Ok a while back I promised a part 2 for the VPN configuration guides so here it finally is. I dont know why i didnt get this done sooner considering it will be quick and painless. I will cover both XP and Windows 7 but not Vista. Dont worry Vista is a combination of both so you can figure it out from the following screenshots and article.
I will start by covering a few things that apply to any client OS. First you need to get the IP address of the server that you wish to connect VIA VPN to. You can do this by physicaly going to the server and opening a web browser then typing www.whatsmyip.org. This site will print out your IP in large bold numbers. Next you need to make sure your firewall is forwarding VPN (PPTP) traffic to your VPN server (the machine we configured in the first half of this article). I will cover port forwarding for VPN and RDP traffic in a later article.
If you have Linux I recommend reading about the Linux PPTP client found here. The client appears to be covered in all of the major Distro’s with a guide for each located on the right side of the site. In my past experience PPTP and Linux don’t mix well, proceed only if your capable and a die hard Linux fan.
OK Right now lets jump into the thick of it shall we. First I will cover XP then Vista / Windows 7.
- Start by navigating to your control panel (Start Menu/ Control Panel).
- Now open Network Connections from within the control panel.
- To the left select “Create a new connection”.
- Select next then select “Connect to the network at my workplace”.
- Select next again then check “Virtual Private Network Connection”.
- Select next and type and name you wish into this first box, this name is your referrence for the connection.
- Select next and type the IP address we made a note of earlier in this article then select finish.
- Now you will see your finished connection but we are not done yet. From here you can have the connect remember your username and password and create a shortcut on the desktop. If you are connecting to a domain you may have to enter your username as domain\username.
Before we connect skip down past the Vista / Windows 7 section and read the “Finalizing the Connection” section.
Vista / Windows 7
- Start by navigating to your control panel (Start Menu/ Control Panel) or in the lower right taskbar click on the network icon and select “Open Network and Sharing Center”.
- If you took the control panel route we need to select “View Network Status and Tasks”. This may be slightly different on Vista.
- In the lower window pane select “Set up a new connection or network”.
- Select next then select “Connect to a workplace”.
- Select next and if asked select you will create a new connection.
- Select next again then select “Use my Internet connection (VPN)”.
- Select next and type the IP address we made a note of earlier into the box labeled “Internet Address” and type a name for the connection into the box labeled “Destination name:”, this name is your referrence for the connection. Check “Dont Connect Now” and select next.
- You can now enter your VPN username and password and if connection to a Domain you can enter that as well. When complete select create but dont connect when prompted.
Before we connect read the “Finalizing the Connection” section.
Finalizing the Connection
- With your VPN connection window open click on properties and then select the Networking Tab.
- Highlight “Internet Protocol TCP/IP” and select Properties again.
- Under the General tab un-select the check box that reads “Use Default Gateway on Remote Network”. The reason we want to do this is because it slows down the connection considerably. When this box is checked, all traffic from your computer must route through the VPN server before going out to the internet. You can see how this would slow things down but there is also a beneficial side of it as well. If you are at work and setup a VPN connection at your home you can connect to your home VPN and route your web traffic through your home network to bypass any web filtering on your office network.
- The last thing on the list is to select the DNS tab, in here you will want to add the DNS server on the remote network if you plan to access any servers or network shares by name and not just by IP.
That’s it for the basic stuff, there are more advanced settings within the Microsoft VPN client but we wont get into that until later.