imageMigrating to a new operating system can be tricky, with some special “gotchas” for various applications.  While Microsoft has done a great job in minimizing driver changes that can impact application and hardware compatibility, there are always some exceptions.  One particularly problematic piece of software for me has always been Cisco’s AnyConnect VPN client.  I rely on it for connecting to my clients’ networks and, for the most part, it works well on Windows 7. 

The Problem

While testing the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, though, I ran into some problems.  While the standard x64 installer for the client seemed to work properly, the client would automatically disconnect after authenticating with the VPN server.  I’d receive the following error message:

Secure VPN Connection terminated locally by the Client.

Reason 442: failed to enable Virtual Adapter

The Solution

Thanks to some really helpful posts online (references below), I found that the solution was to make a minor change to the Registry.  First, using RegEdit, find the following Registry path:


You should see a key called “DisplayName”.  Simply change its value by removing the unnecessary characters at the beginning of the name.  In my case, I was left with “Cisco Systems VPN Adapter for 64-bit Windows”, and everything worked fine when I tried to connect again.  It’s a strange bug (and one that I wish was better documented), but I have been up and running after this change on three different computers. 

If you’re unfamiliar with editing the Registry (and the inherent dangers therein), the below links will provide more details).

Update for Windows 8 Release Preview:

The above Registry path on my most recent installation seems to have changed; on my primary computer, the correct path is:


Fortunately, the DisplayName key change worked fine for me.

Other Options

The Cisco AnyConnect VPN client seems to be aging, and support is difficult to come by unless you have a Cisco support account.  Fortunately, there are other third-party commercial and freeware alternatives. It has been a while since I’ve used any of them, but one that I see mentioned often is the VPN Client for Windows from  Feel free to post a comment if you’ve had any experiences (good or bad) with VPN alternatives.