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Password Recovery Procedure for Catalyst 4500X

David Chancusi


I have a Cisco Catalyst 4500X Switch that is currently on production. It's a WS-C4500X-16 switch. I don't have info about its IOS version or its current memory contents.

The Switch does not have configured neither Telnet nor SSH remote access. But I have physical access to the Switch and its Console Port, as shown in Figures 1 and 2:


Figure 1: Network DiagramFigure 1: Network Diagram

Figure 2: Console access attemptFigure 2: Console access attempt


The console access to the switch it's protected by password, but nobody knows it.

I need to regain access to the Switch, so I checked some documentation regarding the Password Recovery procedure for it.

All I have found is this document: that lists some basic steps to do a Recovery Procedure, as shown in Figure 3:


Figure 3: Steps for Password Recovery as Shown in documentationFigure 3: Steps for Password Recovery as Shown in documentation

But those steps are way too summarized to actually follow.


So I would like to ask some help regarding this:

- Could you please provide me with a more detailed set of steps required to make the Password Recovery procedure for this Switch? Where can I fin a better documentation.

- The Password Recovery procedure does not involve losing the current configuration of the Switch, right?

- What other advice / requirements can you suggest to me when doing this procedure?


Thanks in advance for any help you can provide to me. If you want more info about this, or have any questions, just let me know.

1 Accepted Solution

Accepted Solutions
6 Replies 6

Reza Sharifi
Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame

Thanks a lot for the Link. I have checked it, and seems to be the exact solution I was looking for.

Yes, the procedure is very much the same for most modular switches like the 4500, 6500, 6800, etc.. 4500x falls in the same category.

Good luck!



Hi Reza,

Dose it work ,if we have 4500-x series Switches with VSS , because i found another Article about it too.


Leo Laohoo
Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame

@David Chancusi wrote:

- The Password Recovery procedure does not involve losing the current configuration of the Switch, right?

Funny you should ask this question.

The answer to this "trick question" will depend entirely on two factors: 

  1. What IOS version is the switch running on? 
  2. Is "password recovery" feature enabled (by default) or has a "genius" disabled it.  

If the switch is running an old IOS, then doing a password recovery also means the configuration is intact.  

However, if the IOS is new-ish and someone has disabled password recovery then it means the configuration will be erased as soon as password recovery procedure is invoked.  

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