Resetting your Cisco 7940/7960's Password
We are 'SIP' Oriented
Most of the folks who access these pages use their Cisco phones for accessing a SIP server (and so do
we). In fact, the only experience we have with the other Cisco protocols is how to replace them with
SIP firmware so our phones will work in our environment. If you're not in the 'SIP Club', you're
welcome to read along but we can't guarantee this page will help you much. - Sorry.
Many times folks will buy, trade, or otherwise obtain Cisco 7940/7960 phones that have been
'locked' (changed to something other than 'cisco') and they don't know the phone's password (sound
familiar?). You most likely need to 'unlock' the phone to get into the "Network Configuration" to
change stuff like TFTP address, etc.
A Factory Reset - Will NOT reset the phone's pasword. Oh it'll reset a lot of
stuff allright, but changing the phone's password must be done by loading a configuration
file into the phone from a TFTP server.
Just for Grins
Before continuing, give this a try just for grins:
On your phone, press 'Settings'. Now scroll to the bottom and look for the item 'Unlock
Config'. If you don't see this that means A) you have a very early firmware
version (unlikely) -or- B) you have a version of firmware that won't allow you to 'unlock' it
(most likely). - Oh well, we tried.
If you don't see Unlock Config, try pressing **#
(asterisk - asterisk - pound). - This is how we we 'unlock' the 7905/7912 phones.
If you do see 'Unlock Config', you'll have to enter the phone's password. - The
default password from the factory is: cisco - give this a try.
Did either above work? Congrats! - No? Thought so (or else you would'nt be reading this page,
right?). Please continue.
My first 'cop-out'
I only know how to reset a phone's password if the phone has the SIP
firmware installed. - This is done by setting a parameter in a confiuration file and letting the
phone download that file when it boots. - Bottom line.
Even if your phone doesn't have 'SIP' you'll probably want to change it anyway. - We'll talk
about how we do this as we wade through this mess.
How the Phone Boots Up
Let's take a minute to make sure we're all on the same page & talk a little on what happens when the
phone boots up. - Of course I'm probably leaving something out but this is my "best guess" and it works
for me anyway.
Assuming the phone has an ethernet cable plugged in and is connected to a LAN, the power cord is
- Phone starts & sets up it's network parameters.
- Phone contacts designated TFTP server & requests configuration files & updates it's flash
memory based on these file contents.
- Phone sets parameters based on config files.
- Phone comes on line (with whatever confiuration is contained in flash memory).
That should be simple enough. But what if ........ ? - Yeah, I know. Happens to me all the
time. - Let's look into these steps a little deeper.
Phone's network parameters. The phone can use DHCP to obtain an IP address from a DHCP
server. - This also supplies the netmask, gateway, & DNS server info to the phone.
-alaternately- The phone could be configured not to use a DHCP server and have all it's
network information pre-programmed. -finally- Even if the phone is programed to use DHCP, a
specific DHCP server could be specified .
What if the phone can't find a DHCP server? My (SIP ver. 7.5) phone just sits there
bouncing back and forth between "Configuring IP" and "Configuring VLAN". - So if your phone is set
to use DHCP, you better have a DHCP server it can "reach".
What if the phone can't find a TFTP server? If the phone can't find a TFTP server, obviously
item #2 & #3 (above) doesn't happen. - But the phone will revert to whatever's stored in it's flash
memory (from the last time it downloaded files) and come on line.
What files does the phone request? Hey! Good Question! Depending on the firmware loaded in
the phone, it's version, and even some of the parameters contained in the phone's configuration,
the phone can (and will) request a number of different files by name. - This can greatly differ
between firmware loads. - We'll get more into this later in this page.
Network Setup Scenarios
Based on the above, here's a chart with some possible scenarios. - To make life easier for us,
we want our phone to conform to Scenario A.
|Phone's Network config item
||No* (Note 1)
||If DHCP is set to 'NO', 'Alternate TFTP' defaults to
||Obtained via DHCP
||Obtained via DHCP
||Any valid IP Address
||If 'Alternate TFTP' is set to 'NO', TFTP server defaults to
DHCP server's IP address.
||Obtained via DHCP
||Obtained via DHCP
||Any valid DNS Mask
||Phone's IP address and TFTP server should never be the same.
|(Uses) 'Alternate' TFTP
||No (Note 2)
||No (Note 2)
|Same IP as DHCP server's address
||Any valid IP Address (Note 3)
||Same IP as DHCP server's address
Getting a phone to match 'Scenario A'
Although you cannot change the phone's password, you can manually
reset the phone back to 'factory' defaults. - During this step, you can also
'erase' it's network configuration effectively matching it up with our 'Scenario
A'. - Here's how to do it:
- Reset the Phone. - You can do this by a 'power reset' or by pressing
'asterisk'-'6'-'Settings' at the same time. - Cisco's version of a PC's
'alt'-'ctrl'-'del' (three-finger salute). Note: - Some firmware(s) will not
recognize the 'three-finger salute'. - In these cases you must 'power reset' the
- When the phone starts resetting (the 'headset' light will come on) hold
down the '#' key to initiate a reset.
