Image 1 of 24
VPNs can be a lifesaver. Secure remote access enables additional productivity, saves travel time and empowers administrators and other staff. Here’s how to create an ever-popular VPN connection in Windows Vista.
Use Windows Vista’s Network console (reached from the Start menu) to create a VPN connection.
The network console
Windows Vista’s Network console. Click Network And Sharing Center to proceed.
Network And Sharing Center
The Network And Sharing Center appears. Click Connect To A Network (or Set Up Connection Or Network).
Connect to a network
The Connect To A Network window will appear. Highlight Set Up A Connection Or Network and click Connect.
Choose a connection option
Specify the type of network connection you wish to create (to create a VPN connection, choose the Connect To A Workplace option, then click the Next button).
Connect to a workplace
Specify how you wish to connect. In this example, we’ll use the most common scenario (using the existing Internet Connection VPN).
Internet address and destination name
Enter the Internet address and destination name for the VPN connection in the supplied fields. In addition, specify whether you wish to connect now, a smart card is to be used and other users should be permitted to use the connection using the supplied checkboxes, then click Next.
Enter username and password
Supply a valid username and password possessing remote access rights. In addition, enter the domain name and click Connect.
Once Vista completes the VPN connection, Windows displays a confirmation message.
System tray icon
Windows also leverages the network icon (the two computers with the earth logo) to confirm that a VPN connection is active.
Set network location
Windows Vista prompts users to specify the location from which the user is connecting to the VPN network. Options include Home, Work and Public Location.
Successfully set network settings
Windows Vista confirms network settings have been successfully set (once the user specifies the network location).
Network and Sharing Center addition
Now that the new VPN connection is created, it appears within the Network And Sharing Center.
VPN connection status
Users can view a VPN’s connection status at any time by opening the Network console’s Network And Sharing Center and clicking the View Status link for the respective VPN.
Connecting to the VPN
Once the VPN connection is created, Windows Vista users can connect to the VPN using the Connect link found within the Network And Sharing Center. Clicking the Connect link displays this dialog box (which is used to create the VPN connection).
If users choose not to save the user name and password, Windows Vista prompts users to enter the password.
VPN Connection Properties - General Tab
A VPN connection’s Properties can be set by clicking Manage Network Settings within Vista’s Network And Sharing Center and selecting Properties. Here you can see the settings configured using the General tab.
VPN Connection Properties - Options Tab
Among the options you can configure for a VPN connection are displaying connection progress, prompting for user names and passwords, including the Windows logon domain and more.
VPN Connection Properties - Security Tab
Using the Security tab, Vista users configure data encryption and identity verification parameters.
VPN Connection Properties - Networking Tab
The Networking tab displays the items the VPN connection uses (such as TCP/IP and Client for Microsoft Networks). Settings for these items is configured by highlighting the item and clicking Properties.
VPN Connection Properties - Sharing Tab
Windows Vista users wishing to share their Internet connection with other users must configure Internet Connection Sharing (using the Sharing tab).
VPN connection shortcut icon
Once a new VPN connection is created within Windows Vista, a shortcut icon is created for that connection. You can access the icon within the Network Connections window.
Disconnecting a VPN connection
To disconnect an active VPN connection, Windows Vista users need only double-click the System Tray Network icon and select Connect Or Disconnect, which will display this window for an active VPN connection. Users can then highlight the respective network connection and click the Disconnect button.
Once Windows Vista successfully disconnects a VPN connection, a confirmation window appears.