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Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee


This document provides an understanding of what Turboboot is and how to bring up a system running IOS-XR from scratch

There are two ways to upgrade the system:

  • One is to install add and activate the new XR software version. At a minimum this would require that mini.pie file
  • The second way is by performing a turboboot, fresh install, by booting the mini.vm file from rommon

This executable mini.vm file needs to be transferred via TFTP (on the RSP2) or can be loaded from the external USB port or TFTP (on the RSP440 and CRS-PRP). On the 9001 the USB ability is added in rommon 2.03 (5.1.1 release version).

No other media or protocols are possible to be used for a turboboot other then the ones specified above. Ex FTP is not allowed

File System overview

XR devices have multiple medias for storage and they all have their individual purpose.

disk0:Embedded USBSSD (SATA)  
disk0a:Embedded USBSSD (SATA)  
disk1:Embedded USBSSD (SATA)  
disk1a:Embedded USBSSD (SATA)  
harddisk:Harddisk (SAS)Embedded USB  
harddiska:Harddisk (SAS)Embedded USB  
harddiskb:Harddisk (SAS)Embedded USB  
compactflash:Compactflash1External USB1  
lcdisk0:  Embedded USBEmbedded USB
lcdisk0a:  Embedded USBEmbedded USB
bootflash:NOR Flash NOR FlashNOR Flash
configflash:NOR Flash   
Kernel dumpHarddisk (SAS)SSD (SATA)TFTPbootflash:
 1. Removable   
Access (Mount) Points (in /dev)
disk0:disk00t77hd0t77qsm to active rspqsm to active rsp
disk0a:disk00t78hd0t78qsm to active rspqsm to active rsp
disk1:disk10t77hd1t77qsm to active rspqsm to active rsp
disk1a:disk10t78hd1t78qsm to active rspqsm to active rsp
harddisk:hd0t79usb00t77qsm to active rspqsm to active rsp
harddiska:hd0t77usb00t78qsm to active rspqsm to active rsp
lcdisk0:  lcdisk00t77lcdisk00t77
lcdisk0a:  lcdisk00t78lcdisk00t78
bootflash:fs0p1 fs0p1fs0p1
Kernel dumphd0t80hd0t80 or hd1t802 fs0p2
 1. Any one2. Either one  
disk0:IOS-XR Packages, ConfigsIOS-XR Packages, Configs  
disk1:IOS-XR Packages (if Mirrored)IOS-XR Packages (if Mirrored)  
harddisk:Crash files, logsCrash files, logs  
harddiska:NP logs, crash filesNP logs, crash files  
compactflash:File CopyFile Copy  
lcdisk0:  Kernel dump filesKernel dump files
bootflash:MBI Images   
Kernel dumpRaw kernel dumpsRaw kernel dumps Raw kernel dumps
lcdisk0:  QNX4QNX4
lcdisk0a:  QNX4QNX4
bootflash:FFSv3 FFSv3FFSv3
Kernel dumpRawRawFileRaw
 1. FAT F/S only2. Flash Media only  
Approximate Parition Size (minimum)
lcdisk0:  1.6GB1.6GB
lcdisk0a:  0.4GB0.4GB
bootflash:44MB 56MB56MB
Kernel dump21GB500MB x 2 24MB

Note that unlike many IOS devices, nvram is NOT used for the configuration storage. Configurations are stored in a database on the boot disk (often disk0). Typically only rommon variables and license info are stored in nvram.

Summary steps for using turboboot

Because a  turboboot can erase configuration, SSH keys, and other items such as  licenses the following should be done to check and backup any files

1. Run a cfs check in admin & non-admin mode

2. Copy active licenses and SNMP files to tftp server

3. Copy running config to a tftp-server or laptop

4. Capture "show ipv4 int brief" output to a text file

5. Capture "show ipv6 int brief | i Up/Up" output to a text file

6.  Offline. Edit the saved RSP config - add "no shutdown" for all physical  interfaces that are up/up from the above IPv4 & IPv6 interface  captures and save cfg changes. Note that it is not necessary to “no  shut” sub-interfaces, only the main physical interface.

7. Connect a laptop console cable to the RSP in RSP0 slot and enable a log file to monitor and capture the RSP bootup logs.

8 . Turn the power supplies on to power up the asr9k system. (approx. 7-12 minutes)

9.  After the LED's indicate IOS-XR on the LC's, and ACTV or STBY on the  RSP’s, log in via the console of the RSP that is ACTV and run some  preliminary checks to check system stability.

