If you need to restore over a blank Cisco switch with a config backup taken using TFTP. I hear you can do this using copy and paste from the output given from show running-configuration on the live switch but that requires console access in order not to get cut off half way through the restore. On the old switches that console access requires a serial to RJ45 console cable, which some people don't have (or their PC has no serial ports).

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    If you're going to answer your own question (which is permitted), post the question and answer separately. Please don't post the answer in the question itself. – ceejayoz Jul 10 '17 at 15:33

This is aimed at the novice Cisco admin (like me) who needs to restore a working config to a blank / reset cisco switch in a hurry.

You will need:

  1. PC/laptop
  2. Ethernet Cable
  3. Putty or other telnet client installed on your PC/Laptop
  4. TFTPd64 or 32 set up on your PC/Laptop


  1. You have a factory reset / blank switch (same as your production one)
  2. You have a working switch config backup file created using tftp (and the copy running-config tftp command)

NB if you haven’t got the backup yet (assuming your live switch is still operable go to ** further down)


  • Power on the blank switch, wait 5 minutes
  • Set your PC/Laptop NIC to DHCP
  • Plug in your PC NIC via an ethernet cable to the blank switch (any port on the front)
  • Hold down the Mode button on left of the switch until lights flash
  • Wait 2 minutes or so
  • Check your PC's ip address it should eventually pick up
  • Ping the blank switch on if you get a response the switch can see your PC

***Copy the config file (named here "config") you wish to restore into the base folder of the tftpd32 program on your PC. Ensuring that any Windows firewall is OFF.

  • Launch Putty and point it at using Telnet
  • The prompt should show "switch#"
  • Type the command copy tftp:// startup-config (You might need to type "configure" first and then enter to follow the prompt)
  • Wait a good few minutes. Your Putty/Telnet session might go down. Wait some more.
  • After about 10 minutes power cycle the switch
  • When it comes back up it should be as the production switch
  • Try logging in as you would on the live switch to check the config

** If you need to create the live config copy before you can restore just set up the tftp server somewhere on your production network, (accepting the install defaults for tftpd32/64 - as long as your machine’s firewall is set to OFF and the “Server Interfaces” drop-down shows your machine’s IP address it should be working). Once that server is running, telnet to your live switch and type the command copy running-config tftp then follow the prompts to point to your newly set up tftp server. I simply call the file “config”. Then go to *** and proceed as per the next instructions


This process has worked for me after a few hours of Googling and resetting the switch a few times. Apologies if it is inaccurate or you found yours to be different. This is as much a note-to-self as it might be to a similar Cisco novice who may need to do this seemingly "basic" task in a hurry one Friday night!!

Improvements / corrections welcome but please keep it constructive.

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