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User receives the %Error: System flash: error messages regarding Flash, displayed after user upgrades Flash on a Cisco 2500 series router and due to the boot ROM version being incompatible with the new Flash device

Core Issue

After upgrading Flash on a Cisco 2500 series router, the router may display error messages similar to this at bootup:

%Error: System flash bank 0 chip 1 unknown, chip id 0xFFFF (reversed =0xFFFF)

%Error: System flash bank 0 chip 2 unknown, chip id 0x9307 (reversed =0xC9E0)

%Error: System flash initialization failed

This message is shown in the show version command output, as shown:

8192K bytes of System flash (Device not programmable)

This issue may be due to the boot ROM version not supporting the new Flash device.


To resolve this issue, perform these steps:

  1. To determine the boot ROM version installed on the router, issue the show version command, as shown:
    Router(boot)show version
    Cisco Internetwork Operating System Software IOS (tm) 3000 Bootstrap Software (IGS-RXBOOT), Version 10.2(8a),
    Copyright (c) 1986-1995 by cisco Systems, Inc.
    Compiled Tue 24-Oct-95 15:46 by mkamson
    Image text-base: 0x01020000, data-base: 0x00001000
    ROM: System Bootstrap, Version 5.2(8a), RELEASE SOFTWARE
    Router uptime is 1 minute
    System restarted by power-on
    Running default software
    cisco 2500 (68030) processor (revision D) with 4092K/2048K bytes of memory.
    Processor board serial number 03216501 with hardware revision 00000000
    X.25 software, Version 2.0, NET2, BFE and GOSIP compliant.
    2 Ethernet/IEEE 802.3 interfaces.
    2 Serial network interfaces.
    32K bytes of non-volatile configuration memory.
    8192K bytes of System flash (Device not programmable)
    Configuration register is 0x2102
  2. Refer to this line:
    ROM:System Bootstrap, Version 5.2(8a), RELEASE SOFTWARE

    Although the actual boot ROM version is 10.2(8a), it is referred to as 5.2(8a) in this command output.

    To get the true version number, add five to the first number in this line.

  3. If the boot ROM version is lower than 11.0(10c)XB2, a boot ROM upgrade may be required for the router to work with the new Flash device.

    For boot ROM upgrade instructions, refer to Replacing the Boot ROMs in the Cisco 2500 Series and AccessPro PC Card Routers.

  4. If the errors still appear after upgrading the boot ROMs, the Flash device may be defective.

Booting Problems

Boots in boot mode with Router(boot)> prompt

When Problem Occurs

After hardware installation or replacement

Error Messages and Warnings

%Error: System flash bank [dec] chip [dec] unknown

%Error: System flash initialization failed