CIMC 4.0 Factory Reset

Cisco - Data Centre


  1. Get an approved maintenance window.
  2. Get a server firmware .iso file from Cisco. Make sure it's for the hardware platform you are using!
  3. Boot the server off this .iso file. Press F6 during the boot for the boot menu.
  4. When you're in the Host Upgrade Utility there will be a button saying "Restore CIMC Defaults" click this.
  5. Exit out the Host Upgrade Utility and reconfigure your CIMC. Press F8 during the boot for the CIMC configuration utility.
Note: Remember the default password is "password" however on a few models Cisco did make it "Cisco1234".

What's this for?

CIMC 4.0 Factory Reset is for when your colleague who's now happily retired has set a password on a device but forgot to put it in the password management software. It's also useful for you newbies to the land of networking who have received a second hand product with a CIMC in it from a popular online e-buying site but it's got a password set on it.

I'm afraid unlike routers and switches you don't have the option to recover the configuration. Your only option is to factory reset the device; If this device is in production I hope you have a good backup policy!

Demo Enviroment

The outputs below come from the following setup...

  • Hardware: Cisco WLC 5520
  • OS: CIMC
  • Version: 4.0(2g)
  • Date: 10-08-2019

CIMC 4.0 Factory Reset

So what we're going to do in this ramblings is run through the steps needed to get back into your Cisco CIMC.

Warning: if you do not own the CIMC your about to attempt this on you will probably be breaking some sort of company policy / law of the land you live in. If in doubt seek legal advise and or permission from the person that owns the router. Please also read the disclaimer on the About page of this website.

To be able to complete this guide you are going to need the following.

Normally I do pretty much all my administration remotely using Out Of Band Technologies. Who want to sit in a data centre when you can sit next to the fire with a blanket and your slippers? The downside here is you have clearly lost access to your Out Of Band Technology hence your reading this article! So throw off the blanket and swap the slippers for some shoes; you're going to have to go into the data centre.

You will need to perform all these steps from the physical console. However photos of a crash cart screen from my phone are not going to look at great on a website therefore I will still run the procedure from the CIMC so I can get good quality screen shots for you. The only slight difference is you will be doing this via the console. If you don't know how to make a bootable USB from an .iso, google is your friend.

So before our maintenance window starts let's get the .iso file downloaded off the Cisco website. Start off by going to the Cisco Software Download Website and find the 'server firmware' page you're the hardware you're working on. You will then need to download the Host Upgrade Utility (HHU) .iso file.

After it's downloaded you want to get that iso onto a USB stick and put it into the server. Reboot the server being sure to try and break a world record for how any times F6 can be hit in a second.

The server should then go onto the boot menu where you can select your USB to boot off.

You should then see some good old Tux at the top of your screen

This will quickly be followed by the HUU loading screen.

Followed by a screen that will stick around for a while loading the files.

Eventually you will be prompted to accept the license agreement.

When you come to the upgrade page hit the 'Restore CIMC Defaults' button/

Have a good hard think you about if you can remember that password, then reset the CIMC.

After that we just need to hit Exit.

Now you have the access to the CIMC why not try and get a basic configuration into it using this guide here.