I haven’t been able to run the Cisco VPN client on the notebook PC that I use for work (because there is no 64-bit Cisco VPN client) but, after a forced rebuild when my hard disk started acting erratically, I am no longer running my Windows Server 2008 workstation and I put the Windows 7 beta on it instead, choosing to go 32-bit so that I didn’t have to run a VM just to access corporate applications.
Most applications that work on Windows Vista should work on Windows 7 but the ones that will cause trouble are the ones with hooks deep into the operating system… like VPN clients – and the Cisco VPN client is no exception.
Even under Windows Vista, v5.0.3.0560 of the Cisco VPN Client needed a Windows Update to be applied prior to installation but I took the chance that was already included in the Windows 7 code. Installation was actually quite smooth and completed successfully but then, after the initial reboot, a glimpse of a blue screen of death before the PC restarted. Thinking that my hard disk error had been misdiagnosed (it hadn’t) I started to Google and came across Aaron Tiensivu’s blog post on preventing Cisco VPN client (v5.0.4.0300) installation from bluescreening Windows 7 (32-bit build 7000). That sounded interesting… it refered to a later version of the VPN client but otherwise it was exactly what I’d just seen.
After a System Restore had got me back to a running system, I followed the steps in the post, but they have been updated several times now, so what follows are the exact steps that worked for me:
- Install the Citrix Deterministic Network Enhancer (DNE) update (direct link to the installer file) and restart the computer.
- Take ownership of c:\windows\system32\drivers\ndis.sys and c:\windows\system32\drivers\en-us\ndis.sys.mui, then set permissions to grant Full Control to Administrators, before deleting the files.
- Install the Cisco VPN Client (I used v5.0.03.0560 but this is also reported to work with v5.0.04.0300 and v5.0.05.0280) and restart the system.
- Allow Windows 7 to perform Startup Repairs and then click Finish to shut down the computer.
- Start the computer, log on, and the Cisco VPN Client should now be available for use.
Following this, I was able to initiate a successful connection to my company’s network.
Incidentally, for those who need to run 64-bit Windows, Nicholas Caitoâ€™s workaround looks interesting – running the VPN client in a virtual machine, sharing the connection, and providing a static route on the host.