Cisco VPN Client on Windows Server 2003

When using the Cisco VPN client on windows Server 2003, users may experience inability to create a tunnel. This is caused by the Windows IPSec implementation stepping on the Cisco client’s connection. Fortunately, getting the Cisco VPN client up and running on Win2K3 requires only a small bit of tweaking. First, get version 4.8.1 of the client from your source, be it Cisco or your VPN host who should legally be able to distribute it.

Run the setup program to get the client installed. Follow the prompts to blast through the setup routine. This may take a bit longer then ususal, but wait out the install. Once the install is finished, take the reboot offered by the setup program or reboot manually.

After reboot, open the client and create a connection profile. Fill in the specifics of your connection, and save it.

Now that the profile has been created, you can edit the .pcf file that was created when you saved the profile. Open up the .pcf file in notepad – by default, this should be located in

C:\program files\cisco systems\vpn client\profiles\profilename.pcf

Modify this location to reflect the install directory you chose during initial client setup. At the end of the [main] section, add the following


Save the .pcf file. Reboot once again. The client should now fire up a connection without issue.