Backup and restore Cisco IOS device configuration with TFTP server

There are two levels of securing Cisco IOS device configuration (either router or switch). First level is local to device, and that is storing device running configuration (that resides in RAM) in NVRAM memory, so you have backup in case of power outages or device reload. Second level of protection is external to device, and that is keeping your configuration on some other device that is running TFTP server in case your IOS device completely crashes. In this tutorial, I will show you how to backup and restore your configuration using TFTP server.

First of all, you have to be sure that you have network connectivity with external device (in my case, laptop) that is running TFTP server service.


Type escape sequence to abort.
Sending 5, 100-byte ICMP Echos to, timeout is 2 seconds:
Success rate is 100 percent (5/5), round-trip min/avg/max = 32/48/64 ms

Then, you should use command from the following output to backup your device configuration:

Router1#copy run tftp
Address or name of remote host []?
Destination filename [router1-confg]?
1383 bytes copied in 3.264 secs (424 bytes/sec)

This is interactive output, which means you have to supply your router with information about IP address of external device that is running TFTP server and also with filename of configuration that will be stored. By default, filename consists of device hostname (if configured) with extension ‘-config’ (in this case, router1-config).

Of course, you can do opposite way if you want to restore configuration from external device to IOS device. Look at the following output:

Router1#copy tftp run
Address or name of remote host []?
Source filename [router1-confg]?
Destination filename [running-config]?
Accessing tftp://…
Loading router1-confg from (via FastEthernet0/0): !
[OK – 1383 bytes]

1383 bytes copied in 2.176 secs (636 bytes/sec)

You have similar parameters to enter (default values are inside brackets), and after that your configuration will be copied from external device into RAM memory of your IOS device.

NOTE: You can also backup/restore your configuration between NVRAM memory and external device. In this case, you should use copy start tftp/copy tftp start pair of commands and supply same information as shown above.

I hope that this tutorial was informative to you and thank you for visiting this website.

Ivan Sasic

Ivan Sasic

Ivan is IT professional and System Engineer for more then 7 years with experience in financial institutions and education sector. Passionate about computer networks, football and running.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

6 + 8 =