catalyst 6500 bootflash

Answered Question
Apr 20th, 2007

I am having some trouble understanding the difference between the sup-bootflash and the bootflash on the 6500. on which does the ios image reside. I do a dir and I do not see the filename that is in the 'show version' command

Correct Answer by mohammedmahmoud about 9 years 10 months ago

Hi Yolanda,

I can see that you are finding your way through :) You can use the "clear config all", to reset the switch to the factory default setting.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

Correct Answer by mohammedmahmoud about 9 years 10 months ago


I am really glade that everything is going great :)

use the "show version" command to check your memory.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

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Overall Rating: 0 (13 ratings)
mohammedmahmoud Sat, 04/21/2007 - 02:16

Hi there,

For the 6500, the sup-bootflash is the Supervisor Engine bootflash, while the bootflash is the MSFC bootflash.

The answer to your question depends on whether you are operating in Hybrid or Native mode, check this link out:

In the hybrid mode, two separate image files are managed by the two different operating systems. The CatOS images are stored on the Supervisor bootflash or flash cards (PCMCIA for Supervisor 1A and Supervisor 2, and Compact Flash for both the Supervisor Engine 32 and Supervisor Engine 720). The Cisco IOS image for the MSFC is stored on the MSFC bootflash.

As for the Native mode Cisco IOS Software requires the single image be present on a device local to the Supervisor because it is a bundled image for two processors and the SP boots first. The image can reside either on the Supervisor bootflash (sup-bootflash:) or the flash card (slot0: or disk0:); it cannot reside on the MSFC bootflash.

HTH, please rate if it does,

Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Sun, 04/22/2007 - 06:17

So if I do a dir sup-bootflash: can you tell me the latest image that should be there or the one I should download and if I do a dir bootflash: what should be there. Thanks you have explained allot to me.

mohammedmahmoud Sun, 04/22/2007 - 06:29

Hi there,

I am glade that you have benefited from my replies, Yes it should be something like this:

cat6509> (enable) dir

-#- -length- -----date/time------ name

1 7885481 Mar 07 2005 13:32:31 cat6000-sup720k9.8-3-7.bin

3156 bytes available (15987628 bytes used)

Did you think about migrating to Native mode?

HTH, please rate if it does help,

Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Sun, 04/22/2007 - 15:34

No I will probably stay in hybrid. Although native seems simplier. I am still having some trouble understanding. I guess that is the problem when you switch to a more sophisticated piece of equipment. I miss my 4506. Anyway so I would have to upgrade two different files. One in sup-bootflash and one in bootflash?

mohammedmahmoud Sun, 04/22/2007 - 23:43


I am glade that you are becoming an expert now :) Yes if you've decided to upgrade you'll have to upgrade both files Supervisor CatOS (sup-bootflash) and the MSFC IOS (bootflash) (its not obligatory to upgrade both together, for example you can keep the MSFC IOS while upgrade only the Supervisor CatOS), Why do you want to upgrade in first place ?

i hope that i was helpful, please rate if it does,

Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Mon, 04/23/2007 - 03:05

I have a new supervisor cat(OS). the latest adventerprisek9 image. I had been trying to tftp that to the sup-bootflash but was having problems deleting the file that was already in there. Reason I was deleting the old one in there was that I did not have enough room. I was even having problems trying to delete that file so I only got as far as copying the adventerprisek9 file to disk0 and called it a day. any ideas.

mohammedmahmoud Mon, 04/23/2007 - 03:10

Hi there,

You can configure a boot command that point to the image on disk0:

set boot system flash disk0:

HTH, please rate the post if it does help,

Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Mon, 04/23/2007 - 03:15

I plan on keeping the image there on disk0 for safety reasons but I would like to get it copied into sup-bootflash also. doesn't the switch look there first when it boots up to see if there is a valid image. I am just having problems deleting what is in sup-bootflash now. I have tried the recursive command. any ideas. if i haven't already said so I appreciate the help.

mohammedmahmoud Mon, 04/23/2007 - 03:28


There is no problem at all when booting the switch from the disk0, the switch checks the boot command first, and it is recommended to put a second boot command for safety pointing to the other image on the sup-bootflash (by the way the Supervisor names it just bootflash). So it goes either way.

