Over the years, I have used the reload command for more than upgrading the IOS on a switch or router. The reload command has several parameters that you can pass to it.
The ‘reload in’ is one of my most favorite commands, but it is also a very dangerous one. This one command has saved me hours of downtime, frustration, and embarrassment. It has also caused me downtime, frustration, and embarrassment. Typically when I am making a change to a device that is remote to me, I save the configuration and then issue the ‘reload in 5’ command from privilege mode before I start making my changes. This gives me 5 minutes to complete my changes before the device automatically reboots.
If I had made changes to the configuration before issuing the reload and did not save them, then it prompts me to save the changes first. Isn’t that nice? After confirming the reload a warning message is displayed to all of the users currently connected to that device. Older versions of IOS do not always do this.
So, now I am ready to start making my changes. If I make a change that disconnects me and I am not able to reconnect, then in 5 minutes the device reboots and loads the configuration from before I broke it.
A nice feature of this process is that I get a warning message when the counter reaches one minute. This gives me a reminder to either finish my changes or restart the reload timer.
When I have completed my changes and still have connectivity to the device, I get a feeling of a job well done and stop the reload process. This is done with the ‘reload cancel’ command in privilege mode.
I then get a message that the reload process has been aborted.
So what if I want to know how much time is remaining or if I am not really sure that I canceled the reload? Easy – I use the ‘show reload’ privilege mode command.
The output tells me how much time is remaining and at what time the reload will happen. I will also see what account issued the reload.
This is great and all, but I have to warn you about my issue with this command. The three main parameters are ‘in’, ‘at’, and ‘cancel’. There is another parameter that gets overlooked and can be a problem. If you look carefully at the options you will see one that says ‘LINE’.
This is great if I want to document the reason why I am reloading. But what happens if I forget to use the ‘in’ keyword and instead type ‘reload 5’?
I get a confirmation prompt to confirm my command. After the command is confirmed, the prompt doesn’t return. The session is not responding. What happened? Take another look at the ‘LINE’ parameter. Yep, the ‘5’ I entered is a comment, not the amount of time I want to wait to reload the device. I wish Cisco had required a parameter line ‘remark’ to insert a comment, but they didn’t. We have to live with it. So use ‘reload’ wisely and be careful, especially during production hours.