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How to: Load a compact flash via card reader

Level 1
Level 1

Good morning, CSC.

Is there a way to load a spare compact flash with a running-config, ASA IOS, & ASDM software via card reader? I need to load another flash card with all of the settings necessary for normal operation. This "spare" card will replace the flash that is currently in use. The reason for the replacement is capacity and because of changes made to the running-config. The "in-use" card is 256MB, the "spare" one is 512MB. Also, the new card will have a few changes made to the running-config, so it will, in essence, be a reload.

I have a card reader for the compact flash cards. If there is a way to load up this new card using the card reader, without monkeying with the firewall, I would prefer that. Like I said in the previous paragraph, this new flash card will replace the other one, once it's ready.

Hardware: ASA 5510

CF: 256MB (wanting to upgrade to the new 512MB card)

ASA IOS: 8.4

Thoughts, comments, and opinions welcome.

Thanks in advance!

Best regards,

Josh Dunbar

16 Replies 16

Collin Clark
VIP Alumni
VIP Alumni

I've done it a bunch of times. Copy the files from your current flash to your PC with TFTP/FTP. Then place the 512 card in the ASA and format it. Put the 512 in the card reader and copy the files that you TFTP'd to your PC to the 512 card. Once complete put the 512 card in the ASA and make sure you can read it (dir /all). Note that the configuration file is not stored on the flash card. You can copy the config to it then copy it into running config, save it and then it is in NVRAM where it is stored.

Hope it helps.

I don't suppose there's a way that I can do this without interrupting the firewall? I want to leave the firewall up until I am ready to swap flash cards. I could just format the flash card with diskpart in Windows, instead of the ASA formatting it, right? If it's FAT, FAT32, or NTFS, I can.

And for clarification, the running-config isn't stored on the compact flash? Where is it stored? The NVRAM?

Thanks Collin.

Best regards,

Josh Dunbar

Removing the flash card will not affect the ASA's operation. You can remove/replace the flash card while it is up and running. The only time the flash card is used is at boot (there are some exceptions). The running config is stored in NVRAM. You can try formatting the card with Windows (FAT), but make sure you can see the file in flash on the ASA as I'm not sure if the ASA has a specal format.

If the config onthe ASA is not changing, you can just replace the card with the directions above minus the step of copying the config since it will already be in NVRAM.


Please forgive the ignorance to follow...

1) When I went to install the 512MB card into the ASA, I found the CF port 256MB card there to be found. It must be onboard memory, I take it?

2) After installing the 512MB card, I logged into the ASDM to format it.Well, I didn't get far with this, either. It was never detected by the ASA. It still shows Disk0 as the only disk in File Management. Thus, no way to format the disk or begin migrating the configs. Note: The new 512MB card is Cisco-branded and brand new.

Thoughts? Recommendations?

Thanks Collin.

Josh Dunbar


1) Some models have onboard flash and some don't. Sounds like you do and that's a good thing.

2) I'm afraid I don't work with ASDM very often. Can you access the CLI and type dir /all and post the results? I know there is a CLI button in the ASDM menu somewhere, just not sure where.


Below is the dir /all output:

Result of the command: "dir /all"

Directory of disk0:/

101    -rwx  5511168      19:06:34 Dec 31 2002  asa707-k8.bin
6      drwx  8192         04:30:18 Oct 18 2007  crypto_archive
102    -rwx  6161700      04:32:52 Oct 18 2007  asdm-507.bin
104    -rwx  8386560      13:49:34 Dec 05 2007  asa723-k8.bin
105    -rwx  6287244      13:50:42 Dec 05 2007  asdm-523.bin
106    -rwx  13879296     09:38:20 Jul 01 2009  asa804-32-k8.bin
107    -rwx  11348300     09:44:20 Jul 01 2009  asdm-621.bin
3      drwx  8192         09:47:00 Jul 01 2009  log
108    drwx  8192         13:02:52 Dec 08 2009  syslog
109    -rwx  16459776     11:54:48 Mar 17 2010  asa822-k8.bin
12     drwx  8192         12:02:38 Mar 17 2010  coredumpinfo
110    -rwx  11862220     12:04:24 Mar 17 2010  asdm-625.bin
111    -rwx  24938496     14:04:20 Mar 06 2011  asa841-k8.bin
112    -rwx  11616        14:07:48 Mar 06 2011  8_2_2_0_startup_cfg.sav
113    -rwx  2103         14:07:52 Mar 06 2011  upgrade_startup_errors_201103061907.log
114    -rwx  15841428     21:50:38 Mar 06 2011  asdm-641.bin

255426560 bytes total (134135808 bytes free)

Can you try ' dir disk1:' and see if it is successful

Result of the command: "dir disk1:"

%Error opening disk1:/ (No such device)

Can you read the card in your card reader? What is the file format of it if you can.

Is this a Cisco part? Seems like an RMA issue to me.




Please see the attached screenshot.


Josh Dunbar


Any chance you can low level format and then try it in the ASA?


Did a low-level format. Same result as before. The ASA Flash LED lights up (on the ASA), then goes dark. In the ASDM, File Management still shows Disk0:. CLI dir /all still shows Disk0:.

Any chance this flash is defective or incompatible with my ASA? I purchased ASA5500-512MB-CF for my ASA 5510. It was the only flash available for our model, other than what we already have; 256MB.


Josh Dunbar

I guess it could be defective. I would think it would be OK if you can see it in Windows and copy files back and forth. Do you smartnet? I guess this is beyond my ability and TAC can help. If you go that route, please let us know the fix.

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