When you have got a brand new switch, all you have to do to bring it into action is to plug it in and turn the power ON and switch will start working.
However, if your hands are really itching to do some configuration on it, the most basics tasks could be to-
* give it a hostname
*configuring enable, console and vty passwords.
Karishma, Cisco switch can do a lot of things. It's not like you buy a switch and there's general rule that you have to do this and that initially. It really depends on your scenario.
Some might say to configure hostname, but some might say to configure TFTP config loader. Or you even don't need to configure anything if you just want to use the whole VLAN1 by default.
I would suggest start with the requirement. Asked what do you want your switch to do for you, or what is the reason you buy a switch?
First thing I do is configure a hostname and an IP address on a default VLAN.
Then if I was using VTP, I would set it as a client with the domainname and password.
Those would be the first things I would do for a switch.
The last thing I would do is to configure how to login to the switch. Be it SSH or telnet.
That would be my minimum configurations to a new switch.
Beyond that, management and configuration would be able to be done remotely.
Hope that helps!
In addition to items mentioned above, I would also update the firmware, upgrade the bootcode and make sure you run the latest IOS. That way your switch is running the latest and will be up to date for a while. If you are looking for a layer 3 capability, switch to that mode, before configuring anything, since turning it on later will wipe your current settings (SG switches series). If L2 is needed only, you can just start configuring.
There are a lot of things to do with a brand-new switch. Some great recommendations have already been given, sadly the 2950 is an old platform so not so many things to do with it.
First a couple of questions that you need to know the answer to:
-Where is the switch going to be installed in the network?
-What business functions will this switch support?
-Do you need to manage this switch or will it be unmanaged?
Those questions are important to understand because you can have another 2950 installed in your network with a completely different requirement to support the network. What I mean by this is .... if you have a branch-office with only 20 employees, the 2950 will need to be configured with a lot more features then if it's the access-switch on a campus-network. Or you may not need to do anything with it depending on your network design.
Once you have your answers this is typically at least a few things you will do with it:
-Configure all VLAN:s manually and disable VTP or put it in VTP Transparent mode.
-Create a VLAN for unused switchports and place all switchports in this VLAN by default.
-Configure your trunk-ports/uplinks to other switches and only allow the VLANs that needs to leave this switch (in most cases all VLANs but sometimes that's not the wanted situation)
-Configure SNMP, Syslog, TACACS/RADIUS authentication if you have those in your network. We can call this "management features".
-Configure management VLAN and ip-address so it's reachable, don't forget to set the default-gateway.
-Protect all your "management features" such as SNMP etc with access-lists.
-Protect all your management to and from the device with access-lists to desired subnets.
-Configure STP according to the network design.
-Setup your trunk ports native vlan to hit the "unused" VLAN where you placed all your ports initially in - or in a completely different vlan as long as it's not used for anything.
I have probably missed a couple of things i usually do like hostname, ip-address, ssh, updating ios etc...but that's just something that is not "switch-specific" you just do it on every device.
I agree with earlier posts that the requirements or planned use of the switch will dictate complete initial configurations.
However I would like to emphasis on setting password for privileged Exec mode, line console and line vty according to cisco initial configuration lessons . In addition usability of the CLI such as terminal history size, disable the resolution of symbolic name (no ip domain lookup), backup the startup configuration file can be considered as the part of few basic/ initial configuration.