You may find that sometimes an unused Cisco network switch that you would like to deploy but it is not accessible anymore due to it have been out of contact from the domain for quite an amount of time or you just can’t remember the password. In this article I would like to show how to reset Cisco 2960x network switch.

By the way, this guide also works on Cisco 2960s network switches too. Well enough with the introductions, let’s begin.

Reset Cisco 2960x network switch: Serial connection setup

To follow this guide, you would need to have a terminal emulator installed in your computer so that you can see what is loading during your switch reset process. Usually I just use PuTTY. It is free and an open sourced program.

Launch PuTTY and make sure that the settings are the same as below:

Serial line: COM1
Speed: 9600
Connection type: Serial
PuTTY serial connection

If you are having trouble to connect to your network switch, check your computer’s COM settings. The location as below:

1. Right click on 'This PC'.
2. Click on 'Manage'.
3. Select 'Device Manager'.
4. Drop down on the 'Ports (COM & LPT)'.
5. Right click on 'Communications Port' and select 'Properties'.
6. Open the 'Port Settings' tab.

If your COM port name is different from COM1, then type the correct name in PuTTY. If the port settings are different then update as below at the COM port options:

Bits per second: 9600
Data bits: 8
Parity: None
Stop bits: 1
Flow control: None
COM port settings

Now we are done setting up the environment, let’s get to meat of this guide.

Reset Cisco 2960x network switch: Resetting the device

To reset Cisco 2960x network switch, firstly, please connect an RJ45 to RS232 serial console cable to the console port on your switch and to the serial port of your computer. Usually desktops comes with a serial port at the back.

If you are using a laptop, you need to have an RS232 to USB converter or get an RJ45 to USB console cable to enable communication between these two devices. Some laptops do come with a 9 pin serial port but I haven’t seen those for quite awhile now.

Power off your Cisco 2960x switch by pulling out the power cable. Locate the ‘Mode‘ button above the console port and then press it continuously.

Mode button on Cisco 2960x networking switch

Next, plug in the power cable to power up your switch without letting go of the ‘Mode‘ button. Wait until the Cisco 2960x switch loads until the following lines before letting go of the button.

CPU rev: B
Image passed digital signature verification
Board rev: 5
Testing DataBus...
Testing AddressBus...
Testing Memory from 0x00000000 to 0x1fffffff.../
Using driver version 4 for media type 1
Xmodem file system is available.
Base ethernet MAC Address: 38:20:56:1d:f6:80
The password-recovery mechanism is enabled.
USB Console INIT

You will then see the following text below, type in ‘flash_init‘ at prompt:

The system has been interrupted prior to initializing the
flash filesystem.  The following commands will initialize
the flash filesystem, and finish loading the operating
system software:


switch: flash_init

This will initialize the flash and you will have to wait until it is done its task.

Initializing Flash...
mifs[5]: 10 files, 1 directories
mifs[5]: Total bytes     :    1806336
mifs[5]: Bytes used      :     690688
mifs[5]: Bytes available :    1115648
mifs[5]: mifs fsck took 1 seconds.
mifs[6]: 2 files, 1 directories
mifs[6]: Total bytes     :    3870720
mifs[6]: Bytes used      :    1213440
mifs[6]: Bytes available :    2657280
mifs[6]: mifs fsck took 1 seconds.
mifs[7]: 5 files, 1 directories
mifs[7]: Total bytes     :     258048
mifs[7]: Bytes used      :       8192
mifs[7]: Bytes available :     249856
mifs[7]: mifs fsck took 0 seconds.
mifs[8]: 5 files, 1 directories
mifs[8]: Total bytes     :     258048
mifs[8]: Bytes used      :       8192
mifs[8]: Bytes available :     249856
mifs[8]: mifs fsck took 0 seconds.
 -- MORE --
mifs[9]: 652 files, 20 directories
mifs[9]: Total bytes     :  122185728
mifs[9]: Bytes used      :   27135488
mifs[9]: Bytes available :   95050240
mifs[9]: mifs fsck took 34 seconds.
...done Initializing Flash.

From here on in your journey to reset Cisco 2960x network switch, you can command the switch to delete the current config and vlan file. Removing these two files will reset your switch and you will have access again. Do note that this task is irreversible once you’ve proceeded to delete them.

Delete the config file first using the following command in bold text:

switch: del flash:config.text
Are you sure you want to delete "flash:config.text" (y/n)?y
File "flash:config.text" deleted

Then delete the vlan file using the following command in bold text:

switch: del flash:vlan.dat
Are you sure you want to delete "flash:vlan.dat" (y/n)?y
File "flash:vlan.dat" deleted

Lastly reboot your Cisco 2960x switch for reconfiguration to take place:

switch: boot 
Cisco 2960x booting up

If everything went smoothly in your task to reset Cisco 2960x network switch, now you should have an unconfigured switch on your hands to play around with.

Conclusion: Reset Cisco 2960x network switch

The task to reset Cisco 2960x network switch is fairly easy and it should only take you around 15 minutes to complete and most of that is just waiting time.

Do be careful though as when you delete the related flash files, you will not be able to recover it again. Just make sure that the network switch really is okay to be fully reset. You don’t want to get your ass whacked over this.

Good luck!

Read more: Learn how to transfer files using Robocopy

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