Free Cisco VPN Client alternative for Windows 7 x64 (64 bit)

Installing the Win7 system on my ThinkPad, I had a problem, that many users will have switching from a Windows system with only 32bit. Connecting the network in my university and in my office, I need to establish a Cisco VPN connection. But unfortunately there is no Cisco VPN Client in a 64bit version for Windows 7 in the x64 version. Only for Windows XP, a Cisco Client is available.

After searching through some forums, I found various solutions for this issue. Some mentioned the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client. But this Client doesn’t support PCF profiles. But as I couldn’t wait for my university to offer an AnyConnect support, I needed another solution.

Searching for an alternative, I’ve found the Shrew Soft VPN Access Manager. On that time, there was only an alpha version available, which worked stable. Trying to use a stable version for Windows Vista 64bit resulted in a blue screen and I had to uninstall the driver in the safe mode. But with version 2.1.5 there is now a stable version with Win7 support on 64 bit systems. The program looks much cleaned up:

Shrew Soft VPN Access Manager

Using File -> Import you can directly import a PCF file. As you can import multiple profiles, you can easily switch between those profiles. The connection dialog looks like this:

Shrew Soft VPN Connect

Here you just have the set your username and password as you know it from the Cisco VPN Client. But unfortunately there is now option to save the username and/or the password.

After entering the login data, the Client tries to establish a connection. If he could establish a connection, you should see a “tunnel enabled” message in the log window. If you don’t need the connection any longer, you can use the dialog to disconnect.

Shrew Soft VPN Tunnel enabled

I am very satisfied with this small and especially free program. With the Cisco VPN Client, I had a lot of disconnections in various networks. With the Shrew Soft VPN Client I was never disconnected.

I have also seen some tutorials on how to use the WindowsXP mode of Windows 7 to install a Cisco VPN Client and being able to use it with Win7 64bit. As soon as I had the time to test that scenario, I will give you another tutorial. In the meantime, a can recommend you the alternative Client.

If someone have found another good alternative Client or if someone even knows a mobile client (with I couldn’t found since two years) I would be happy about some comments.

3 comments » Write a comment

  1. Danke für den Artikel! Ich war auf der Suche nach einem VPN-Client für Win7 64-bit. Shrew funktioniert prächtig.

    > Eine Option zum Speichern von Benutzername und/oder Passwort habe ich aber bisher leider nicht gefunden.

    Zumindest der Username läßt sich speichern (getestet mit Shrew v2.1.7:
    File->Preferences->Checkbox “Remember the connection user name”

    • Ja, die fehlende Speicherfunktion für die Zugangsdaten fand ich zuerst auch sehr störend. Aber eigentlich ist es auch gut so. Denn was bringt einem win sicheres VPN, wenn jeder, der den Rechner nutzt auch ohne Passwort rein kann. So habe ich keine Angst meinen Laptop mal unbeaufsichtigt zu lassen.

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