FIX: VPN failed to Load Preferences on Cisco AnyConnect

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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Using a VPN client like Cisco AnyConnect should allow for unprecedented end-point access for both your employees and you. The benefits of using a service like this are more than obvious, as you can access the company network remotely from any PC or mobile device.

Nonetheless, even though a rare issue might cast some shade upon the overall functionality, they’re usually simple to sort out. The one we’re addressing today is the “VPN failed to Load Preferences” error.

This error prevents users from connecting to VPN network.

What to do if VPN failed to load preferences

  1. Reinstall the client
  2. Delete the Cisco folder
  3. Change security settings
  4. Remove XML Profile

S0lution 1 –  Reinstall the client

The first rather obvious step is to try and reinstall the client. Some users suggest that a certain version of AnyConnect won’t work, so you might get it working after acquiring a more recent release. You won’t start from a scratch as the ProgramData configuration and profile files will stay untouched.

After you’ve uninstalled the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client, navigate to the official website and download a fresh installer. If the problem is still reoccurring, move to the next step.

Solution 2 – Delete the Cisco folder

Possible corruption in the configuration files can lead to issues like this. As the “VPN failed to load preferences” error states, the client is unable to get the preferences by which the client is configured.

In order to resolve this, you can try and delete all involved preference files from a few locations.

Here are the files you should delete:

  • %ProgramData%CiscoCisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility ClientProfile
  • %AppData%LocalCiscoCisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client

Deleting this folder will remove all settings. Some users suggest reinstalling the client afterward, but you can try it out first and then act accordingly if the issue persists.

— RELATED: What to do if Cisco VPN failed to enable virtual adapter

Solution 3 – Change security settings

There seems to be another possible reason for the “VPN failed to load preferences” error. Namely, it seems that it plagues only users who don’t have the necessary access permissions enabled. You can correct this and, hopefully, this will resolve the problem. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Navigate to %ProgramData%CiscoCisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.
  2. Right-click on the Profile folder and open Properties.
  3. Choose the Security tab.
  4. Click Edit (gonna need the administrative permission for this).
  5. Check the “Full control” box and confirm changes.

Solution 4 – Remove XML Profile

Finally, if none of the previous solutions proved fruitful in resolving the error at hand, we have another thing you can try. Of course, there’s always an option to contact the support and send them all necessary logs in order for them to help you. Just, before doing that, give these steps a try:

    1. Enable Group-alias or Group-URL for tunnel-groups.
    2. Back up the XML Profile and remove it from the Adaptive Security Appliance.
    3. Now, remove (delete) the following files from the affected machine:
      • Preferences.xml
      • preferences_global.xml
      • the XML profile in the Profiles folder
    4. Finally, reconnect the client.

With that said, we can conclude this article. In case you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to tell us in the comments section below.


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