P.S: What is meant by "please rate if it helps" is to give me rating from the drop list on the right (from 1 to 5) for each helpful post :)


Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Mon, 04/23/2007 - 04:22

I will rate you the highest possible. You have been a great help.

I have copied the new adnenterprise image to disk0: and am booting off it now. thanks. I am putting dfc3b's on my copper cards and fiber cards. there is a memory dimm on there that I have to upgrade to 512. do you know the command to actually check the amount of memory on these cards. i want to make sure the new upgraded memory is showing up.

Correct Answer
mohammedmahmoud Mon, 04/23/2007 - 04:30


I am really glade that everything is going great :)

use the "show version" command to check your memory.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Mon, 04/23/2007 - 07:35

but will that show me the memory of the sodimm chip I replaced on my copper line card?

newbie Mon, 04/23/2007 - 09:07

I did some research and I can use remote command module 8 show mem summary. This will give me the total memory of the DFC-3B. I put in the ratings for all your help. I am sure I will have more question in the future.

mohammedmahmoud Mon, 04/23/2007 - 10:33

Hi Yolanda,

I am really glade that it worked out with, it was great exchanging knowledge with a smart person like, and you are welcomed any time for further inquires.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Tue, 04/24/2007 - 08:06

hello again,

What do you think would be the quickest way to reload an image on sup-bootflash. the one that was on got deleted so now the swich is coming up in rommon mode. i have the image on a 512 compact flash card and could could set my boot statement to boot off of that but how do I get to that point.

mohammedmahmoud Tue, 04/24/2007 - 11:20

Hi there,

I hope you are fine, and you are always welcomed, insert the disk in slot0 and then in the rommon try something like this:

"boot disk0:c6sup22-ps-mz.121-27b.E.bin"


"boot slot0:c6sup22-ps-mz.121-27b.E.bin"

Which shall load the image and then you'll need to configure the boot command again when the image loads and save the configuration.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Tue, 04/24/2007 - 11:55

I will give it a try. I have another bad sup720-3B with a different problem. I have no history on this sup. Not sure if the enable password was lost or what. Upon bootup the message comes up:changing console ownership to route processor. It then sits for about 10 minutes and then goes to rommon>1. Any thoughts on this one.

mohammedmahmoud Tue, 04/24/2007 - 12:05

Hi Yolanda,

This message means that it is Native IOS based not Hybrid(CatOS):

The boot sequence is different on the Catalyst 6500/6000 that runs Cisco IOS System Software than the Cisco 7200 Series Router because the hardware is different. After you power-cycle the box, the switch processor (SP) boots up first. After a short amount of time (approximately 25 to 60 seconds) it transfers console ownership to the route processor (RP (MSFC)).

It seems that the image is corrupted, try putting an image on a flash card and try loading it as we said before, if you need to break its password use this link:


Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Mon, 04/30/2007 - 05:25

Hi Friend,

Quick question. I am currently running adverterprisek9...sfx6 on my 6509. A collegue has SFX7 on his with a small 18mg package(pkg) along with it. Do know the difference between the 2 and what the package contains.

newbie Sat, 04/21/2007 - 10:37

It is a brand new 6500 sup-700 right out of the box. ghow can I tell if I am in native or hybrid. Is there a command.

ankbhasi Sat, 04/21/2007 - 10:45

Hi Friend,

Bydefault it comes with CATOS which is hybrid mode till the time you specifically order for Native IOS.

