Cisco AnyConnect “failed”, and no VPN for me

I often use Cisco AnyConnect to remotely work on my machine at Purdue via VPN. Unfortunately for me, this morning instead of moving on to my Remote Desktop connection, I got this pretty error message:

Cisco AnyConnect - Failed to initialize connection subsystem


“Failed to initialize connection subsystem”. Great.

Looks like a recent Windows 8.1 update, in order to fix a TLS bug, broke the compatibility for the GUI component of Cisco’s VPN solution. Fortunately, Microsoft promptly released a fix, and will include a full-fledged patch in the next Patch Tuesday rollout.

More info on the temporary patch, including a manual way of fixing it very quickly, can be found on Chris Tierney’s blog (thanks!!):

which in turn got it from another blog, which in turn got it from a YouTube commenter.

Here are the few easy steps, straight from Chris’ blog:

  1. Close the Cisco AnyConnect Window and the taskbar mini-icon
  2. Right click vpnui.exe in the “Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client” folder. (I have it in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Cisco\Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client\”)
  3. Choose “Troubleshoot compatibility”
  4. Choose “Try recommended settings”
  5. The wizard suggests Windows 8 compatibility.
  6. Click “Test Program”.  This will open the program.
  7. Close
  8. Some people may need to repeat the above steps for vpnagent.exe. That is the local service that supports the client user interface.

The power of the Internet saved my day 🙂


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