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I will use c2960s switch as an example:
Step 1: Make sure the IOS is on the Cisco USB Drive (TFTP)

For this, I am using a Lexar 4Gb drive with FAT format (fat16). Or else you will get message “%Error opening usbflash0:c2960s-universalk9-mz.152-2a.E1.bin (Invalid DOS media or no media in slot)”

Or you can copy it from tftp server, use tftpd32 as an tftp server, and copy image to the root folder.

Step 2: Insert drive in the USB port on the back of the switch

Once you are consoled into the switch, you can insert the USB drive into the back of the switch. There is only one place it will plug in. You will see “usbflash0: has been inserted” come up on the screen..

Step 3: Copy the IOS into Flash: on the switch

This is done with the following command:

USB drive:

copy usbflash0:c2960s-universalk9-mz.152-2a.E1.bin flash:


copy tftp:// flash:

This will copy the .bin file into the flash memory of the switch. If you do a “sh flash:” on the switch, you will see both of them listed in there.

Directory of flash:/

2 -rwx 1919 Mar 29 2019 13:06:46 +11:00 private-config.text
 583 -rwx 5144 Mar 1 1993 11:01:24 +11:00 multiple-fs
 3 -rwx 556 Jul 10 2018 12:33:05 +10:00 vlan.dat
 4 -rwx 7255 Mar 29 2019 13:06:46 +11:00 config.text
 5 -rwx 16961536 Sep 5 2019 12:50:44 +10:00 c2960s-universalk9-mz.152-2a.E1.bin
 6 drwx 512 Mar 1 1993 11:12:50 +11:00 c2960s-universalk9-mz.122-53.SE2



Step 4: Tell switch to boot to the new IOS – and reboot


switch#config t
switch#(config)boot system c2960s-universalk9-mz.152-2a.E1.bin
switch#(confirm) y

Step 5: Switch boots to new IOS – Remove Old IOS from Flash

Once the switch boots back up to the new IOS, you can delete the old one out of flash. This is done with the following command:

switch#delete /recursive /force flash:c2960s-universalk9-mz.122-53.SE2