Feb 21

Cisco ASA 8.4 on GNS3

I struggled quite a lot of get ASA 8.4 working on GNS3. I had 8.0(2) working and was helping to test the configurations and VPNs but now wanted to get 8.4 running such that I can prepare myself for new NAT statements and migration from 8.0(2) to 8.4(2).

Here are the steps to get it working. All links to any images or keys are removed for legal reasons. Once its gone its gone.

1. Download the ASA 8.4 files for GNS3 from the following address

I am afraid you will have to search google for reputable sources to get firewall ASA842 image. Please dont ask here for the image.

2. Configure GNS3 as following. ( I am using Ver 0.8.2 Beta 2, Also Tested 8.3 with Windows 7 64 bit which worked without any issues).  Type the code below into relevant fields


Qemu Options: -vnc none -vga none -m 1024 -icount auto -hdachs 980,16,32
Kernel cmd line: -append ide_generic.probe_mask=0x01 ide_core.chs=0.0:980,16,32 auto nousb console=ttyS0,9600 bigphysarea=65536
Configure the paths for Initrd and Kernel to where you have extracted the files.


























3. Once the firewall is up and running use following activation keys

Again the activation keys are in public domain so get it using your search capabilities.


It will take a while (10-15 min) to accept the second activation key and will take the same time at first reboot.

That's all done and we have a working firewall to play with.



Now if you want to run two ASAs, you will have to change the Qemu options on the second firewall as below

Qemu Options: -vnc :2 none -vga none -m 1024 -icount auto -hdachs 980,16,32



Please check the comments at the end of post where you will find different ways to resolve issues if you face any. Specially very helpfull comments from GD and are detailed below


Download and install the latest version of GNS3 0.8.2 after that download the •Qemu 0.13.0 patched 32 bits binary for Windows from
Copy and replace all downloaded qemu files and folders with existing qemu files and folders under GNS3 folder.


After you have ASA running in GNS and want to play with ASDM, here is the guide to follow



and if you want to connect two GNS3 networks running on two different PCs, use following


I have posted a LAB Guide for migrating NAT from 8.2 to 8.3/8.4 Version, which is still work in progress but has a lot of stuff already added into it



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  1. Shri


    My ASA in GNS3 got installed when i used the 842 IOS for kernel and init. However i am unable to connect the gigabit interface in ASA to any Fastethernet interface in a Router. I am unable to find any other interface. Can someone please help or has anyone faced a similar issue recently?

    – Thanks

  2. Isabox

    I have been using this for the last few months. Everything is great. However, the redundant interface does not work properly. I mean if I turn off the active interface, the standby interface does not take over.

    It seems to me, the problem is with interface fail-over license. Has anyone been successful with redundant interface configuration?


  3. Hanif

    I am using GNS3.0.8.6. Regarding Router no problem but ASA can start but I press the Console no prompt is coming. I can putty is running but prompt is comes up. Any help will be much appreciate. Without ASA i can’t test ASDM is needed for my next exam.


    Hanif .

    1. Kaustubh

      Hello Hanif,
      Please share the configuration of your PC

    2. Phil

      If you are running a 32 bit version of Windows, upgrade to a 64 bit version asap with as much RAM as your system supports or you can afford. Since I have been running 64 bit Win 8, no such problems have been encountered. I have also had 4 ASA’s up and running at the same time.

  4. Kaustubh

    I am using Lenovo laptop Core 2 Duo 2.1 Ghz with 3 Gb Ram.
    When using 2 ASA with 8.4 (2) ios the system getting slow & hinged.
    What is recommended system configuration to run GNS large labs.?

    1. ankur

      you need to increase your RAM…

      1. kaustubh

        Thanks Ankur… I am planning for 8 GB RAM with my new laptop….

  5. Lateef

    Hi Team,

    For me both ASA’s work fine but NOT together. Any one at a time works fine. My configurations below

    Qemu Options: -vnc none -vga none -m 1024 -icount auto -hdachs 980,16,32
    kernal cmd line: -append ide_generic.probe_mask=0x01 ide_core.chs=0.0:980,16,32 auto nousb console=ttyS0,9600 bigphysarea=65536

    ASA2: -vnc :2 none -vga none -m 1024 -icount auto -hdachs 980,16,32
    kernal cmd line: -append ide_generic.probe_mask=0x01 ide_core.chs=0.0:980,16,32 auto nousb console=ttyS0,9600 bigphysarea=65536

    Any suggestions will be appreciated..
    Many thanks in advance
    System configurations:
    Processor: Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E7450 @ 2.40GHz 2.40 (4 processors)
    Memory: 16.0GB
    System Type: 64-bit Operating System Windows server 2008 Standard

  6. sherif

    i have problem with ASA interface when i make interface up “can not change interface status” also inside & outside interfaces .can you advise me what can i do?

  7. David

    Hi, I could not install gns 3 emulating an ASA, I followed the instructions but I could do, I tried with the latest version of GNS 3 with Windows 7 32-bit. Thanks for the help.

  8. Onkar

    Does this IOS support High Availability feature?

    1. xerunetworks

      Yes after you apply activation key

  9. JulieHimaya


    It works for me on a single ASA.

    But when I tried to set up with 2 ASAs, following the steps provided. The second ASA will prompt on “Network Error: Connection refused ”

    Any idea on how to resolve this issue with the second ASA?

    Appreciate any responds.


    1. Mark

      I have the same problem, did you get it resolved?

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