Enable anonymous access in IBM Cognos Express

Ok, in this post I show you how to enable anonymous access in IBM Cognos Express, or how you can bypass the logon screen without having to provide a username and password. Why? Euhm … because you can. And just so you know, before you start, read the entire post or you might end up with sweaty armpits. Important to know is that Cognos Express is based Cognos BI and TM1. So although it might seem you have less configuration options, you still have many of them if you know where to look. So what we intend to do is to switch on anonymous access.

Enable anonymous access in IBM Cognos Express

This is how it works:  

Log on to your Cognos server and browse to “..\yourinstallationlocation\IBM Cognos Express\configuration”. Locate and open the file “cogstartup.xml”. This is actually the file that in Cognos BI keeps the settings that you configure in the IBM Cognos Configuration tool. It is loaded only at startup. Open it in an editor, notepad will do, but I use Notepad++. Locate the parameter “allowAnon” and change it to “true”.

So you ar looking for this:

<crn:parameter name=”allowAnon”>
<crn:value xsi:type=”xsd:boolean”>false</crn:value>
</crn:parameter>

How to enable anonymous access in IBM Cognos Express?

And you want to make it this:

<crn:parameter name=”allowAnon”>
<crn:value xsi:type=”xsd:boolean”>true</crn:value>
</crn:parameter>

How to enable anonymous access in IBM Cognos Express?

Now save and close the file. Go to IBM Cognos Express Manager and restart your services. After restart clear your browser cache or whatever you need to do and browse to Cognos Express. If things went like they were supposed to go you can now see the page without the need of logging in.

BUT be aware with enabling anonymous access in IBM Cognos Express!

Goto “http://yourserver:19300/cognos_express/manager/”. As you can see below, you are landing on the welcome page, NOT the manager page. So what you need to do is log of, log on as admin and go to the manager url (otherwise you will be redirected back to the welcome landing page).

How to enable anonymous access in IBM Cognos Express?

That’s all there is to it to get rid of the logon screen in IBM Cognos Express. Better ways to do this? Please let me know and post it in the comments.

Update: When you do the above, for whatever reason, you will log on to Architect as anonymous. Meaning you will see nothing. To bypass this issue, you need to adapt the cogstartup.xml back to true and restart. Then log on to Architect as administrator and adapt the security for your server so that the user “Cognos\anonymous” becomes admin. Then change cogstartup.xml back to false and restart. Keep in mind that in your other CX parts you will also be entering as anonymous  with corresponding rights, unless you change things. Obviously this is all rather unsafe and only suitable for your own dev environment to save some time.

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