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How to Reset a Cisco Router to Factory Defaults January 13, 2011

Posted by General Zod in Networking, Tech.

So I get a call from a blast from the past… Annabelle, or Anna for short.  Anna is an old comrade from my days as a “road technician”.  Everyone who meets Anna never forgets her, because she’s a very fit female who’s personality is similar to that of a piece of pink bubblegum.  (This means that she’s fun and sweet, but if you get too daring with her, she could explode all over you.)

Anyway, Anna is now working for some manufacturing company over in MD.  She’s a good egg, but she tends to be a strictly paint-by-number kind of technician.  What I mean is that if it’s not obvious and right in front of her face, then she gets frustrated and immediately asks someone to help her.  I don’t say that to be cruel… it’s just her way, and she admits to it.

So her company had acquired some second-hand Cisco routers, and shipped them to a new site that they’re soon to be opening.  She had been instructed her to wipe them back to their factory defaults in preparation for the arrival of a network consultant next week.  Why the network guy couldn’t do this job when he arrives still escapes me.

Always willing to lend a hand, I emailed Anna a link to the instructions from Cisco’s website.  What I didn’t think about was that there are 2 different methods listed on this page.  About 10 minutes later, I get another call from Anna asking me which to use.  It’s her first time doing such a task, so she’s a bit apprehensive.  (No problem… the first time I blew away a router, I was a little nervous as well.)

In case you’re curious, we used Method #1.

Now luckily, Anna did have the login passwords for the routers, so we didn’t have to go through all that bother.  Once she got the machine powered on and consoled in via HyperTerminal, I talked her through it as follows…

  1. After you login to the router, go to enable mode by typing ENABLE and entering the appropriate password.
  2. Type CONFIG TERM to enter global configuration mode.
  3. Now you want to instruct the router to bypass it’s stored startup configuration during it’s next reboot.  This is done by typing
  4. Type END
  5. Now erase the current startup configuration on the router by typing WRITE ERASE
  6. Now we need to reboot the router.  Type RELOAD, and answer NO when prompted to save the modified configuration.
  7. The router will reboot itself, and display all it’s business like text.  Upon completion, you will be rewarded by a message that should read something similar to:

    — System Configuration Dialog —
    Would you like to enter the initial configuration dialog? [yes/no]:
    Congratulations.  Your router is now back to it’s original factory defaults.

  8. If you are not a network administrator, then just do what I told Anna to do… and turn the router off cold now.


1. balu - June 24, 2011

Thankx for posting on how to reset a router to factory defaults…and once again thankx for posting..

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