Set up a VPN in Win­dows

MARK SHEA and IAN PAUL look at when and how to use the VPN client built into Win­dows

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

VPN (vir­tual pri­vate net­work) tech­nol­ogy lets a com­puter us­ing a pub­lic in­ter­net con­nec­tion join a pri­vate net­work by way of a se­cure ‘tun­nel’ be­tween that ma­chine and the net­work. This pro­tects the data from be­ing seen or tam­pered with.

The two most com­mon use cases are con­sumer VPN ser­vices that al­low in­di­vid­u­als to surf pri­vately from home or a pub­lic set­ting, and busi­ness-ori­ented solutions that al­low em­ploy­ees to se­curely con­nect to a cor­po­rate net­work re­motely.

For the most part, VPN con­nec­tions are handled by cus­tom soft­ware, or by third-party generic soft­ware such as the OpenVPN client or Cisco AnyCon­nect.

An­other op­tion that’s gen­er­ally sup­ported by most vir­tual pri­vate net­works is to use Mi­crosoft’s built-in VPN client. This is use­ful when some VPNs don’t pro­vide their own client or if you want to use a VPN pro­to­col not sup­ported by your VPN’s client such as IKEv2.

The down­side to us­ing the built-in client is that you have to select a spe­cific server to use as op­posed to jump­ing be­tween dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions the way you can with a com­mer­cial VPN ser­vice. On the other hand, most em­ployer-supplied VPNs will of­fer a limited num­ber of servers you can con­nect to, which makes us­ing this client ideal.

Set up a VPN in Win­dows 10

Step 1: Click on the Cor­tana search bar or but­ton on the taskbar and type vpn.

Step 2: The top choice should be Change vir­tual pri­vate net­works (VPN). Al­ter­na­tively, open the Set­tings app and go to Net­work & In­ter­net > VPN. Step 3: At the top of the VPN screen in the Set­tings app, click Add a VPN con­nec­tion.

Step 4: In the screen that ap­pears, en­ter the de­tails for your VPN con­nec­tion. Un­der ‘VPN provider’ click on the drop-down menu, and select Win­dows (built-in). This will also change ‘VPN type’ to Au­to­matic, and ‘Type of sign-in info’ to User name and pass­word.

Step 5: Next, fill out the ‘Con­nec­tion name’ and ‘Server name or ad­dress’. Th­ese vary based on your VPN provider – whether a third-party ser­vice or an em­ployer. For this ex­am­ple, we’re us­ing Acevpn (fave.

co/2qpPrdC), a client­less VPN ser­vice that sup­ports var­i­ous con­nec­tion types such as IKEv2, L2TP, and PPTP. Step 6: Scroll down this screen and you’ll see a spot to en­ter your user­name and pass­word for the VPN

– again pro­vided by your VPN ser­vice. Once the in­for­ma­tion is en­tered, click Save, and close the Set­tings app.

Step 7: Click the Wi-Fi icon in the sys­tem tray on your taskbar, and select your newly cre­ated VPN con­nec­tion, which should be right at the top of the list. It should au­to­mat­i­cally start to con­nect, and if all goes well the con­nec­tion process should hap­pen rel­a­tively quickly.

The above process works for the eas­ier VPN con­nec­tion types such as PPTP and L2TP, but if you want to use IKEv2 that re­quires in­stalling a root cer­tifi­cate from your VPN provider. Keep in mind that not ev­ery ser­vice sup­ports IKEv2, so us­ing this method de­pends greatly on your VPN ser­vice provider or em­ployer.

Re­gard­less, here’s how it works on Win­dows 10. First, down­load your VPN provider’s IKEv2 cer­tifi­cate to your desk­top or some­where else that’s con­ve­nient. Next, dou­ble-click on the cer­tifi­cate file and a se­cu­rity warn­ing pops-up. Click Open.

