How to setup Cisco ASDM in Demo mode

Today, I’ve encountered some issues during installing Cisco ASDM in Demo mode. In this post I will address this issues and show a step by step instruction on how to successfully setup ASDM for Demo mode.

In my attempts, I started by installing the lattest available versions for ASDM Demo (ASDM Demo 7.3.1) and Java JRE (Java 8 update 91) but finally got an unworkable setup. Every time trying to start demo mode a generic error that state that Demo software is not installed popping up (screen below).

How To setup ASDM demo mode - error mesage

Furthermore, if you go to application folder in Program Files (x86) you will see an empty ASDM\Demo folder, as like Demo mode not even installed.

After several attempts, I haven’t found a better solution than to downgrade my Java JRE (8u91) to the previous major release (lattest update): Java 7 update 72. Also, at least when you start setup process you must have a 32 bit version of Java installed.

To complete a Cisco ASDM setup in Demo mode:

  1. Download the lattest available Cisco ASDM Demo setup file. For this, go to Cisco download page at Products – Security – Firewalls – Firewall Management – Adaptive Security Device Manager – Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Device Manager and search through the ASDM versions available the latest one that have the word demo in setup (msi) file title. The release policy for ASDM demo don’t coincide with that for ASDM. At the moment of this writing the lattest available ASDM Demo was: ASDM Demo 7.3.1. For download to succeed you will need a service contract associated with your cisco.com login, otherwise a simple googling will reveal a leaked image somewhere in Internet.
  2. Download the latest available Java JRE 7 release (Java 7 update 72), both for 32 and 64 bit with 32 bit being mandatory (setup files are jre-7u72-windows-i586.exe and respectively jre-7u72-windows-x64.exe). Install both versions, these will function perfect together.
  3. Launch ASDM Demo setup and go through a banal installation wizard. The ASDM Demo 7.3.1 setup will install also the ASDM-IDM Launcher of version 1.5(73) so if you have a newer Launcher already installed it will be overlapped. If you later try to connect with this older Launcher to an updated ASA ASDM you will prompt for Launcher update. To avoid this version swapping back and forward I will recommend to setup DEMO mode somewhere on another PC, perhaps on a Virtual Box/VMware Player VM.

Note0: The steps above was successfully tested in a Windows Server 2012R2 OS Virtual Machine.

Note1: For a guide on how to disable Java Update to proceed automatically you can read here.  Simple unchecking the Automatically Updates from Java Control Panel is not enough you will need edit specific registry key.

If everything succeeded, your ASDM\Demo folder in Program Files (x86) should be full with plenty of files:

How To setup ASDM demo mode - demo folder

Now, we can start using Cisco ASDM in DEMO mode: start ASDM Launcher (icon on your desktop) – check Run in Demo Mode:

How To setup ASDM demo mode - launcher for demo mode

Select the preferred configuration, and click OK, ASDM Demo mode should start. In the above screen note the Device IP Address/Name field automatically filled with a localhost address (not appear on first run).

How To setup ASDM demo mode - asdm demo started

Now, you can start gamming with an imaginary topology with configured ASA devices.