What are the steps to connect to a Cisco VPN server using the ShrewSoft VPN Client?

It's important to note that there are different kinds of Cisco VPN connections:

  1. Cisco VPN with pre-shared key (IPSec)
  2. Cisco AnyConnect (SSL VPN)
  3. Cisco VPN with a .pcf file (IPSec)
  4. Cisco VPN with certificate (IPSec)

I have the detailed answer for 1., pre-shared key. i will be answering that myself.

I need a detailed answer for using ShrewSoft VPN as an alternative to Cisco AnyConnect.

I know the .pcf is easy; you can read about it.

For completeness the certificate version would be good.

  • 2
    Since the ShrewSoft VPN client is an IPSec client, you aren't going to be able to use it for SSL VPNs (AnyConnect or otherwise).
    – fencepost
    Jan 12, 2012 at 23:25
  • Did you ever find a way to do 2? May 16, 2014 at 20:22
  • I have tried the answer by Ian Boyd and it has worked fine for me so far. Thanks, Ian. Aug 10, 2015 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


1. Cisco VPN with pre-shared key

Assume you have been given connection information for a Cisco VPN server:


Password: *318#($@

User ID: [email protected]
Password: ianvendor1234

These are the steps to use ShrewSoft VPN to connect to the Cisco VPN server, rather than the Cisco client:

  1. Create a new connection, and under Host name or IP Address enter the Host address (
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  2. On the Authentication tab, select Authentication Method of Mutual PSK + XAuth:
    enter image description here

  3. On the Authentication -> Local Authentication tab select Identification Type of Key Identifier:
    enter image description here

  4. Still on the Authentication -> Local Authentication tab, enter Key ID String of SUPERVENDOR:
    enter image description here

  5. On the Authentication -> Credentials tab, enter your Pre Shared Key of *318#($@:
    enter image description here

  6. Save the newly created connection, and click Connect

  7. When prompted for a username and password, enter your supplied User ID and Password, and click Connect:
    enter image description here

  • What you mean by group id is it group name?
    – alsadk
    Jun 5, 2013 at 14:49
  • 4
    @alsadk Sure, why not. i'm not the one who decides Cisco's terminology; i'm just the one that wants them dead.
    – Ian Boyd
    Jun 5, 2013 at 14:57
  • thanks for answer. I have a problem where the VPN connection is brought up, it looks like I can send data but nothing being routed back. anything that needs to be done windows (firewall) wise? (windows 8.1 x64) thanks- sam May 19, 2014 at 15:40
  • Just a note for others -- in my company's setup there is an RSA soft-token. Upon initial setup the soft token's pin needed to be reset. The cisco version brought up the reset, the shrewsoft vpn failed with a non descript message. Once I reset the pin from default, shrewsoft works fine.
    – EBarr
    May 5, 2015 at 0:12
  • 1
    We upgraded a few devices to Win10 and noticed that we couldn't use the old school cisco VPN anymore. I can verify that this method works 100%. Thanks a lot for providing this info.
    – lobi
    Sep 17, 2015 at 16:09

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