A few days ago I started tinkering with an old Cisco 2621 router.
I made some changes to the running-config, performed a “write memory” to save the config and reloaded the router. When the router was running again my configuration was not active. A “more nvram:startup-config” showed the configuration I created actually had been saved. It just wasn’t being used after the reload.
A “show version” told me:
Configuration register is 0x41
The configuration-register allows you to control the boot process. The register was set to ignore the contents of the nvram. Probably a remnant of a password recovery procedure.
I switched the configuration register back to its default setting with:
During the next reload the router successfully loaded my startup-config.
So if you have a Cisco router ignoring the startup-config in nvram check the value of the configuration register. You can find additional info by searching for configuration-register on the Cisco website.