Logging In and Logging Out with a Cisco Router

For the time being, we’re going to continue to access the router via a console connection. We’ll get into the details of connecting via a telnet session a little later in the chapter. After connecting, you’ll be presented with the message below.

toronto-1 con0 is now available
Press RETURN to get started!

The message makes us aware that we are connected to the console port, also known as con0. After pressing Enter, we’ll be in what is known as user EXEC mode. You can always identify the mode you are in by the prompt you are presented with. In this case, the prompt appears as:


Notice that the prompt displays the hostname that we configured when walking through the extended setup. In this case, it ends with a > sign, which designates that we’re in user EXEC mode (or just “user mode” for short). Your capabilities in user mode are fairly limited, allowing you to view information such as statistics, issue pings, show system hardware and software status, and so forth. In order to get at the configuration of the router, we’ll need to be in what is known as privileged EXEC mode (also known as “privileged mode”). To access privileged mode, you need to issue the enable command.


Because we set the enable secret password to cisco, this is the password that we enter to access privileged mode. The password does not appear on the screen while you are typing, nor are characters designated with asterisks – this is for security purposes. Notice how the prompt has changed. Instead of the > character, the privileged mode prompt is designation by the # sign.

Tip: Don’t forget that the > prompt signifies user EXEC mode, while the # prompt signifies privileged EXEC mode.

Once you have finished configuring your router, you will want to exit privileged mode. Doing this is quite intuitive; the command you need to enter is simply disable.


Notice that issuing the disable command returns us to user mode, as shown by the > prompt. In order to log out of the router completely, you have the choice of issuing either the logout or exit command. These commands can also be issued directly from privileged mode, allowing you to log out of the router in a single step.

toronto-1 con0 is now available
Press RETURN to get started!

Using the logout or exit command brings us right back to where we started.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of 2000Trainers.com. 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.