Can you paste the output of sh version and confirm if you see something like this "s72033" if yes your switch is running in Native IOS.



rseiler Fri, 04/27/2007 - 08:24

By default, a Catalyst 6500 SUP720, SUP720-3B, and SUP720-3BXL ship with Native IOS version 12.2(18)SXF2 or higher. This has been true for years (since 12.2(17d)SXB5). I am not aware of any SUP720 that EVER shipped with hybrid code on them.

An easier way to explain the Supervisor 2 or Supervisor 720 architecture is that there is an SP (switch processor) and an RP (route processor) on these Supervisor engines that both run IOS software. The SP is the device that boots (the main motherboard on the module) which then passes control to the RP (and switches the console port) which takes over and is actually the component that you interact with after the supervisor engine has fully booted. To send commands to the SP, simply execute the following command from the RP exec prompt: 'remote command switch ', for example 'remote command switch show version'. You can also 'switch console' to get the console on the SP for troubleshooting.

The SP is the component that used to run CatOS and had to use an external router for MLS routing (Catalyst 5000 days). In today's supervisor engines the RP actually pre-populates ASICs on the PFC (policy feature card on the supervisor engine) or DFCs (distributed feature cards on the linecards) to handle most packet forwarding functions in hardware on the PFC3B/DFC3B.

On a Sup720 with at least a PFC3B (SUP720-3B) this includes ACLs, route lookup, packet rewrite, QoS rewrite, policing, NAT, VRF, most MPLS functions, etc.

Regarding the flash storage on the SP, all new SUP720's ship with a CF-ADAPTER that actually replaces the sup-bootflash (64MB) with a sup-bootdisk (512MB), so you would want to boot from sup-bootdisk, not sup-bootflash or disk0: Also note that except for a Sup2, you don't want ANY files on the RP bootflash because it could delay the startup of the switch or force the switch to dump to rommon.

Keep in mind that there is also a rommon flash partition on both the RP and SP that needs to be kept up to date, several fixes for redundancy (SSO) have been fixed in ROMMON as recently as Sep 2006.

newbie Fri, 04/27/2007 - 09:11

I am looking for a command that shows me that the rommon has been upgraded to say 8.4(2). Some kind of show command. I have tried remote command switch show version|include rom but this doesn't work. Also, when the rommon gets upgraded does the upgrade go in F1 or the gold region. as a side note is there a command that tells if you are in native or hybrid mode?

mohammedmahmoud Fri, 04/27/2007 - 10:46


A "remote command switch show version | include ROM" should tell you the current rommon version, do the | include ROM (upper case letters).

The Gold region is one-time programmable (OTP) EPROM section (can't be written on it) of the ROMMON, accordingly your new rommon will go the F1 region.

To make sure if you are working with CatOS Hybrid or Native IOS, check the naming convention of the image.

NOTE: If you are using the "remote command" command then its a Native IOS, since it is not available with CatOS.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Sat, 04/28/2007 - 03:44

I did notice with this new IOS(adventerprisek9) that I see no bootstatements when I do a show run. I guess I am used to seeing those. Is there someplace to see the sequence of the booting.

mohammedmahmoud Sat, 04/28/2007 - 08:03

Hi Yolanda,

If there is no boot statement the switch will take the first IOS in the flash and try to load the switch with.

Here you are the basic booting steps of Cisco devices:

1. System POST (Power-On Self Test)

2. Bootstrap code is loaded from ROM

3. The rommon configuration register (conf-reg) value is read

4. The startup-config is checked for boot system attributes. If they exist they are executed.

5. If no boot system variables exist or they fail, the router falls back first to the local flash/disk storage and loads the first IOS image it discovers (if multiple IOS images exist). If no local IOS image exists, the router will attempt a local broadcast TFTP boot. If the TFTP boot fails, the router will load the ROM based IOS, if the system supports it. Otherwise the router will return to rommon, and an X-modem or TFTP boot can be specified.

6. After IOS has been loaded, the router will load the startup-config into RAM called running-config. If additional configuration commands are defined by boot system attributes, they will be loaded as well. If no startup-config exists on the NVRAM, the router initializes the "initial setup" script.

