Cisco PIX 500 Series Security Appliances

Password Recovery and AAA Configuration Recovery Procedure for the PIX

Document ID: 8529

Updated: Jul 09, 2007



This document describes how to recover a PIX password for PIX software releases through 7.0. Note that performing password recovery on the PIX erases only the password, not the configuration. If there are Telnet or console aaa authentication commands in versions 6.2 and later, the system also prompts to remove them.

Note: If you have configured AAA on the PIX and the AAA server is down, you can access the PIX by entering the Telnet password initially, and then pix as the username and the enable password (enable password password) for the password. If there is no enable password in the PIX configuration, enter pix for the username and press ENTER. If the enable and Telnet passwords are set but not known, continue with the password recovery process.

The PIX Password Lockout Utility is based on the PIX software release you run. Use show version in order to know the software version running on your PIX/ASA Security appliance.

Note: Refer to Performing Password Recovery for the ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance for ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance Password Recovery.



There are no specific requirements for this document.

Components Used

The information in this document requires these hardware devices:

  • A PC

  • A working serial terminal or terminal emulator

  • Approximately 10 minutes of PIX and network downtime

Note: You must have approximately 10 minutes of PIX and network downtime to perform this procedure.

You need the PIX Password Lockout Utility to use the password recovery procedure, which includes these files:

  • The appropriate binary file, depending on the PIX software version you run:

    • np70.bin (7.x and 8.0 release)

    • np63.bin (6.3 release)

    • np62.bin (6.2 release)

    • np61.bin (6.1 release)

    • np60.bin (6.0 release)

    • np53.bin (5.3 release)

    • np52.bin (5.2 release)

      Note: You need to determine what .bin file to use, which depends upon the PIX code that your PIX currently runs irrespective of the BIOS version.

  • TFTP Server Software (needed only for PIX machines without a floppy drive) — TFTP server software is no longer available from, but you can find many TFTP servers by searching for "tftp server" on your favorite Internet search engine. Cisco does not specifically recommend any particular TFTP implementation.


Refer to the Cisco Technical Tips Conventions for more information on document conventions.

Step-by-Step Procedure

Complete these steps to recover your password:

Note:  Sample output from the password recovery procedure is available in this document.

  1. Install a serial terminal or a PC with terminal emulation software on the PIX console port.

  2. Verify that you have a connection with the PIX, and that characters are going from the terminal to the PIX, and from the PIX to the terminal.

    Note: Because you are locked out, you only see a password prompt.

  3. Immediately after you power on the PIX Firewall and the startup messages appear, send a BREAK character or press the ESC key. The monitor> prompt is displayed. If needed, type ? (question mark) to list the available commands.

  4. Use the interface command to specify which interface the ping traffic should use. For floppiless PIXes with only two interfaces, the monitor command defaults to the inside interface.

  5. Use the address command to specify the IP address of the PIX Firewall's interface.

  6. Use the server command to specify the IP address of the remote TFTP server containing the PIX password recovery file.

  7. Use the file command to specify the filename of the PIX password recovery file. For example, the 5.1 release uses a file named np51.bin.

  8. If needed, enter the gateway command to specify the IP address of a router gateway through which the server is accessible.

  9. If needed, use the ping command to verify accessibility. If this command fails, fix access to the server before continuing.

  10. Use the tftp command to start the download.

  11. As the password recovery file loads, this message is displayed:

    Do you wish to erase the passwords? [yn] y 
    Passwords have been erased. 

    Note: If there are Telnet or console aaa authentication commands in version 6.2, the system also prompts to remove these.

  12. The default Telnet password after this process is "cisco." There is no default enable password. Go into configuration mode and issue the passwd your_password command to change your Telnet password and the enable password your_enable_password command to create an enable password, and then save your configuration.

Sample Output

This example of PIX password recovery with the TFTP server on the outside interface is taken from a lab environment.

Network Diagram


monitor>interface 0
0: i8255X @ PCI(bus:0 dev:13 irq:10)
1: i8255X @ PCI(bus:0 dev:14 irq:7 )
Using 0: i82559 @ PCI(bus:0 dev:13 irq:10), MAC: 0050.54ff.82b9
monitor>file np52.bin
file np52.bin
Sending 5, 100-byte 0xf8d3 ICMP Echoes to, timeout is 4 seconds:
Success rate is 100 percent (5/5)
tftp np52.bin@ via
Received 73728 bytes
Cisco Secure PIX Firewall password tool (3.0) #0: Tue Aug 22 23:22:19 PDT 2000
Flash=i28F640J5 @ 0x300
BIOS Flash=AT29C257 @ 0xd8000
Do you wish to erase the passwords? [yn] y
Passwords have been erased.

Download Software

If you would like to upgrade the PIX software after the password recovery, refer to the Software Center (registered customers only) in order to download the PIX software. You must log in and possess a valid service contract in order to access the PIX software.

Refer to Upgrading Software for the Cisco Secure PIX Firewall and PIX Device Manager in order to learn more about the software upgrade for PIX 6.x.

Refer to PIX/ASA 7.x: Upgrade a Software Image using ASDM Configuration Example in order to learn more about the software upgrade for PIX/ASA 7.x.

Related Information

Updated: Jul 09, 2007
Document ID: 8529