Locked out of Cisco Router – Password reset doesn’t work

1070 pts.
Cisco Routers
Network security
do work for a local non-profit group. Apparently some prior network admin left under unhappy circumstances and did something to the cisco router(s) there. We had no password access, so I went through the password recovery/reset procedure. Everything seemed to be fine except for two little details: 1) The password change had no noticeable effect 2) Even in changed startup mode, I cannot see the system configuration, although oddly enough, I CAN see the proper IP addresses ("sh ip int b" works fine). Since this is a non-profit, they don't have a support contract, and can't really afford the $800 for a one-time support call. Can anyone suggest how to recover from this so that we can get full control of the router back?

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Howdy all,

Problem solved – although I still don’t understand some of the underlying behavior…

On the suggestion of a former colleage, once the system was brought up online, I copied the configuration by TFTP to my workstation, and THERE IT WAS FULLY VISIBLE.

Once I could see the whole config, I also noted that there was no telnet (VTY) access, so I added that in.

For some reason, once telnet access was configured, the entire configuration started showing up on the console connection itself. Go figure!!

Set the enable secret password – which essentially overrides the enable password.

I can only guess that the previous admin knew of a bug in that version of the IOS which would effectively “hide” any of the configuration past the first screenful.

I just went back and noted that there is no “screen x” command (for length of page) configured – so that appears to have no bearing on things.


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  • Xvalentinex
    Hello bobkberg, Password recovery depends on your device. Could you post the device? What password recovery technique used? and what the configuration register value is ('show version' command)? Thanks
    35 pointsBadges:
  • ITKE
    Thanks for sharing the solution
    1,157,180 pointsBadges:
  • CosmoC
    Interesting. Thanks for the followup. :-)
    280 pointsBadges:
  • 0044
    Learn how to perform a CISCO router password change, here: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/hardware/articles/92933.aspx
    10 pointsBadges:

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