Cisco ASDM: Unable to read configuration from the ASA

Posted on 2010-09-02
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
ASDM version: v1.5(20)
ASA 5540 7.2(1)

I get the following error message when I try to login to ASDM:
"ASDM is unable to read the configuration from the ASA. Please check the configuration and your connection and then try again by clicking the Refresh icon."

This only happens when I login with a username which has privilege other than 15.  When I login with a username which has the highest privilege (15), everything works fine.  Any ideas?
Question by:hoggiee
LVL 14

Expert Comment

Comment Utility
try like this

ASDM ver 1.5(20) cannot be ,it has to be minimu asdm521.bin to support ASA version 7.2(1)
see the url :

did u set the below commad on ASA

asdm image flash:asdm-xxx.bin

if any of the above workwround is not working , then try
Uninstall all copies of java from your machine, google search java 1.4.2 and install that and give it a try.
LVL 57

Expert Comment

by:Pete Long
Comment Utility
Cannot Access PIX / ASA  ASDM

Make sure the problem is NOT on your client machine first.

1. First make sure you have Java installed
2. If you’re using a new version of java (Above Version 6 update 9) then downgrade your version.
3. Make sure your using Internet Explorer/Firefox or Mozilla.
4. Make sure you are NOT trying to access the ADSM through a proxy server.
5. Can another PC access the ADSM?
6. If the ADSM Opens but will not launch properly > File > Clear ASDM Cache > Clear internal Log Buffer > Refresh Running Configuration with

Before you proceed make sure that the ASDM has been enabled.

1. Connect to the firewall either by SSH/Telnet/Console Cable.
2. Issue an "enable" command and enter the enable password.
3. Issue a show run command and make sure that you see the following in the running configuration on the device.

Http server enable

Note If you see "no http server enable" then its disabled and you need to go to "Configure Terminal" mode and issue a "http server enable" command.
Note If you see "http server enable {a number}" then it has been set up on a different port number and needs to be accesses via https://ip address:{a


4. Providing the server is enabled you need to ensure that you have been granted access to it you can grant access to a network or an individual host.
5. Ensure the IP address you are trying to open the ASDM from is included in the config, i.e.

Http inside <- Will allow this one client
http inside <- Will allow the entire network

Note if you are outside the firewall yours should say "outside" not "inside".

6. Next make sure the Firewall is looking at the correct file to launch its ADSM look for the following,

asdm image flash:/asdm-506.bin
asdm image flash:/asdm-501.bin

asdm image disk0:/asdm-522.bin
asdm image disk0:/asdm-613.bin

if that command is missing or wrong you won’t be able to launch the ASDM either to make sure that the file exists issue a "show flash" command,

Firewall# show flash
Initializing disk0: cache, please wait....Done.
-#- --length-- -----date/time------ path
  6 5511168    Jan 01 2003 00:07:10 asa707-k8.bin
  7 0          May 15 2008 05:37:16 crypto_archive
  8 6161700    May 15 2008 05:40:24 asdm-507.bin
 11 8312832    Aug 20 2008 08:51:02 asa722-k8.bin
 12 5623108    Aug 20 2008 08:53:04 asdm-522.bin

229728256 bytes available (25698304 bytes used)

Make sure the Version referenced actually exists in the flash memory.

Accepted Solution

cmonteith earned 400 total points
Comment Utility
While yes,  you certainly should update your ASDM code for stability, the problem your seeing is kind of by design. I don't have anything running super old ASDM, so I can't verify this, but I'm pretty sure in the old revs of ASDM you had to have priv 15 to access.  In the more modern versions you can have difrent levels of users on ASDM.

Now assuming you're not on a buggy version of ASDM, you should be able to configure ASDM to allow three levels of viewing.  The details on it can be found here (based on ASDM 5.2):

Look in the section about the authorization tab and it should give you the info you need to set up the various rights....assuming that is your overall goal.
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Assisted Solution

anoopkmr earned 100 total points
Comment Utility

Here's a link how to set it up.

There are 16 levels of authorization, 0-15. 15 has the highest privilege level and 0 the least
By default the ASDM will only honor 3 different levels, priv 3(read only), priv 5(monitor), priv15(admin).
For WebVPN configuration like bookmarks, smart-tunnels or portal customization, the ASDM loads the xml file and that functionality is pre-defined for privilege 15 users and it's something we cannot change. We would need to use a privilege 15 for this changes.

Author Closing Comment

Comment Utility
As I mentioned in my question, I have problem only with < privilege 15 users.  Therefore I think it has nothing to do with the JAVA version on the client PC, or any missing ASDM / HTTP commands in my ASA.  After following the guides by cmonteith and anoopkmr, everything works fine.  Thanks!

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