Copy Cisco IOS to TFTP server

Cisco IOS – it is linux based operating system used in various types of cisco devices. IOS on different Cisco devices looks same however there are difference in commands according to the functionality of the device for eg. Cisco switch will not have IP route command as switch do not have routing capabilities and size of the Cisco IOS also differ as per the device and IOS version.

Size of IOS can be in the range from 10mb to 100mb.


TFTP server – This server can be used to transfer files from one place to another with the help of TFTP protocol (Trivial file transfer protocol)

TFTP uses stateless UDP protocol for the transfer of files with the packet size of 512 bytes.


In packet tracer, we can used end devices to use the TFTP sever, we have two devices in packet tracer that have preinstalled TFTP server.

We can use PC and server for TFTP transfer, you can check how to use these devices as TFTP server here.

In real world, we have to use the TFTP software in the computer to enable the TFTP functionality in PC, there are lots of TFTP server available for free. You can search on google and download any free tftp server.

To use the downloaded software, install the TFTP server in the computer and give the IP address of the remote device to establish the connectivity.


In this lab, we will copy cisco ios to tftp server.


Coping IOS is useful as we can use the backup IOS copy if the running IOS goes bad and we can also transfer the IOS image to another Cisco device from the TFTP server. Also, when we have to upgrade the device the new IOS version, it’s always a best practice to take the backup of the old IOS as new IOS may have some bugs and may create issue with the current configuration so in this case we can always go back to the old IOS version by restoring it from backup.

Some of the newer cisco devices also have usb port which allows to backup the cisco IOS to usb storage however copying the IOS on server is best practice as servers are more stable and are configured with redundant storage.

To copy the Cisco IOS, first we need to know the location and name of the IOS, Cisco IOS is located in the Flash storage in cisco device and to check the name of the IOS, we can use two following commands

Show version

Show flash

To properly execute the command, we must use the correct file name. As the IOS have big name so it’s the best practice to copy the name.

You can see the name of the IOS, now to copy the IOS from the cisco device we have to use the following command.


Lab Tasks

1.    backup IOS to tftp server

2.    load IOS from tftp server


Lab Configuration


Task 1

Router#copy flash: tftp:
Source filename []? c1841-advipservicesk9-mz.124-15.T1.bin
Address or name of remote host []?
Destination filename [c1841-advipservicesk9-mz.124-15.T1.bin]? (press enter)


Task 2

Router#copy tftp: flash:
Address or name of remote host []?
Source filename []? c1841-advipservicesk9-mz.124-15.T1.bin
Destination filename [c1841-advipservicesk9-mz.124-15.T1.bin]? (press enter)


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