NOTE: The default root-system username and password on the RSP440 are root/root

(if root/root does not work also try cisco/cisco, or admin/admin or viking/viking)


10. Verify the ASR9K IOS XR version

11. Run a cfs check in admin & non-admin mode

12. (Optional) Install add & commit any missing SW packages (pies) or required SMU’s

13. Upgrade FPD in admin mode

14. Reload any nodes that had FPD upgrades

15.  Configure the Mgmt ethernet interface with an IP address to reach tftp  server & load and commit the saved RSP config from tftp server or  laptop

a) or log into the console and cut & paste a saved cfg from laptop

b) or copy saved cfg from laptop to usb, then insert usb into RSP440 and copy and commit cfg

c) copy licenses and snmp files back to the RSP’s

16. (Optional) create and generate new crypto keys if required.

Steps to Turboboot


As mentioned Turbobooting means that you load the "VM" (virtual machine) XR base OS image.

Turboboot is started from Rommon and is essentially the same as putting a disk with the desired OS in your laptop, reboot the machine to boot from CDROM, and installing the base OS.

Before the Turboboot process starts, you can instruct the system to wipe all files from the system and start clean or install the image to be turbobooted along side with any existing releases currently found on the disk. (see Set the Turboboot variables on the RSP)

Turbobooting may be required if you want to sweep clean your system, or we also had some issues in XR4.2.0 with the RSP2 whereby the upgrade pie could not be loaded. A turboboot was required in that case also.

Some or all of these procedures below are needed.

The command "set" gives you an overview of all the rommon environment variables currently set to their values.

Clear the ROM Monitor environmental variables on all RSPs

unset BOOT

the command *unset* clears the variable value from rommon.

the command *sync *saves or writes the newly set and unset variables to persistent memory so they are saved cross reloads and power cycles.

Clear disk mirroring variables


By default, the two internal USB partitions (disk0 and disk1) are mirrored to each other, if you break the mirror, turboboot will only affect the disk

that you are turbobooting target to and not the other one (nice if you want to fall back).

Disable the CPU watchdog

diswd <- Disable the CPU watchdog

If you omit this step and the TFTP download for the turboboot mini-vm image takes longer than 30 minutes due to network delays etc, then the RSP might reset and you'll have to start over. Disabling this watchdog makes sure the system is not going to reload during the transfer of the image in rommon.

Define the network and IP settings on the mgmt interface


Set TFTP environment variables


sets the number of retries to contact the tftp server


sets the TFTP timeout for the transfer, you may need to set this larger to prevent abort during xfer if there are network delays


whether checksum on the transfer is needed, this is adviceable in case the image gets corrupted during transfer.


the server address can also be specified in the boot statement, or fixed in the rommon variable.


which of the 2 mgmt interfaces you want to use, either 0 or 1 with 0 being the default.


Setting a larger TFTP block size is recommended to pack larger packets and transfer the VM image quicker. Note that for CRS this variable is TFTP_BLOCK_SIZE.

Set the Turboboot variable on the RSP

TURBOBOOT=on, {boot-device},[format | clean],[nodisablebreak]

on tells us to install add and install activate the packages when we boot from the VM image.

boot-device is which device we want to use to install the OS, typically disk0

format tells us to replace the OS completely except for the admin configuration

clean tells us to replace the OS completely, but other files such as the admin or exec configuration are saved

nodisablebreak allows us to terminate the turboboot via a break signal. The default is to ignore breaks



This will instruct the system to do a turboboot with disk0 as the selected boot device and to use the format option. The format key is optional.

Currently today we only support targeted install to disk0 but this will change likely in XR4.3.1 whereby you can use disk1 as install target.

NOTE: a recent tac case showed that the command for turboboot failed on the ASR9001.

Supposedly this was made to work by omitting the colon after disk0:

Suggesting to try the disk0 (without colon) if the command with colon fails.


ASR9K/CRS-PRP Additional Information


In CRS the format option works with FAT16 but not FAT32 or QNX4 so a new variable must also be used.

In ASR9K the format and clean options do work but in order to erase the exec configuration, admin configuration, and every other file this additional variable must be used.


For these scenarios the following must be set.




Note: If the format or clean options are set in turboboot or confreg 0x2142 is set when also having the MEDIA_FORMAT variable set then when prompted for a new username/password we will be unable to write this to the disk. To fix this go back to rommon and properly set the variables.


