All Cisco routers have a 16-bit software register, which is written into NVRAM. By default, the configuration register is set to load the Cisco IOS from flash memory and to look for and load the startup-config file from NVRAM.
By changing the configuration register, you can perform cisco password recovery on a Cisco router.
If you are locked out of a router because you forgot the password, you can change the configuration register to help you recover. Bit 6 in the configuration register is used to tell the router whether or not to use the contents of NVRAM to load a router configuration. The default configuration register value for bit 6 is 0x2102 (the 0 is bit 6), which means that bit 6 is off. With the default setting, the router will look for and load a router configuration stored in NVRAM (startup-config). To recover a password, you need to turn on bit 6, which will tell the router to ignore the NVRAM contents. The configuration register value to turn on bit 6 is 0x2142.
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