HTH, please rate if it does help,

Mohammed Mahmoud.

mohammedmahmoud Sat, 04/21/2007 - 11:12

Hi there,

We can say from a show version, or simply from how the prompt looks, in the case of Hybrid mode, the supervisor prompt shall be a CatOS prompt something like "6509 (enable)" or in the case of Native IOS its an ordinary IOS prompt something like "6509#".

HTH, please rate if it does,

Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Thu, 04/26/2007 - 07:26

Hi again,

Just wanted to get your opinion on the best way to delete a config. I want to be able to delete all the config that a person put in. will an erase start delete everything and get me back to int intial request to being configuring. it there someplace also to look to delete everything and start from new.

newbie Fri, 04/27/2007 - 07:25

Thanks once again. I am currently working on upgrading the sup-bootflash (SP) from 256mg to 512mg. I will have to upgrade the rommon. Would you happen to know if I should move the new version to the gold region with the preferred command or leave it in F1. Does it matter.

mohammedmahmoud Fri, 04/27/2007 - 07:50

Hi Yolanda,

There are three regions (including the Gold region) where versions of the ROMMON image can be stored. You can use the rommon prefer and rommon invalidate commands to switch between regions.

The ROMMON software upgrade feature allows you to have two upgraded ROMMON images (one in region F1, the second in region F2) in addition to the "Gold" ROMMON stored on the one-time programmable (OTP) EPROM section of the ROMMON. Use the rommon preference command to select which ROMMON will be the preferred ROMMON the next time that the system is booted. You can change the preference as often as you like. The changes do not take effect until you reset the system.

So the new one should be in F1 or F2 and you should select which to use, and the Gold one is always there.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

newbie Fri, 04/27/2007 - 08:00

But does it matter which region the upgrade is in. Will things be fine if it is in say F1? If the next day on a whim I move it to the Gold region will that affect anything.

mohammedmahmoud Fri, 04/27/2007 - 08:04


You can never move it to the Gold region as this is one-time programmable (OTP) EPROM section of the ROMMON.

You can always use the rommon prefer to switch between regions.

You can also disqualify a specific region of ROMMON and use the other region or go back to using the "Gold" ROMMON stored in the OTP EPROM section by using the rommon invalidate command.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

jstigall Sat, 05/12/2007 - 02:56

I upgraded the ROMMON on my sup720 IOS box and now I can't log in from the console, and password recovery, setting the confreg to 0x2142 doesn't bypass the config. Also, the interfaces appear to be up, but this (test) 6509 is not reachable or pingable. I upgraded the SP to the latest, V 8.5.1, to be able to run the sup-bootflash adapter.

mohammedmahmoud Sat, 05/12/2007 - 04:15


I can't get you correct, how is it that you can't log, and on the other hand you've tried changing the confreg and see the interface status.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

jstigall Sun, 05/13/2007 - 06:39

Right, the enable password doesn't work, the management interface is up but not reachable. Confreg 0x2142 fails to bring the router up without the configuration.

jstigall Sun, 05/13/2007 - 07:26

I think I'm booting up the system as CATOS instead of IOS. How do I move it back to the Gold region from ROMMON?

rommon 11 >

rommon 11 > set

PS1=rommon ! >





RET_2_RTS=13:56:43 Indiana Fri May 11 2007







rommon 12 > reset

System Bootstrap, Version 8.5(1)

Copyright (c) 1994-2006 by cisco Systems, Inc.

Cat6k-Sup720/SP processor with 1048576 Kbytes of main memory

Autoboot executing command: "boot disk0:"

string is disk0:s72033-ipservicesk9_wan-mz.122-18.SXF8.bin

Loading image, please wait ...

jstigall Sun, 05/13/2007 - 07:38

Never mind about CATOs, I guess I still need to know how to switch to GOLD region from ROMMON prompt.

mohammedmahmoud Sun, 05/13/2007 - 09:23


The image that is most recently stored into the Flash memory is always labeled as the "preferred" image. If you decide that you do not want this upgrade image, you can switch to the other region or the Gold region using the "rommon prefer" or "rommon invalidate" commands.

