Modes of Cisco Router

  • Setup Mode
  • User Mode
  • Privilege Mode
  • Global Configuration Mode
  • Interface Mode
  • Line Mode

One of the greatest perhaps features of Cisco routers is that most commands used in the IOS software they run on, are identical across multiple platforms.
For example, commands for configuring a gigabit Ethernet interface on a Cisco 2821 are exactly the same when configuring a gigabit Ethernet interface on a Cisco 3945.
This feature makes working with pretty much any Cisco model, a extremely comfortable and pleasant experience.

Now, when you power up a Cisco router, it will first run a POST test to ensure all hardware is ok, and then look into the Flash to load the IOS.
Once the IOS is loaded, it will then check the NVRAM for any configuration file. If it is a new router then it won’t find any startup configuration, so the router will go into “setup mode”.

The easiest way to keep track of the mode you’re in is by looking at the prompt.
The “>” means we are in User Exec Mode. From this mode, we are able to get information like the version of IOS, contents of the Flash memory and a few others.

To get into Privileged Mode we enter the “Enable” command from User Exec Mode. If set, the router will prompt you for a password. Once in Privileged Mode, you will notice the prompt changes from “>” to a “#” to indicate that we are now in Privileged Mode.

The Privileged Mode (Global Configuration Mode) is used mainly to configure the router, enable interfaces, setup security, define dialup interfaces etc.

Now, when you want to configure certain services or parts of the router you will need to enter Global Configuration Mode from within Privileged Mode. If you’re confused by now with the different modes available try to see it this way:

User Exec Mode (distinguished by the “>” prompt) is your first mode, which is used to get statistics from router, see which version IOS you’re running, check memory resources and a few more things.

Privileged Mode (distingushed by the “#” prompt) is the second mode. Here you can enable or disable interfaces on the router, get more detailed information on the router, for example, view the running configuration of the router, copy the configuration, load a new configuration to the router, backup or delete the configuration, backup or delete the IOS and a lot more.

Global Configuration Mode (distingushed by the (config)# prompt) is accessable via Privileged Mode. In this mode you’re able to configure each interface individually, setup banners and passwords, enable secrets (encrypted passwords), enable and configure routing protocols and a lot more. We dare say that almost everytime you want to configure or change something on the router, you will need to be in this mode.


Router> enable                                                                                                           – <TYPE Enable>
Router#configure terminal                                                                                     – <TYPE Configure terminal>

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