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Windows 8.1 Workarounds

Note:​ As of the March Microsoft update cycle, these workarounds should no longer be necessary.  Please run Microsoft Update to resolve any issues you may have.

A recent Microsoft Windows 8.1 patch has broken the Cisco Anyconnect client.  This results in the following error when you try to connect using the VPN client:

"Failed to initialize connection subsystem"

The recent Microsoft Update "MS15-009" is causing this issue.  Microsoft has released a temporary "Fixit", and expects to fully fix the problem with a future security update to be released in March 2015.  We recommend applying the Microsoft supplied fix.

Microsoft "Fixit"

Please browse to  Under the "Known Issue" header click on the "Install AppCompat Shim."  This will make the necessary changes to allow the Cisco client to work properly.

Client Workaround

Alternatively, if you don't want to apply the Microsoft fix, the following will put the Cisco VPN client into Windows 8 compatibility mode, which works around the 8.1 issue.  You do not need to apply both the Fixit and the compatibility mode change listed below.  One of them is sufficient to fix the issue.
  • In Windows 8.1, go to the desktop and open the File Explorer (icon just to the left of the Start Menu).  You may also open it by going to the Start screen and typing "File Explorer" and hit enter.
  • Browse to:

    Local Disk -> Program Files (x86) -> Cisco -> Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.

  • Find the "vpnui" program at the bottom, right click and select Properties

  • Click on the compatibility tab at the top
  • Under Compatibility mode, Check "Run this program in compatibility mode for" and make sure the pull down says "Windows 8" (this is the default
  • Click OK
  • Sign out and sign back into Windows (or reboot).
  • The client should now work normally​

 Last modified at 4/30/2015 10:03 AM by Griffin, Chris