So that annoying little prompt you get each time you boot a Cisco Router or Switch up with no config on it asking you about initial setup can actually be somewhat helpful. This lab will discuss and demonstrate the Initial Configuration Dialog.
The Initial Configuration Dialog is commonly an annoyance for engineers but on the dull side you are required to know it for the CCNA exam. However you’ll never use this configuration dialog once you’re experienced in navigating Cisco IOS as the configurations this dialog makes, you’ll know how to configure manually.
However; The Initial Configuration Dialog is actually quite useful when shipping a device overseas that is not configured and you need an inexperienced individual to configure basic connectivity to the device. Other then that scenario, the Initial Configuration Dialog is commonly disregarded by all experienced network engineers; however as a CCNA you’d required to be familiar with the Initial Configuration Dialog.
When opening a brand new Cisco box rather it be a Cisco Switch or Router, after booting the device you’ll be prompted by the Initial Configuration Dialog. You’ll also be prompted by this dialog if you do the write erase command in privileged mode and reload the device as it erases the contents of NVRAM. When a Cisco device does not have a startup-config located in NVRAM, the device will prompt you rather or not to start the Initial Configuration Dialog.
Another reason as to why you may see this is that your configuration register is set to 0x2142 which ignores the contents of NVRAM upon boot which is commonly used for password recovery.
As shown below in the configuration box you’ll see the Initial Configuration Dialog prompt; select yes and press return.
--- System Configuration Dialog --- Would you like to enter the initial configuration dialog? [yes/no]: yes
After starting the System Configuration Dialog, the step by step process is relatively easy and the dialog will explain options in details. This lab will only demonstrate the basic management configuration, however it is up to you to walk through the entire system configuration dialog by typing no at the 2nd prompt as shown below;
At any point you may enter a question mark '?' for help. Use ctrl-c to abort configuration dialog at any prompt. Default settings are in square brackets ''. Basic management setup configures only enough connectivity for management of the system, extended setup will ask you to configure each interface on the system Would you like to enter basic management setup? [yes/no]: yes
After typing yes at the basic management setup prompt you’ll be given the options to configure the hostname and passwords as shown below;
Configuring global parameters: Enter host name [Router]: R1 The enable secret is a password used to protect access to privileged EXEC and configuration modes. This password, after entered, becomes encrypted in the configuration. Enter enable secret: CISCO The enable password is used when you do not specify an enable secret password, with some older software versions, and some boot images. Enter enable password: cisco The virtual terminal password is used to protect access to the router over a network interface. Enter virtual terminal password: cisco
After setting the passwords in the basic management dialog, you’ll be prompted to enable SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) which is an industry standard protocol to allow device management via an API. After you say yes to this option you’ll be required to configure a snmp community string as shown below;
Configure SNMP Network Management? [no]: yes Community string [public]: COMMUNITYSTRINGGOESHERE
After configuring the SNMP options you’ll be required to configure a single interface within the management network, keep in mind you’ll need to type out the entire name of the interface as shown below;
Current interface summary Any interface listed with OK? value "NO" does not have a valid configuration Interface IP-Address OK? Method Status Protocol Interface IP-Address OK? Method Status Protocol FastEthernet0/0 unassigned NO unset up up FastEthernet0/1 unassigned NO unset up up Serial1/0 unassigned NO unset up down Serial1/1 unassigned NO unset up down Serial1/2 unassigned NO unset up down Serial1/3 unassigned NO unset up down Enter interface name used to connect to the management network from the above interface summary: FastEthernet0/0
Once you’ve selected an interface that will participate in the management network, you’re required to configure the IP parameters for that interface as shown below;
Configuring interface FastEthernet0/0: Operate in full-duplex mode? [no]: Configure IP on this interface? [yes]: IP address for this interface: 10.1.1.1 Subnet mask for this interface [255.0.0.0] : 255.255.255.0 Class A network is 10.0.0.0, 24 subnet bits; mask is /24
Once you’ve set those options the router will display a script of the changes to be made to the running configuration as shown below;
The following configuration command script was created: hostname R1 enable secret 5 $1$kGQ2$tr6bd7mW9zjqzfkUHhnCE0 enable password cisco line vty 0 4 password cisco no snmp-server ! no ip routing ! interface FastEthernet0/0 no shutdown half-duplex ip address 10.1.1.1 255.255.255.0 no mop enabled ! interface FastEthernet0/1 shutdown no ip address ! interface Serial1/0 shutdown no ip address ! interface Serial1/1 shutdown no ip address ! interface Serial1/2 shutdown no ip address ! interface Serial1/3 shutdown no ip address ! end
Afterwards the router gives you the option to save that configuration, start setup over again or disregard the setup information you just provided to the initial configuration dialog. For this lab I’m going to accept the configuration by entering option 2 to save the configuration to NVRAM and exit to CLI.
 Go to the IOS command prompt without saving this config.  Return back to the setup without saving this config.  Save this configuration to nvram and exit. Enter your selection : 2 The enable password you have chosen is the same as your enable secret. This is not recommended. Re-enter the enable password. Building configuration... Use the enabled mode 'configure' command to modify this configuration. % Crashinfo may not be recovered at bootflash:crashinfo % This file system device reports an error Press RETURN to get started! R1>