HTH, please do rate all helpful replies,

Mohammed Mahmoud.

jstigall Sun, 05/13/2007 - 10:35

'rommon prefer' is an IOS command, not in bootrom mode? If I can't get logged in, I can't change to prefer the other, and I can't bypass the config either to get logged in. I have a TAC ticket open on this, so if you don't have any other ideas, we can let this go.

mohammedmahmoud Sun, 05/13/2007 - 10:50


Exciting case, did you try setting the config-reg in this way, and may be also going to boot helper image:

rommon 2

rommon 3 priv

rommon 5 confreg

Configuration Summary

(Virtual Configuration Register: 0x0)

enabled are:

[ 0 ] break/abort has effect

[ 1 ] console baud: 9600

boot: the RM Monitor

do you wish to change the configuration? y/n [n]: y

enable "diagnostic mode"? y/n [n]:

enable "use net in IP bcast address"? y/n [n]:

enable "load rom after netboot fails"? y/n [n]:

enable "use all zero broadcast"? y/n [n]:

disable "break/abort has effect"? y/n [n]:

enable "ignore system config info"? y/n [n]:y

change console baud rate? y/n [n]:

change the boot characteristics? y/n [n]: y

enter to boot:

0 = RM Monitor

1 = the boot helper image

2-15 = boot system

[0]: 2

Configuration Summary

(Virtual Configuration Register: 0x2)

enabled are:

[ 0 ] break/abort has effect

[ 1 ] console baud: 9600

boot: image specified by the boot system commands or default to:

do you wish to change the configuration? y/n [n]:y

You must reset or power cycle for new config to take effect

rommon 6 reset

Please keep us updated with your case, and good luck :)


Mohammed Mahmoud.

jstigall Sun, 05/13/2007 - 17:12

I went to 'priv' mode in rommon, invalidated F1 region, did confreg and turned on enable 'ignore system config info', but the system still boots up with a configuration. The rommon is now loading from the Gold region.


rseiler Mon, 05/14/2007 - 18:04

You upgraded the route processor (RP or MSFC3x) bootrom as well?

The commands would have been (from a working IOS switch and a Sup720 in slot 5):

upgrade rom-monitor slot 5 sp file tftp:////c6ksup720-rm2.8-5-1.srec

upgrade rom-monitor slot 5 rp file tftp:////c6msfc3-rm2.srec.122-17r.SX5

Also, the config is stored in NVRAM on the RP (route processor), *NOT* the SP (switch processor) which is the device that boots first.

Therefore, you need to *BREAK* the boot sequence *AFTER* the boot control is passed to the RP. You then would change the config register on the RP to bypass the config which would allow you to change the enable password.

I don't believe your issue has anything to do with the ROMMON version.

See the following URLs:

Password Recovery Procedure for Catalyst 6500/6000 Series Switches Running Cisco IOS System Software

For completeness, if you are running IOS software earlier than 12.2(17)SX:

Password Recovery Procedure for the Catalyst 6500 with Supervisor 720 Running Cisco IOS Software Prior to 12.2(17)SX

Let me know if this helps you...

mohammedmahmoud Mon, 05/14/2007 - 23:18


I totally agree with Richard, you have to recover the RP not the sub, and the links provided by him are nice and should do it for you.


Mohammed Mahmoud.

jstigall Tue, 05/15/2007 - 04:09

Yippee! It's back to where it was when I started. I reset the passwords and no shut the interfaces, and it's all good. I didn't know about sending break to the RP. I swear in the past I have been able to password recover using break to the SP.


We decided that even with a significant discount we are not going to buy the flash card adapter that goes in the internal flash DIMM slot. Instead we are buying SanDisk 512M CF cards for $13.

Thanks for the help.

-John Stigall


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