switch basics: loading up a wiped cat 2950

Holy crap 9600 baud is slow! I’m doing something different in loading a wiped switch, and I thought I would use an xmodem transfer. Go me! Since this is taking so long, I may as well post some switch basics as I go. (To note, my earliest speeds on the Internet were 14.4kbps modems back in high school.) I’ll also go ahead and put on some background music, the excellent Dubnobasswithmyheadman album from Underworld (a favorite!).

I have a completely wiped Cisco Catalyst 2950T switch. Even the flash has been erased (an eraser of love). If you boot it up, it gives an error and stops pretty quickly. A quick “dir flash:” will show nothing. I also have an ios version ready and waiting: c2950-i6k2l2q4-mz.121-22.EA8a.bin. For my console system I have an old Dell Latitude laptop (yeah, it’s one sexy-small laptop!) running a permanent install of BackTrack2.

To get the c2950-i6k2l2q4-mz.121-22.EA8a.bin file to BackTrack2, I decided to also test my tftp server and use tftp to transfer the file. My tftp server is at

tftp -c get c2950-i6k2l2q4-mz.121-22.EA8a.bin

Gosh, that’s easy. Now I need to connect up to the switch by plugging in necessary cables, including the power so that it powers on and loads. I decide to use CuteCom in BackTrack2 as my graphical terminal emulator. I change the baud rate to 9600 and click Open device. I type a few commands to get ready for my transfer.

switch: flash_init
Initializing Flash…
…The flash is already initialized.
switch: load_helper
switch: copy xmodem: flash:c2950-i6k2l2q4-mz.121-22.EA8a.bin
Begin the Xmodem-1k transfer now…

At this point the terminal is waiting for some data. CuteCom has a Send File button at the bottom where I can select the file and start transferring at the blistering 9600 speed! In fact, after writing this, I’m still only up to 15% completed. Ahh the joys of a wiped device that doesn’t even know what an IP address is yet.

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