Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Meticulous workaround for getting Cisco AnyConnect to work with Windows 8

At times I need to use Cisco AnyConnect VPN to get into remote systems, but unfortunately AnyConnect does not work very will with Windows 8. My first solution was to install Windows XP as a virtual machine to get a lightweight solution.

Windows XP with AnyConnect works just fine and I can browse from within my VM.

My next issue was that I wanted to use SharePoint Designer 2013. This cannot be installed on Windows XP. You need Windows 7 or newer. Bummer :(

Instead of installing a Win7 VM I went for this solution.

  1. VMWare machine running Windows XP with freeSSHd installed
  2. Connect to remote system from XP using AnyConnect
  3. On native client (Windows 8) use putty to ssh into the VM with a socks proxy on port 8080
  4. Configure IE to use as a socks proxy
  5. Use SharePoint designer in my native Windows 8 which will use IE proxy settings

Communication goes like this:

SharePoint Designer (native) –> ssh proxy to XP (native) –> Cisco Any Connect (in VM) –>Virtual network adapter back via host machine –> Remote system

Cumbersome but it works.. and maybe, just maybe AnyConnect will work perfect on Windows 8 one day.


  1. If your VPN is IPSec, you can try Shrew Soft VPN Client from www.shrew.net. I've been using it with Windows 8 since the beta, and it's been fine. It can import pcf profiles, so it's fairly easy.

    1. Unfortunately no IPSec and pcf files :( And I know Shrew Soft's client is an option in these cases :)

  2. I have now switched to CopSSH instead as freeSSHd was very unstable.

  3. Cisco Any Connect works perfect with my Windows 8 laptop.

    1. Hi,
      In theory the newest version I have should work as well, but for some reason it won't. Just adding to issues from the past with Cisco AnyConnect. When it works, it works beautiful, when not, it's impossible to work it out.

      I've learned not to fight it :)