Recovering Cisco Router Passwords
You may think that forgetting passwords is the most common
method of loosing them, but there are a number of other ways. Probably the
most common cause of lost passwords that I have seen is someone leaving the
company and not leaving the correct passwords behind, and of course you canít
get hold of them to ask for the right passwords. It is for reasons like this
that I have had to recover passwords on more than one occasion for Cisco
routers (as well as a number of other things that may pop up in other
If you find yourself hopelessly locked out of your Cisco
router, the first thing you will need to do is get a copy of the souped up
version of Hyperterminal (version 3.0 or higher) from http://www.hilgraeve.com because the
version that comes with Windows does not send the right break characters
which you will desperately need later on. Once you have that in hand (or
rather, on disk) use the following steps to get your router back:
a computer to the routerís Console port using the Console cable that
came with your router (it is usually flat and light blue).
the router off using the power switch and turn it back on.
text starts popping up on the screen, send the break command CTRL + B or
CTRL +BREAK (sometimes it is CTRL +X). This will abort the boot and
present you with a rommon 1> prompt
the new prompt you need to change the configuration register using the
following command: confreg 0x2142
you are using an older model of router you may need to enter o/r 0x2142
Now you need to recycle the router with the reset command.
you used the o/r command then reset the router with the I command
the router finishes restarting you will find that there are no passwords
to deal with, so you can enter enabled mode carte blanche.
in enabled mode enter this: copy start
run. This will copy the startup config to the running config.
go into configuration mode with the config
there enter the new password with the enable
secret password command (i.e. enable secret Bob11).
set the configuration register back to normal with this command: confreg 0x2102
config mode and enter the command copy
run start to copy the new configuration to ram.
it is time to reload your router
the router is back up you need to configure all of your interfaces with
the no shutdown command or they will not work.
And that is all there is to it. Heaven forbid you ever
loose you passwords, but if you do I hope this helps get you back to normal
in short order.