On the next win­dow that opens click Install cer­tifi­cate. Now we’ve ar­rived at the Cer­tifi­cate Im­port Wiz­ard. Select the Lo­cal Ma­chine ra­dio but­ton and click Next. On the fol­low­ing screen make sure to select the

ra­dio but­ton la­belled Place all cer­tifi­cates in the fol­low­ing store, and click Browse.

A smaller win­dow opens with a folder tree. Select Trusted Root Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Au­thor­i­ties and then click OK. Now we’re back at the Cer­tifi­cate Im­port Wiz­ard win­dow. From here click Next.

The hard part is over. On the next screen click Fin­ish and then OK in the smaller win­dow.

Now that the cer­tifi­cate is in­stalled we can set up the IKEv2 VPN us­ing the same step-bystep in­struc­tions above. Just make sure that you select IKEv2 un­der ‘VPN type’, and then use the server name, ad­dress, and user­name and pass­word pro­vided by your ser­vice provider.

Once you’ve con­nected to the VPN, check to see that your VPN is work­ing by vis­it­ing IPleak.net. You should see an IP ad­dress, and DNS servers that are dif­fer­ent from your non-VPN state.

If you don’t, there are a num­ber of po­ten­tial causes that we can’t go into here. Your best bet is to check with your com­pany’s IP depart­ment or the sup­port ser­vice of your VPN.

How­ever, one easy and com­mon fix for IKEv2 prob­lems is to right-click on your Wi-Fi or eth­er­net

icon in the sys­tem tray, and select Open Net­work and Shar­ing Cen­tre from the con­text menu. When the Con­trol Panel opens click Change adap­tor set­tings on the left side, then right-click the name of your VPN con­nec­tion and go to Prop­er­ties > In­ter­net Pro­to­col Ver­sion 4 (TCP/IPv4) > Prop­er­ties > Advanced... > IP Set­tings. Check ‘Use de­fault gate­way on re­mote net­work’ and click OK. Close up all the win­dows and try IP Leak again. Set up a VPN in Win­dows 7 Step 1: Click the Start but­ton. In the search bar, type vpn and then select Set up a vir­tual pri­vate net­work (VPN) con­nec­tion.

Step 2: En­ter the IP ad­dress or do­main name of the server to which you want to con­nect. If you’re con­nect­ing to a work net­work, your IT ad­min­is­tra­tor can pro­vide the best ad­dress.

Step 3: If you want to set up the con­nec­tion, but not con­nect, select Don’t con­nect now; oth­er­wise, leave it blank and click Next.

Step 4: On this next screen, you can ei­ther put in your user­name and pass­word, or leave it blank. You’ll be prompted for it again on the ac­tual con­nec­tion. Click Con­nect.

Step 5: To con­nect, click on the Win­dows net­work logo on the lower-right part of your screen; then select Con­nect un­der ‘VPN Con­nec­tion’.

Step 6: In the ‘Con­nect VPN Con­nec­tion’ box, en­ter the ap­pro­pri­ate do­main and your lo­gin cre­den­tials; then click Con­nect.

Step 7: If you can’t con­nect, the prob­lem could be due to the server con­fig­u­ra­tion. (There are dif­fer­ent types of VPNs.) Check with your net­work ad­min­is­tra­tor to see what kind is in use – such as PPTP – then, on the ‘Con­nect VPN Con­nec­tion’ screen, select Prop­er­ties.

Step 8: Nav­i­gate to the Se­cu­rity tab and select the spe­cific ‘Type of VPN’ from the drop-down list. You may also have to un­s­e­lect In­clude Win­dows lo­gon do­main un­der the Op­tions tab. Then click OK and Con­nect.

It takes a lit­tle work, but set­ting up a VPN us­ing the Win­dows built-in client is rel­a­tively quick, and as a user it’s a help­ful skill to have.

Win­dows 10’s built-in VPN client con­fig­u­ra­tion win­dow

An IKEv2 VPN con­nec­tion ready to go in Win 10

Win­dows 10’s Cer­tifi­cate Im­port Wiz­ard

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