User and Enable (Privileged) Modes
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All three CLI access methods covered so far (console, Telnet, and SSH) place the user in
an area of the CLI called user EXEC mode. User EXEC mode, sometimes also called user
mode, allows the user to look around but not break anything. The “EXEC mode” part of the
name refers to the fact that in this mode, when you enter a command, the switch executes
the command and then displays messages that describe the command’s results.
NOTE If you have not used the CLI before, you might want to experiment with the CLI
from the Sim Lite product, or view the video about CLI basics. You can find these resources
on the DVD and on the companion website, as mentioned in the introduction.
Cisco IOS supports a more powerful EXEC mode called enable mode (also known as privileged
mode or privileged EXEC mode). Enable mode gets its name from the enable command,
which moves the user from user mode to enable mode, as shown in Figure 6-6. The
other name for this mode, privileged mode, refers to the fact that powerful (or privileged)
commands can be executed there. For example, you can use the reload command, which
tells the switch to reinitialize or reboot Cisco IOS, only from enable mode.
Figure 6-6 User and Privileged Modes
NOTE If the command prompt lists the hostname followed by a >, the user is in user
mode; if it is the hostname followed by the #, the user is in enable mode.
Example 6-1 demonstrates the differences between user and enable modes. The example
shows the output that you could see in a terminal emulator window, for instance, when connecting
from the console. In this case, the user sits at the user mode prompt (“Certsmax>”)
and tries the reload command. The reload command tells the switch to reinitialize or reboot
Cisco IOS, so IOS allows this powerful command to be used only from enable mode.
IOS rejects the reload command when used in user mode. Then the user moves to enable
mode—also called privileged mode—(using the enable EXEC command). At that point, IOS
accepts the reload command now that the user is in enable mode.
Example 6-1 Example of Privileged Mode Commands Being Rejected in User Mode
NOTE The commands that can be used in either user (EXEC) mode or enable (EXEC)
mode are called EXEC commands.
This example is the first instance of this book showing you the output from the CLI, so it is
worth noting a few conventions. The bold text represents what the user typed, and the nonbold
text is what the switch sent back to the terminal emulator. Also, the typed passwords
do not show up on the screen for security purposes. Finally, note that this switch has been
preconfigured with a hostname of Certskills1, so the command prompt on the left shows
that hostname on each line.