I think I may have fat fingered the username/password when setting up my Catalyst 3850. I found password recovery instructions. However when I type the command "SWITCH_DISABLE_PASSWORD_RECOVERY=0" I get an error saying that it's read only. Can someone assist in the password recovery, or even just factory reset?

edit: there is a little pinhole reset button on the back. Will that take it back to out of the box settings?

  • 2
    Does this answer your question? Switch 3550 password default password
    – Zac67
    Jul 20, 2021 at 19:05
  • 1
    This may also help: how-can-i-reset-console-username-cisco-3850
    – Ron Trunk
    Jul 20, 2021 at 19:19
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    @Zac67 The 3850 is somewhat different than the older cat switches. The process to boot without the startup config is different.
    – Ricky
    Jul 21, 2021 at 5:28
  • Did any answer help you? if so, you should accept the answer so that the question does not keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could post and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Dec 23, 2021 at 20:16

1 Answer 1


SWITCH_DISABLE_PASSWORD_RECOVERY cannot be changed from ROMMON -- rather defeats the purpose. If password recovery is disabled, you won't get to the CLI without erasing the configuration. If you're there, just follow the rest of Cisco's documented procedure... disable the startup config (SWITCH_IGNORE_STARTUP_CFG=1) and boot without any config.

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