Setting up Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections to your office is becoming more common as work from home jobs expand. Typically the IT guy at your work should be able to provide you the necessary information needed to connect to your office securely such as IP address to connect to, username, password, and possibly domain. Once you make the VPN connection it will be as if you are working on a computer at the office so you can use things at the office such as network printers, file servers, etc.
Setup A VPN Connection On A Windows 7 Computer:
- Windows 7 Control Panel: To begin the creation of a new Windows 7 VPN connection you should open the Windows 7 Control Panel by clicking on the Windows icon in the taskbar and selecting Control Panel from the pop up menu. This will launch the Windows 7 Control Panel as displayed in the below example image.
- Network & Sharing Center: From the Windows 7 Control Panel displayed in the above example image you should click on the Network & Sharing Center which will launch the Windows 7 Network & Sharing Center which is displayed in the below image.
- Setup New Connection: If you had already configured a VPN connection you could click on Connect To A Network and click on the VPN you wanted to connect to from there. Since this is the first time you are setting up the VPN connection you should click on Setup A New Connection Or Network. This will launch a wizard that will guide you through setting up the VPN connection as displayed below.
- Connect To Workplace: From the above example image you will click on the Connect To A Workplace followed by the Next button to move to the next screen in the wizard shown below.
- New VPN Connection: After selecting that you want to connect to your office VPN the wizard will display any existing connections to verify you have not already created this VPN connection before. Since this is the first time you are making this VPN connection select the “No, create a new connection” radio button and then click the Next button to advance to How You Want To Connect window displayed below.
- Internet Connection VPN: On the above VPN connection wizard screen we will select the top option of “Use My Internet Connection (VPN)” which will advance us to the next screen in the wizard displayed below.
- VPN Internet Address & Name: This is where you begin entering details for the VPN connection itself including the Internet Address (IP Address) and the name of the VPN connection as shown in the above example. After entering both of these items click the Next button to move to the next screen in the VPN connection wizard which is displayed in the below example image.
- Connect To VPN: After entering in the username and password required to login to the VPN connection click the Connect button to attempt a VPN connection. Once the connect button is clicked you will see a couple different windows display including the two below which show the VPN connection attempt and the “You Are Connected” window which will display after a successful VPN connection.
- Verify VPN Connection Active: After making a successful connection the first time you should verify the connection is working properly by verifying it displays Active in the Windows 7 Network And Sharing Center and by opening a Command Prompt and listing all of your network interfaces. Below is what the Network And Sharing Center would look like with a successful Ethernet connection and a successful VPN connection at the same time.
So even though the connection shows active in the Network And Sharing Center you should also make sure that you received an IP address so you can talk on the network that you have made a VPN connection to. This can be done by opening up a Windows 7 Command Prompt and typing “ipconfig /all”. After typing that in a Command Prompt window a lot of information display though we are only looking for the VPN connection information that will be labeled “PPP adapter VPN Connection” as displayed in the below example output.
Example Windows 7 ipconfig PPP Adapter VPN Connection Output:
PPP adapter VPN Connection: Connection-specific DNS Suffix . : Description . . . . . . . . . . . : VPN Connection Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : No Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.19.221(Preferred) Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . : 255.255.255.255 Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : 0.0.0.0 DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . : 192.168.19.1 NetBIOS over Tcpip. . . . . . . . : Enabled
That is it. The VPN connection will automatically be saved so next time you need to connect you can simply open the Network And Sharing Center, click on “Connect To A Network”, and then select the VPN connection you want to connect to.