Upgrading Cisco IOS Software and the Cisco IOS Software Boot Process

Engineers need to know how to upgrade the IOS to move to a later release. Typically, a router has one IOS image in Flash memory, and that is the IOS that is used. (The term IOS image simply refers to a file containing the IOS.) The upgrade process might include steps such as copying a newer IOS image into Flash memory, configuring the router to tell it which IOS image to use, and deleting the old one when you are confident that the new release works well.

A router decides what IOS image to use when the router boots. Also, to upgrade to a new IOS or back out to an older IOS, you must reload the router. So, it's a convenient time to cover the boot sequence and some of the related issues.

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