I need to access the configuration of a Nortel 8310. Previous administrator left without leave passwords....and the IT manager wasn't aware of this...

I found that I can access the switch via Telnet with rwa default account.

What is the command to modify RW and RO passwords?

I can't figure out from documentation, it appears that if I issue

switch# config cli password ro test

I need to provide the old password before i can set a new one... what is the correct method to regain access to the switch? I cannot reset nor reboot because, guess what? , no backup and yes, it's a core switch...

Can i create a totally new rw user, say roberto, with

 switch# config cli password rw roberto 


Thank you in advance

  • I would suggest contacting Avaya (who owns the ERS technology now.) As far as I know, the only way to regain control is to erase it and start over. Or get the password(s) from the previous admin.
    – Ricky
    May 22, 2014 at 16:36
  • Thank you all, we managed to recover RWA access, so basically we can access the switch with that account. Are the #config cli password rw commands correct?
    – RobertoP
    May 23, 2014 at 9:07
  • Did any answer help you? if so, you should accept the answer so that the question doesn't keep popping up forever, looking for an answer. Alternatively, you could provide and accept your own answer.
    – Ron Maupin
    Aug 8, 2017 at 18:15

2 Answers 2


If you don't have any password for rw and ro User, there is no other chance than to reboot, get into boot monitor via an Enter when it is asked for, and reformat the flash (dos-format /flash/ I think, may depend on the SW version)

Be aware that there can be other users also, l1, l2, l3, ....

The only user with privilege to change any user's password is rwa!

bset regards SImon


Unfortunately, the only way to reset the password is to reboot the switch. You will have to schedule some downtime to do that. With the default account, you should be able to reconstruct the majority of the configuration, so that if you lose it during reboot, you can out it back in, or at least have a running head start. But as @rickybeam suggests, locating the former admin might be your best bet.

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