Boot the remote mini.vm file

(Works only with the VM image, not the TAR file or mini.pie)

rommon> boot tftp://server/directory/filename

During the boot process the image is copied first on to the memory(RAM) and is installed from memory(RAM). Once it is insalled from memory, it will copy the image back on to disk0: and reload the device. Wait till you get the message "SYSTEM CONFIGURATION COMPLETED"

Output of show install active when in memory,

RP/0/RSP0/CPU0:ios#sh install active
Active Packages:

Output of show install active after image copied on to disk0:,

RP/0/RSP0/CPU0:ios#sh install active
Active Packages:

The system will also self unset the TURBOBOOT rommon variable.

Restore disk mirroring

To restore disk mirroring, use the mirror command in the global configuration mode. For more information on the mirror command, see the "Boot Commands on Cisco IOS XR Software" module in Cisco ASR 9000 Series Aggregation Services Router System Management Command Reference.

How to boot from the external USB port

The RSP-440 (and 9001 with rommon 2.03) can boot from the USB front panel port. Instead of using "boot tftp:// or boot disk0:/" you need to use a different command, mediaboot.

The command is:

rommon> mediaboot usb:\release_mini.vm

In later revisions of the rommon, the mediaboot has been superseded to boot usb:/<file>

so make sure you try them both.



Some newer rommon versions on the 9001 want to use the boot usb:/ directive. (see Q&A/comment section below this article).

It is also seen in rommon versions post 2.04 that the usb is referred to as disk1 in which case you can use: boot disk1:/...

To find out the mapping of the usb disk use the rommon "dev" command to see all filesystem devices.


On the CRS-PRP use boot disk2:hfr-mini-px.vm<image>

CRS does not use the mediaboot command.

How to update the FPD's

FPD upgrade for all ASR9K devices using FPD.

a) Enter admin mode via the admin command, and capture the output of the current firmware versions using CLI show hw-module fpd location all. save this output to a text file. Notice any LC that has a “yes” in the Upg/Dng?  column. This indicates the FPD should be upgraded or downgraded to match the current FPD version.

b) From admin mode upgrade FPD using the CLI: upgrade hw-module fpd location r/s/m

or if all locations require FPD upgrade (suggested) use CLI:* upgrade hw-module fpd location all *

Disk Space occupied for each image

Simplest way is to use the ksh df utility.

Install a release and packages and run df:

# df /disk0:

/dev/disk00t77           3813344    733477   3079867      20%  /dev/disk0:/   

Divide the highlighted number by 2000. That gives the approximate size in MB. 366MB in this case.

Repeat for any other releases we should be interested in.

If you do an upgrade, gather the df output before and after upgrade and compute the difference in df output.

Related Information

Xander Thuijs, CCIE #6775

Principal Engineer ASR9000

Sam Milstead,

Customer Support Engineer TAC XR

Bradley Marshall

Turboboot timeline (4.3.4 SP5 to 5.3.3):

3:03am - Router fully isolated, “admin config-register boot-mode rom-monitor location all” then “admin reload location all” executed

3:06am – From ROMMON set turboboot, then “boot harddisk:\asr9k-mini-px.vm-5.3.3”

3:27am - Complete - All Cards are up and ready for next step in the upgrade (admin show platform)

3:28am – “install add tar harddisk:ASR9K-iosxr-px-K9-5.3.3.tar synchronous”

3:34am - Complete

3:35am – “install activate id 1 synchronous”

3:51am - Complete

3:52am – “admin upgrade hw-module fpd all location all”

4:06am - Complete

4:07am – “admin reload location all”

4:15am - Complete - All Cards are up and ready to restore ASR9K chassis traffic (admin show plat)

4:16am - Load saved config and start to bring ASR9K back on the network


Cleanup: After all OSS alarms verified/cleaned and all services back up, reinserted RSP1 (back-out RSP) and upgraded required FPD firmware (CBC, FPGA1, FPGA2, ROMMON).

Eddie Chami
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee


Nicely written, i can see your passion, very methodical. The only reason we don't recommend turboboot is it requires console access or someone onsite and it takes a lot longer then a normal upgrade and it more involved. The same procedure with CSM(automates the upgrade), would take about 15-20 mins and chassis downtime of about 10 mins. 




Is it possible to format all disks on both RSPs from ROMMON? Just to wipe out all data (OS, SMUs, config, etc.) on removed RSPs after a router upgrade?




