Configuring Switch Passwords on a Catalyst 1900 or 2820

The commands to configure user and privileged mode passwords on a Cisco 1900 switch are slightly different than those learned earlier. To configure a user-mode password on a Cisco 1900, use the enable password command, followed by a level number and password. Level numbers range from 1 to 15. User-mode passwords fall into the numeric range 1-14, while a privileged-mode password uses level 15. The commands to add both a user-mode and privileged-mode password to a Cisco 1900 switch are shown below. It should be noted that these passwords are not encrypted, nor case sensitive, but must be between 4 and 8 characters in length.

Cisco1912(config)#enable password level 1 cisco
Cisco1912(config)#enable password level 15 cisco99

Much like on a Cisco router, a Cisco 1900 switch also allows you to apply a more secure enable secret password that supercedes any other privileged mode password that may have been configured. This password is set using the enable secret command, followed by the password of your choice. Enable secret passwords are encrypted, case sensitive, and can be up to 25 characters in length.

Cisco1912(config)#enable secret CiScO9999

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.