such as Hyper Terminal (need to update original HyperTerminal for NT (doesn't send break) or use the Win95/98 version).

  2. Once connected and logged in type show version and record the settings of the Configuration register. The configuration register setting is shown at the bottom of the screen in the format of:
    Configuration Register is 0x2102

  3. With the terminal or PC still attached, power off the router and power on the router.

  4. Within 60 seconds of the router powering back on, press the [Control]+[Break] keys on the keyboard of the terminal.

  5. If done correctly, you should see the bootstrap program prompt > without a router name in the prompt. If you don't see the symbol, the break signal wasn't properly sent to the router. Try it again after checking the console cable and Terminal settings (9600 baud, 8 data bits, No parity, 1 stop bits).

  6. On 2500 series routers, to reset the the configuration register to boot from ROM and ignore NVRAM enter the command at the > prompt:
    o/r 0x042

  7. Initialize the router by entering the command i at the > prompt.

  8. The Router will go through the power cycle and will set the register to 0x042. This will cause the router to boot the boot ROM system image and prompt you with the system configuration dialog as follows:
    --System Configuration Dialog--

  9. Answer no to the configuration system prompts until the following is displayed:
    Press RETURN to get started!

  10. Press [ENTER] and the boot ROM prompt appears:

  11. Enter the enable command at the prompt. Then enter the configure memory command as follows:
    Router#configure memory

  12. Enter the terminal configuration mode with the command:
    Router#conf t

  13. Now you can enter your new passwords with the commands: (where ccna is the new password)
    Router(config)#enable ccna
    Router(config)#enable secret ccna

  14. Set the configuration register back to the original setting with the command:
    Router(config)#config-register 0x2102

  15. Then enter the following commands to exit global configuration mode, save the configuration, and restart the router.
    Router#write mem