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User receives the %Warning: File not a valid executable for this system error message while attempting an IOS Software upgrade through TFTP

Core issue

This issue may be caused by a problem with the TFTP server program or the image may actually be wrong for the router.


If this error message is displayed while attempting a Cisco IOS® Software upgrade through TFTP, verify that the image being copied is correct for the hardware.

Perform these steps:

  1. To make sure that the right image for the hardware has been downloaded, refer to the Find software compatible with my hardware section of Software Advisor

    as well as the Download Software.
  2. If the error message is still displayed after verifying the image for the hardware, perform these steps:

    1. If you are using the Cisco TFTP server version 1.1, go to View > Options > Menu and uncheck the Show file transfer progress and Enable logging checkboxes.
    2. Try the TFTP transfer again. If the message still appears, try another TFTP server program or answer n when prompted to abort the copy, as shown in this example:

      %Warning: File not a valid executable for this system
      Abort Copy? [confirm]n

Note: This should cause no problem as long as the image is actually the correct image for the hardware.