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.