SOLVED: “Failed to initialize connection subsystem” in Cisco AnyConnect

Apr 4, 2013 by     58 Comments    Posted under: Technology

AnyConnect logoTalk about obscure.

One of my end users was greeted by this informative error message recently. He was connecting to the internet using a 3G dongle and then to our network via Cisco AnyConnect VPN. “Software reinstall!” thought I. “Wrong!” said Google.

Although this is probably due to faulty programming on Cisco’s part, the culprit is Internet Explorer. (How I love to blame that historically stinky pile of poodoo.)

To resolve: load up IE. If you can’t see the [ File | Edit | View… ] menus, press Alt, to bring it up. On the File menu, “Work Offline” is almost certainly checked. Uncheck it. Connect again. Job done. Who knew.

If you’re using Internet Explorer 11, bad news: Microsoft removed the “Work offline” option from the File menu. Gone. So there’s no GUI interface to the relevant setting. In fact it’s a registry key called “GlobalUserOffline”, found at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings. You need to set it to 0, disable “Work offline”. This registry file should do the trick: DisableWorkOffline.reg.

58 Comments + Add Comment

  • Hi Rob,

    Thanks for your solution, It resolves my problem..

    Thanks
    Jagan

    • Brilliant! Glad it helped, Jagan. Thanks for the feedback.

  • Thank you. It solved my problem

    • Very pleased to hear it, Gerardo. πŸ™‚

  • OMG. This is ridicules.

    Master! Thank you I would have never found it. I use Firefox. And on rare occasions IE. And last time I wanted to make it stop it screamed offline mode. And then never bothered to look again.

    • Great – glad it worked for you!

  • Thank-you so much. Glad I came upon your site after reading only 3. It just worked 2 days ago and I couldn’t figure out what could have caused it to stop. I started hearing that it was cause by FIOS and I didn’t know what to do.

    Such a relief.

    xoxo

    • Great – glad to have helped, Nicola! πŸ™‚

  • Thanks!

    Saved my time πŸ™‚

    • Great news. πŸ™‚

  • Excellent, You saved my Day !!!

    • I’m glad to hear it! πŸ™‚

  • Your were the real saver.

    Thanks a lot.

    • You’re very welcome.

  • Thanks for this tip .. I too was pondering a re-install and this saved me a lot of time

    • Good to know. Cheers!

  • Thanks Rob. ur solution looks simple but it made me a great help in fixing my problem. hope we get much more help in fixing bugs through ur expertise knowledge.

    • Thanks for the kind words.

  • Thanks a lot for your help. Greetings from Ecuador.

  • Many thanks, problem solved !

  • Thanks a lot , you saved my day.

  • It’s great !!! save my day …
    Thanks for your solution.

    • You’re most welcome.

  • Thanks a lot, works for me as well!

  • Thanks a Ton … It worked !!!!!

    • Great!

  • Hi,

    i am using ie11, where is the offline/online menu?

    Thank you

    • I’m glad you asked this question – it took a fair bit of research to find the answer. Microsoft removed the “Work offline” option from the File menu in Internet Explorer 11 and has not replaced it with any alternative. This basically leaves you with no GUI way of controlling this setting. Essentially you have to edit the Registry.

      The relevant key is: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\GlobalUserOffline. You need to set it to 1, to work online again. Here’s a registry file that will achieve the same result for you: DisableWorkOffline.reg.

      • Hmm, your text says: “You need to set it to 1”, but the attached .reg file sets it to 0. Which one is correct?

        For me, none of both did work in the first place. I’ll reboot and try again…

  • It really worked..why offline mode gets activated ..please advise..

    • Offline mode is turned on automatically if Internet Explorer detects that the internet connection is unreliable.

  • I also got the problem solved, was unable to connect my VPN. Thanks for your help.

    • You’re welcome. I’m pleased to have helped.

  • Gracias!!! FuncionΓ³!!!

    • De nada. πŸ™‚

  • Many Thanks.

    It worked.

  • Resurrecting this due to Windows 10 Technical Preview OS. Not finding that key…..Weird part is I have gotten it to work a couple times…..for instance right after installing the 3.1.0.5170 version and it does the initial connection. But close it out and try again..and always get the error.

    • Right click the cisco client exe and set compatibility on it. When you right click the exe you can simply choose “troubleshoot compatibility” and go with the recommended setting and to test it make sure your running cisco app is closed. It works!! Apply changes and your set.

      • Thanks!! this works for me!

      • Thank You, Tim. I’m using IE 11 in Windows 8 environment. It was used to work earlier, but I don’t know, may be because of latest Microsoft patches, it might’ve gone wrong.

        However, it is fixed now with your solution. Cheers.

      • Tim, thanks so much for the compatibility view advice. The “work offline” fixes didn’t help me on my Win 8.1 x64 machine, but after killing the mobility process and then right clicking on vpnui.exe, selecting “Troubleshoot compatibility”, and trying recommended fixes, I connected, first try. Big relief!

      • Thanks TimTim.. it worked in a sec… ty ty..

  • Thank you for your info! I tried to fix this last night for like 2 hours and was completely frustrated!! Thank you!!!

  • Thanks so much! Worked a treat! Tried another similar “solution”, which did not work.

  • Just got off the phone with Cisco support and I can confirm that what Tim said is correct and working for me.

    I navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Cisco\Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client\vpnui.exe> r-click> properties> on the Compatibility tab check “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and select the OS of your choice. I am running Win 8.1 clients in Windows 7 mode as a solution to this problem.

    This issue is a result of a Microsoft security update. Not sure which one since I installed 34 updates right before my VPN clients broke.

  • this worked great for me, but then another windows update screwed it up again. I then tried the fix below and thus far its working for me: I got it of this website
    http://www.nicklitten.com/blog/how-fix-windows-10-problem-vpn-failed-initialize-connection-subsystem-cisco-anyconnect

    1. Right click VPNUI in the Cisco install folder. (in “C:\Program Files (x86)\Cisco\Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client\”

    2. Choose Troubleshoot compatibility.

    3. The wizard suggests win8 compatibility.

    4. Try recommended Setting. (It did work for me)

    5. Restart the VPN service. (No need for me, worked after the compatibility mode fix)

    6. Start AnyConnect from the start menu.

    7. Working.

  • After a win8 update yesterday I got this issue. No registry key present, but setting compatibility mode to windows XP on the cisco shortcut solved it for me!

  • I am on Windows 8.1 & IE 11.

    I tired the registry entry and have shutdown my laptop and I still get the same Cisco error.

    Any other ideas?

    • Sure – check the other solutions offered by some excellent visitors here.

  • I have Windows8 and IE11, I tried the approach listed above and it did not do the trick.
    Uninstalling a specific windows update did.

    See here: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/ie/forum/ie11-iewindows8_1/cannot-connect-to-cisco-on-ie-11-receive-message/23e8fcda-35b5-4eda-bb04-3fa182e54f48

  • fyi the download link for the reg file has a typo. you are missing the h in http

    • Cheers – fixed.

  • Tried the IE 11 fix. I don’t have a GlobalUserOffline

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\GlobalUserOffline

  • Thank you for this! I am using Windows 8 with IE 11 – even though the “work offline” is removed, it helped to just run IE, and AnyConnect miraculously started to work.

  • Thanks for this… i was freaking out for this was the first time i encountered this error on my 3yrs using cisco any connect. I believe i have toggled something but not so sure what.. i have searched other suggestions for resolving the issue and one worked for me. Thanks alog for tge detailed work around.

    • My pleasure!

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