To put the IOS back into the switch using USB can be pretty quick. I have done this in under an hour. Here is how to do it.
I am using Catalyst 2960X in my example below.
First make sure your IOS device has a USB port. If it does, we need a format a USB flash drive in a way IOS recognizes it. The file format has to be FAT16 (or FAT).
Note: FAT32 and FAT-EX are not supported by the Cisco IOS devices.
The USB drive has to be smaller or equal to 2 GB. If you don't have a USB drive smaller than 2 GB, follow this.
Here are the options I checked on when I formatted my USB drive to FAT on my Windows PC. Don't do Quick Format.
Insert the USB flash drive in the USB port. Make sure that switch is able to see the IOS image on the USB. Issue the command dir usbflash0:
I copied it by making the laptop as the FTP server. I use Filezilla. I gave my PC IP address of 10.10.10.2/24
int vlan 1
ip address 10.10.10.1 255.255.255.0
ip ftp username cisco
ip ftp password cisco
Control Panel >> Network and Internet >> Network Connections >> Ethernet >> Properties >> Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
Once both PC and switch have IP connectivity, issue the command:
copy ftp: flash:
Provide the IP Address of FTP server (10.10.10.2 - in my example) and file name (c2960x-universalk9-mz.152-7.E2.bin - in my example)
Make sure you get the exclamations (!), and not the dots (.). If you get dots, that means either there isn't IP connectivity or (T)FTP server is not properly setup.