Cisco Router System Configuration Dialog

After the IOS loads, it looks for a valid startup configuration file in NVRAM. In cases where this file is not found, the router will enter what is known as the System Configuration Dialog. This environment is almost like a wizard, in that it will prompt you with questions relating to the configuration of the router. It can be used to configure basic settings only, or more advanced parameters, depending on your requirements. For the most part, the configuration that can be accomplished from this environment is somewhat limited, and not nearly as extensive as what can be done directly from the command line.

To begin our configuration, we’ll need to connect a rollover cable between the console port on the router and the COM port on a PC. Use a program such as Windows HyperTerminal (or your preferred terminal emulation program) to create a terminal session with the router, as outlined in Chapter 6. Once the router boots, you’ll notice a range of messages that relate to the bootstrap program, the router’s IOS version, interfaces, memory, and more. When the messages are done, you are presented with the System Configuration Dialog Utility, as shown below.

--- System Configuration Dialog ---
Continue with configuration dialog? [yes/no]: y
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]:

Notice the structure of the questions. You are first asked if you are interested in continuing with the initial configuration dialog. I chose “yes” by typing the letter “y” (you could also fully type “yes”) and then pressing Enter. Doing so provides you with information about obtaining help, aborting the configuration (pressing CTRL+C), and default settings.

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.