If anyone is lucky enough to still be working on Cisco PIX’s, then you are probably aware of one of the worst Cisco GUI’s known to man – the PIX Device Manager (aka PDM). Recently, I tried connecting to a PIX 501 through the PDM. The initial log-in screens appeared, but would get stuck at this screen:


The window would completely hang up. My initial thought was since this PIX is physically located far, far away (in Europe, over a slower DSL line), perhaps the PDM is having trouble loading the data. The next step was to connect to a server where the firewall is located, and try the PDM from there. Unfortunately, I had the same trouble.

I had remembered that a while back, on another PIX, I had to remove the “pdm location” entries from the config. I tried that next, and tried the PDM from both locations (remote and local) – same outcome.

Lastly, I turned to good ‘ol Google, and came across a Cisco Wiki article about the problem. Turns out that the culprit is the version of Java being used. Yes my friends, the PDM uses Java. Useful because Java is non-operating system dependent, but a pain because the PDM has since been phased out and only works with older versions of Java. I removed the latest version of Java (from the remote server), downloaded and installed version 1.4.1, and successfully logged into the PDM!

Eventually this PIX will be replaced with an ASA 5505, which introduces a nice CLI and the successor to the PDM, the ASDM.

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