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A router produces error messages followed by the %SYS-6-BOOT_MESSAGES: Messages above this line are from the boot loader informational message at bootup


Core Issue

The %SYS-6-BOOT_MESSAGES: message is not an error. It has a severity level of 6, which means it is an informational message. This message means that the boot loader image either does not recognize certain hardware, cannot process certain configuration commands, or has just displayed an informational type of message at bootup.

If the router continues booting after the message is displayed and all the hardware begins functioning properly, the messages above the %SYS-6-BOOT_MESSAGES: message can usually be regarded as informational. If the router has an upgradable boot loader, it may be possible to eliminate these messages.


If the informational message is displayed at bootup and the router has an upgrade option for the boot loader image, upgrade the boot loader by performing these steps:

  1. Determine the current Cisco IOS  Software version and boot loader version on the router by issuing the show version command. 

    If the boot loader version is not displayed in the show version command output, view the files in bootflash by issuing the dir bootflash: command. 

    This is a sample command output from a Cisco 7200 series router: 

    router#show version
    Cisco Internetwork Operating System Software
    IOS (tm) 7200 Software (C7200-JS-M), Version 12.1(9)E3, EARLY
    TAC Support:
    Copyright (c) 1986-2002 by Cisco Systems, Inc.
    Compiled Mon 11-Feb-02 23:57 by eaarmas
    Image text-base: 0x60008950, data-base: 0x614F2000

    ROM: System Bootstrap, Version 11.1(5) [mkamson 5], RELEASE SOFTWARE
    BOOTLDR: 7200 Software (C7200-BOOT-M), Version 12.0(21), RELEASE
    SOFTWARE (fc1)

    DRDFAS02 uptime is 1 day, 8 hours, 50 minutes
    System returned to ROM by reload at 08:28:15 UTC Sun Apr 14 2002
    System restarted at 08:30:04 UTC Sun Apr 14 2002
    System image file is "slot0:c7200-js-mz.121-9.E3.bin"

    Cisco 7204 (NPE150) processor (revision B) with 57344K/8192K bytes of
    Processor board ID 3653078
    R4700 CPU at 150Mhz, Implementation 33, Rev 1.0, 512KB L2 Cache
    4 slot midplane, Version 1.0

    Last reset from power-on
    Bridging software.
    X.25 software, Version 3.0.0.
    SuperLAT software (copyright 1990 by Meridian Technology Corp).
    TN3270 Emulation software.
    2 FastEthernet/IEEE 802.3 interface(s)
    8 Serial network interface(s)
    1 HSSI network interface(s)
    125K bytes of non-volatile configuration memory.
    1024K bytes of packet SRAM memory.

    20480K bytes of Flash PCMCIA card at slot 0 (Sector size 128K).
    8192K bytes of Flash PCMCIA card at slot 1 (Sector size 128K).
    4096K bytes of Flash internal SIMM (Sector size 256K).
    Configuration register is 0x2102
  2. Determine if a boot loader image matching the Cisco IOS Software version running on the router is available. For available images, refer to Cisco Downloads.      

    If a boot image with the exact version is not available, try to get an image in the same software train. In the previous example, it would be the 12.1E train because the Cisco IOS Software version is 12.1(9)E3. 

    If a boot image in the same Cisco IOS Software train is not available, upgrading to the latest version which supports all hardware in the router may eliminate most bootup messages. To determine the hardware and software requirements, refer to the Find software compatible with my hardware section of Software Advisor

    For instructions on upgrading the boot image, refer to the Upgrading the Boot Helper Image section of Preparing for Installation.

  3. If the upgraded boot image is in a different software train from the main Cisco IOS Software image, it is likely that a message such as this will be displayed at bootup: 

    %SYS-4-CONFIG_NEWER: Configuration from version 12.1 may not be correctly understood

    %SYS-6-BOOT_MESSAGES: Messages above this line are from the boot loader


    This message is purely informational and is a consequence of having a non-synchronized boot image and a Cisco IOS Software image. For example, if the boot image is a 12.0 version and the full Cisco IOS Software image version is 12.1, the 12.0 boot image may not understand all of the configuration stored in NVRAM that was saved under version 12.1. This does not matter because the boot image is not designed to work with the full configuration. Rather, it is primarily for disaster recovery. This does not hinder the router's performance while running the full Cisco IOS Software version. 

    It is possible to eliminate this message by designating the full Cisco IOS Software version as the boot loader instead of the boot image. To do this, issue the boot bootldr file-url global configuration command. This is useful in cases where a boot image is not available with the same version as the full Cisco IOS Software version or if the bootflash does not have enough space available for the desired boot image.

    For example, if the full Cisco IOS Software filename is c7200-i-mz.121-9.E3.bin and the file is in slot0, this would be the command: 

    router(config)#boot bootldr slot0:c7200-i-mz.121-9.E3.bin
    !-- Press Control-Z to exit global configuration mode.
    router#write memory
    After this command is issued, the router loads the file designated in the boot bootldr command as the boot loader, then loads the full Cisco IOS Software version. This eliminates the message at bootup.     

    The boot image does not have to be located on the bootflash if the boot bootldr command is issued.

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