May be you can tell how it is supposed to install and activate this CSCux24553 SMU, if I don't have an "services-infra" package installed? It is simply not possible due to prereq dependencies. Or this power sequencer failures are expected only if I have a "services-infra" package installed and activated?



Eddie Chami
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Yes thats possible you need to turboboot with formate option "TURBOBOOT=on,disk0,format"


Eddie Chami
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Power Seq has nothing to do with Service-infra.pie. 

The dependency on service-infra.pie came in because a SMU was built at some point in the past and it crossed package boundaries, one of those was Service-infra.pie, it made it now a prerequisite to be installed.

Make life easy for you, go with Service Packs.




I don't want to make a turboboot afterwards, just format all disks to give those RSPs away (to trade-in, for example). I don't need any software on them.


You mean if CSCux24553 is included in service pack it will not ask for Service-infra.pie during SP activation?



Eddie Chami
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

no easy way to do that.. But you can clear the commit db, clear the config (commit replace) with an empty config. Since your running from disk0: you can't really formate it unless you get into rommon like i mentioned. 

Eddie Chami
Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Thats correct. With Service Packs, any of the optional pies are truly optional, the fix will get applied to activate packages only.. SP's reduce the SMU dependency management.. great way to go. 


My five cents...

This is exactly how we were doing our upgrades a year ago. The method works.

Mind you there is another way, without the need for pulling out the stdby RSP.

Before turboboot enter this command:

(admin)#config-register boot-mode rom-monitor location all

After this both RSPs go into rommon. RSP0 is where you do the turboboot. RSP1 stays in rommon. After you finish upgrading RSP0, connect the console cable to RSP1 and hit >boot.

Wait for it to sync with new SW and that's it.

Bradley Marshall


Thanks for the reply and the info about keeping the STBY RSP in ROMMON for safe keeping. There is a security for me with removing the RSP in any event where it could possibly sync before I know I do not want to rollback. If i have to turboboot rollback we are talking about almost 2 hours and 15 minutes of rollback if the 2nd RSP is compromised. If I can just re-seat that second RSP, 15 minutes rollback.

What you shared above is great and will work. Maybe I am too much of a nervous person to rely on it to not wipe my rollback RSP and throw a potential rollback outside of the maintenance window!


Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

Actually there is a ROMMON variable that lets you format disks during the boot process, but you can only do one at a time.


  • device := disk0:, disk0a:, harddisk:, etc
  • fs_type := fat16, fat32, qnx4, etc
  • partition_op := partition, unpartition, none



And then on bootup you will see something like this:

Format requested 'disk0:' 'QNX4'
Path=0 - Intel PCH AHCI
 target=0 lun=0     Direct-Access(0) -          STEC MACH8 SSD   Rev: 0698
 target=1 lun=0     Direct-Access(0) -          STEC MACH8 SSD   Rev: 0698
Media storage device /disk0: was formatted due to request.

This is the same variable that is set if you issue a format disk0: from XR as the RSP has to be reset in order to format the active OS disk.




Hello Cisco Community,

I have an issue with an A9K-RSP-8G not booting.

 Below is what I am experiencing attached is a full log. Please let me know your input. Thanks in Advance, Much appreciated. 


Cisco IOS XR Software for the Cisco XR ASR9K, Version 4.0.11

Copyright (c) 2011 by Cisco Systems, Inc.

RP/0/0/CPU0:Jan  1 00:00:10 : redfs_svr[88]: %OS-REDFS-6-MIRROR_ENABLED : Mirroring has been enabled with configured devices of disk0: and disk1:.

Longbeach:main: Invalid slot type/id: 2/0


This (D)RP Node is not ready or active for login /configuration


This (D)RP Node is not ready or active for login /configuration

mdio_sup_send_msg: could not connect to /dev/mdio/sup/msg


This (D)RP Node is not ready or active for login /configuration

Writing crashinfo

Cisco Employee
Cisco Employee

the device can't enable the ethernet server, this is the low level driver for the eOBC connections that talks on this "private ethernet bus" between RP's and LC's.

this failing can be a sw issue, as there are some known issues in XR 40 in that region. you have a 4011 image that is not ar ecommended release and also end of life for some time. I would want to recommend to turboboot 513 and see if the problem is resolved like that.

if not and same issue exists, the ether switch may be busted for the eobc and may need a replacement of the RSP.



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