- When the phone detects the 'reset request', you'll see 'Reset key
sequence detected' on the phone's LCD screen and the 'headset', 'mute',
'speaker' lights will start sequencing.
Release the '#' key.
Note: - This will 'time out' after about 30 seconds & revert to a re-boot
if you don't do anything.
- Press the following keys in in order:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 * 0 #
If you pressed the keys in the correct order, you'll now see the following
question on the phone's LCD screen:
Save network cfg? 1=yes 2=no
- Press '2' to erase the network configuration.
- You'll now see 'Factory reset initiated' displayed on the LCD screen
then the phone will re-boot.
Any 'DHCP' specific info in the phone will now be reset & 'USE DHCP' will be enabled (with no
specific DHCP server specified). - When your phone boots up the next time, it will look at the first
DHCP sever it finds on your LAN (in my case, my router) for IP address info. It'll also 'think'
that this DHCP server is also a TFTP server as a source for configuration files.
A mini-refresher on DHCP & TFTP - Please read.
DHCP - You should all know that the purpose of a DHCP server is to
provide IP addresses (and other info) to computers and devices on the network
that request it. - DHCP servers can be ran on computers and other devices
within the network. - In my case, my DHCP server is my Linksys router.
Hint: You never want more than one DHCP server per network (unless you really
know what you're doing).
TFTP - We're all familiar with 'FTP', but 'TFTP' means Trivial
File Transfer Protocol. - This is really a scaled down version that doesn't do
any login/password verification. - It just sends/receives files.
Back in my early Unix days, we used TFTP to boot Sun Sparc 'diskless'
workstations. - The workstation would boot, get it's IP info from the DHCP
server then request it's boot file from the DHCP server's IP address. We called this 'bootp'.
This same scenario holds true with the Cisco phones. - If an 'alternate' TFTP server
is not specified, the phone will request it's files (via tftp) from the
IP address of the DHCP server. - Please remember this.
Setting Up Your PC & Home Network to Configure Your Phone
Cop out #2 - I'm using a MS Windoze XP box for a "source" of config files to be loaded into
the phone. - I'm sure a Linux box or even a Mac will also work. - I'd be interested to see how folks
do this on other platforms. - Might even add a section on it here.
Set your PC up to use a 'Static IP' address. For example, on the LAN side of my router, I use
the following setup:
- Gateway (router's IP address): 10.0.0.1
- Netmask: 255.255.255.0
- DHCP Pool Starting Address: 10.0.0.100
- DNS Servers: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx & yyy.yyy.yyy.yyy
I can't tell you what these are
or my ISP will have my butt!
So on my PC, I set a static ip of 10.0.0.88 (to keep it out of the DHCP pool).
Getting and Installing a DHCP/TFTP Server
I'm going to run some software to make my PC 'look' and act like a DHCP/TFTP server. - And
you'll need to as well.
The best software I've found (and it's free too!) for this is tftpd32 - by
Ph. Jounin. - I've mirrored a copy here at 'Jtech': tftpd32.335.zip
This software doesn't "install". Just unzip the zip file to a folder on our C: drive (I use
"C:\tftp"). - Don't forget to make a shortcut on your desktop pointing to "tftpd32.exe".
Decision Time - DHCP Server
If your home network is like mine, your router is your DHCP server. But it can't work as a TFTP
server. That's why we have 'tpftp32' to both functions.
HOWEVER - We cannot have two DHCP servers running on our LAN at the same time.
The easiest way (if you can) is to simply log into our router and temporarilly
DISABLE it's DHCP server.
If you cannot disable your router's DHCP server, you'll need to go with our "Mini-LAN
approach - see below.
Making a Mini-LAN (If you cannot disable your router's DHCP server)
As you can see, my 'Mini-LAN' isn't much. - Just a PC and a phone both
connected to a small Ethernet Hub.
In fact, you don't even need an Ethernet Hub if you can find (or make) an
'Ethernet Cross Cable'. - With one of these cables, you can plug the phone
directly into the PC's Ethernet port. - You can find instructions on making
one of these cables by googling around on the Internet.
My PC Workstation (Windows-XP box) would normally obtain it's network config
from a DHCP server (a Linksys router in my case). But my regular DHCP server is now out of
the picture in this set up. - To get around this, we must statically assign a 'fixed'
IP address to our PC.
HINT - If you set up a "Mini-LAN", make sure this page is loaded on a browser of your
PC so you can refer to it.
Setting up & running 'tftpd32' for the first time.
While this is not meant to be a complete tutorial on 'tftpd32', I'll tell you
how I did it and make suggestions for your own config.
1 - Create a folder on your C:\ drive where tftpd32 will get the files to send to your phone
(I use "C:\cisco").
2 - Launch 'tftpd32'. - Note: If Windoze firewall complains about the software and
has 'blocked' some of it's features (see box on left). Simply click on 'Unblock'. - I've seen cases
where it might actually be necessary to disable the Windoze firewall.
