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The Top 7 Problems that People Think Are Hardware, But Are Not
Cisco TAC has put together a list of router issues that are commonly perceived to be due to a hardware failure, but can normally be fixed more quickly without replacing anything. While some of these may in fact be due to hardware failures, it doesn't usually make sense to start with that assumption. Save yourself some time by checking more common causes first.
#4 A module or interface card is unrecognized. If the IOS version is too new, or the hardware is otherwise unsupported by the software, modules may not be seen. This is almost always a mismatch between the software required and the hardware installed.
In additional, failure to save the configuration after a change is also fairly common.
#6 Errors reported in show interface output. Most errors are either normal, but unusual conditions (drops, e.g.) or due to an external cause like incorrect clocking, noise, or even a marginal cable. Rule those out first.
#7 Wrong version loaded, or failure to completely boot. Again, the config-register can easily cause unexpected behavior. Check the config-register and boot system commands, and beware of relying on the system to boot the first image in flash.