Cisco Router IOS Upgrade Procedure Simplified!

In preparation of your CCNA exam, we want to make sure we cover the various concepts that we could see on your Cisco CCNA exam. So to assist you, below we will discuss the CCNA skill of upgrading the IOS on your Cisco Router. As you progress through your CCNA exam studies, I am sure with repetition you will find this topic becomes easier. Please make sure you understand the syntax for this as you will see it on your Cisco CCNA certification exam!

Ok, one of the most common question we get is how do I upgrade the IOS on my Cisco router? I can refer you to the documentation on Cisco’s site on how to do this, but it seems as though for the new CCNA student that this just does not give you all the information you need to successfully upgrade your IOS. I completely understand this as their instructions are written for someone who is already familiar with Cisco routers and switches and who is probably already a Cisco CCNA. Now I might also suggest to you that it is not imperative that you upgrade the IOS on your Cisco router as soon as you get it. You see, the commands that reside in version 11.x are 95% the same as in 12.x.

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The Cisco CCNA exam really focuses on the core commands that have been there for years. So again, there is no need for an immediate upgrade day one when you get your Cisco router from 11.x to 12.x IOS. Take your time and become comfortable with the router and the commands. Otherwise you may mess up the upgrade and sit there cursing at the router as you try to figure out how to get IOS back on the router that you deleted by mistake. But don’t worry; you will be able to recover if you deleted the IOS by mistake too. It is just a little different of a process. Now when you feel you are pretty comfortable with the IOS commands, then perform the Cisco router IOS upgrade. After all, you will need to be able to complete such as exercise to pass the Cisco CCNA exam.

Now in this article, I am going to make an assumption that you have our study CD which has some of these files on it. If you don’t have our CD, you can purchase it or search the web for stuff like the SolarWinds TFTP server. Ok, here we go!

Here are the steps to start….

1) On the CD, follow the link to install the trial version of the SolarWinds TFTP server. You can access this by inserting the CD in your computer, auto-running the CD and you should see the CiscoKits splash screen. On the splash screen you should see a link for “Handy Programs”. Click that link and then follow the link for the install of the SolarWinds TFTP Server.

2) After you install the TFTP server, you will copy the 2500 IOS file that you want to upgrade the router with to the c:tftproot folder if you followed the default install directories for the TFTP server. This file is a .bin(binary) file so you will not be able to open. Many people will tell us that there is a problem with the file as they can’t open it. You are not supposed to be able to open and launch it as it is not an .exe file.

3) Launch the TFTP server.

4) Once in the TFTP server application, go under File, click Configure and click the Start services button. Click Ok. You should see in the bottom of the TFTP server application box that it says service status is “Started” and you should see the IP address(ex. of the TFTP server to the left of that along with the c:tftproot folder as the default folder to the left of that(again, that is where the TFTP server will look for the .bin IOS file). If you do not see all that, you have missed a step somewhere so please go back and verify your steps.

5) This step could go a few different ways. 5a will be the steps if you already have a good version of IOS on the router. 5b will be if you accidentally deleted the IOS from the router. Now in my example here I am going to assume you have some sort of switch or hub that you have the Cisco router and your PC connected into. I will also assume you are using an internal IP address scheme of 192.168.1.x. The address for the router will be and the IP address of the TFTP server will be If you are not using that IP schema, then you will need to modify these instructions accordingly to fit your IP schema.

5a) Boot the unit normally. You should be brought to a normal user mode. In step 7, we will get you into privileged mode.

5b) Boot the unit and if you have no IOS on the flash, it will boot using the boot image from ROM. You will know this as your prompt will look like this:

6) Put a transceiver on the AUI port. Hook an Ethernet patch cable to the transceiver and the other end to the hub or switch your computer is connected to.

7) The next set of commands we are doing to setup an IP address on the Cisco router. We have to have an IP address assigned to the Ethernet interface or we will not be able to communicate via IP with the TFTP server. Do the following commands:
Config t
Int E0
Ip address
No shut
Copy tftp flash

8) It will ask you the name of the remote host.
Address or name of remote host []?
Put the IP address of your TFTP server.

9) Next it will as you the Source file name.
Source filename []? c2500-is-l.123.24.bin
It is the name of the IOS file you copied over to the c:tftproot folder.

10) Next it will as you the Destination file name.
Destination filename [c2500-is-l.123.24.bin]?y
Hit y for yes to use the current file name.
It may ask you to confirm. Enter y for yes.

11) It will then ask you if you want to erase the current flash file system.
Enter y for yes. It may ask you to confirm a second time, if it does, enter y for yes again.
Erase flash: before copying? [confirm]y

12) Next is should start the flash erase as seen below and you will see the file copy process as noted by the exclamation points.
Erasing device…
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeee …erased
Erase of flash: complete
Loading c2500-is-l.123.24.bin from (via Ethernet0):

13) If you start to see a bunch of periods, then that means you have some sort of connectivity issue. Here are the things I suggest you look at:
A) Is the link light on the hub or switch for both the PC connection and the Cisco router connection?
B) From a command prompt on the PC, can you ping the IP address of the PC?
C) From a command prompt on the PC, can you ping the IP address of the Cisco router?
D) From hyperterminal on the router, can you ping the IP address of the Cisco router?
E) From hyperterminal on the router, can you ping the IP address of the PC?
F) Is the service still started on the TFTP server and is the IP address still
These things should start to give you an idea of where the problem may be.

We hope you found this Cisco certification article helpful. We pride ourselves on not only providing top notch Cisco CCNA exam information, but also providing you with the real world Cisco CCNA skills to advance in your networking career.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]