3 - With 'tftpd32' running, click on 'Settings' tab at the bottom.
- Browse to and set up the 'Base Directory' to point to the folder you set up to hold
your files for tftpd to send to the phone. - Note: - You must set
this directory here else it won't default to this folder the next time
you start 'tftpd32.
- In 'Global Settings', you only need 'TFTP Server' & 'DHCP' Server checked. - You can take all
the defaults for the rest of this screen.
- If you really get lost, you can always check the 'Default' tab at the bottom of the screen,
accept the warning, then exit the program & re-launch it.
- Once you're happy with your settings, click 'OK' at the bottom of the screen. You'll be told
that restart 'tftpd' for these settings to take effect. - That's fine. - Go ahead and do it
4 - After making the 'global' settings and with tftpd running again, notice at the top
of the screen you should see your 'Current Directory' where tftpd will get files to send to the
phone. You should also see your PC's static IP Address displayed.
- Now click on the DHCP Server tab.
- Here is where you tell your DHCP server what IP address, etc. to give to devices requesting
this info. It's not really rocket science and you don't need to fill in all the blanks.
- IP pool starting address: Enter your PC's IP address pluse one.
- Size of pool: A value of 5 should be plenty.
- Default router: Enter the address of your router.
- Mask: Enter your netmask (probably 255.255.255.0)
- Now click Save and your DHCP portion should be 'good to go'.
Putting All Together - A 'Real Live' Example
I recently bought a used Cisco 7960 on E-Bay. Of course, I had no initial idea what firmware the
phone had loaded (and really didn't care).
The phone would at least boot up on my LAN but (as usual) wouldn't do anything. - No Biggie.
By playing around with the phone & looking at it's status info, I was able to determine the
- Firmware: The phone had firmware: 'P00308000400' loaded. This looks like one of the
flavors of 'SCCP' (version 8.x or so). Anyway, it's a newer version of SIP that we maintain
here on Jtech.
- Network: The network configuration settings showed IP addresses that were clearly
outside of our local LAN's IP scheme (10.0.0.xxx). - This means the phone was not using
- The 'three-finger-salute' would not work with this firmware. The only way to reset this phone
(with it's current firmware) is to do a 'power reset'.
That's enough info to get us started.
Watching the tftpd Log Screen
With 'tftpd32' running, we'll make sure we click the the 'Log Viewer' tab.
Now we'll reset your phone to the factory defaults (making sure we erase the network cfg). After
this finishes, we'll 'power reset' our phone and watch our PC's 'tftpd32' log screen (I like
to expand this to full screen - makes viewing it easier.
Here's what I saw on my 'tftpd' serverw:
Well, at least we know the phone will 'talk' to our PC's tftpd/dhcp server.
The first three lines have to with DHCP. This shows the dhcp server gave the phone the IP address
of: 10.0.0.100. - Note that this is outside of the range I specified earlier. - I guess I had my
dhcp server settings slightly diferent. - This is one of thse cases of 'do as I say and not as I
do' (grin). - At least it worked.
The remainder of the screen shows what files the phone asked for. Since our "source directory" is
still empty, there was a 'file not found' error reported for every one. - That's okay for now, we'll
fix it in a minute.
Notice the stuff I outlined in red? These are requests we normally
would never see in a SIP (ver 7.5) install. - This is another clue that the phone has something
other than SIP loaded.
Again (and I cannot overstate this enough) - Depending what firmware is loaded in your phone, you will
probably see a different list of files than my example. - Expect this to happen.
Let's Talk Briefly About File Names
If you notice above, one of the files requested is 'CTLSEP00127FDE8FC5.cnf' - And
another is called 'SIPDefault.cnf' -
For the first file, the '00127FDE8FC5 is the phone's MAC Address. Each phone comes
from the factory with it's own unique MAC Address. - From now on - I'll simply refer to
files using MAC Addresses as something like
Other files use unique names (i.e. 'SIPDefault.cnf'). Why? - This is for places where
several phones are on a network. Some phones share 'common' files and others need 'phone specific'
files. - It makes things a lot easier to manage in large installations.
Continuing - Give the Phone the File(s) it Wants
For owners of phones that do not have the SIP protocol loaded, there's
not much point reading beyond this (unless you know what file(s) to modify for
your particular 'load'). If you wish to convert your phone to SIP,
we'll be putting page(s) on-line to try and help.
the 'SIPDefault.cnf' file...
This is the file we want to modify. - Okay - Sure we could also do it the
'SIP[mac address].cnf file, but 'SIPDefault.cnf' is easy to type :-)
If using 'Windoze', fire up 'Notepad' and create one line saying:
phone_password: "cisco" ;
Don't forget the semi-colon and make sure you put a new-line/Enter at the
end of the line.
Now save this file in the same folder that 'tftpd' is using to deliver files
and give the the name of: 'SIPDefault.cnf
Re-boot your phone. - Your phone's password will now be: 'cisco'
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