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. Craig Coleman

    Has anyone got an activation key for a multi context option??? i need to play with this to learn.
    thanks guys and gals.

  2. sidd

    Thanks for the post, very helpful. Everything works perfectly as explained except the interfaces. When I tried to connect the ASA to another device its showing 5 interfaces (e0,e1..e5) but when I did show run it was showing (g0,g1..g4) how can we correlate between them

    1. xerunetworks

      Consider e0 as g0 so e0=g0, e1=g1 and so on

      1. sidd

        Thanks somehow I missed g5 interface in the config but reboot fixed it.Thanks.

  3. evan

    I got the ASA842 to load but when I bring another device say a Router and connect it to the ASA, Only the Router appears in the console. I can load the ASA and console in if it’s the only device. That’s cool but it defeats the purpose of the Firewall. Do you have any thoughts about this?
    Again the ASA comes up fine but only if it’s the only Device.
    Thanks Again.. Oh let me say the only way I can make it work is by launching QEMU wrapper in the Terminal with the Python /x/x/ qemuwrapper.py command.

  4. Craig Coleman

    thanks for the info, this is fantastic stuff however i have one problem (hopefully its me being stupid) but i have created a few labs with the ASA's in which seem to work great in operation, i save them and re-open them and everything is fine, HOWEVER…… when i start another lab it appears that parts of the config are showing already in place from a previous lab….. is this to do with the fact that both ASA's in the different labs were both called ASA1??
    Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. 

  5. sheif

    the terminal freeze when i enter the activiation key !!

    1. xerunetworks

      You will have to wait atleast 15-20 min for it to come back after entering activation keys or maybe more depending ur machine, also the next reboot for ASA will also take longer



  7. Adriya

    Previously I had problem console to ASA (terminated soon as I tried to connect), I fixed  it by changing the QEMU IP host binding setting, from  to my loopback interface.

  8. Stickith

    Thanks for this post! You did a great job and I can't wait to get this setup! How did you get this working with the 8.4 image?  I spent a few days trying to get the image extracted but had absolutely zero success.  πŸ™
    Thanks πŸ™‚

    1. xerunetworks

      I am also not command line genius so got help of a friend to get exrract . Anyway overall this post and the download file is collected from various forums and blogs cuz it took me three days of serach to get a working solution so i wrote this for myself but i think then a lot of other peiple at least were able to find all info at one place. So i cant and dont take credit of all whats in this post.

  9. novice

    Very helpful post. Had my ASA running on CLI but I only have 603ASDM which is incompatible with 842ASA, do you guys happen to have a link where I can download 647 or any version compatible with 842ASA? Thanks! 

  10. hardy

    worked like a charm! . Takes a hell lot of time to apply license . For me it took around 30 mins, but works if u have patience

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