How to Create a VPN Connection
So if you’ve been reading some of the other how to articles on this site, you probably can remote into your pc at home without too much trouble. One thing that might help though is to have some kind of encryption on this connection. As always, you can pay for a service to provide this for you. But remember, they will have the keys to the kingdom. With a little bit of time and the instructions here, you can setup VPN access to your home machine for free. Don't forget to give your home pc a static IP and to enable the VPN passthrough on the access point. There is a screenshot at the end of this article of the VPN setting. If you are unsure how to set a static IP or how to generaly setup a pc to allow remote access then please see my article on "How to Remote Into a PC Through A Wireless Access Point." That will get you in whether or not you setup VPN access.
Let’s jump right in.
1) First thing you need to do is to setup the home pc to accept incoming connections. Here are the instructions for XP. Go to the control panel and then to “Network Connections.” Double-click the “New Connection Wizard” and then next.
New Connection Wizard
Once here select “Set up and advanced connection and then next.
2) Now select “Accept incoming connections”
3) On the next screen you are asked to check the device you want to use for incoming connections. If you don’t see your nic card then don’t worry. It’s always on so just click next.
4) You will then see a screen that ask if you want to allow VPN connections. Make sure you allow VPN connections, then click next.
Allow the VPN
5) On the next screen you will select who can connect via the VPN. Put a check next to the account you want to allow.
Who Can Connect
6) Then next screen is for selecting specific protocols to use. It’s OK to check all the boxes. Then click next.
7) On the next screen simply click “Finish” and we’re done.
Now if you’re using Win7 you’ll:
1) Go to the “Networking and Sharing Center” and then click on “Change Adapter Settings.”
2) Press the alt key to bring up the menu, then click “New Incoming Connection.”
3)On the next screen, select who can connect.
Win7 Who Can Connect
4) On the next screen, select how they will be connecting. Of course for us this will be “Through the Internet.”
Win7 How to Connect the VPN
5) The next screen once again is asking about what protocols to use and it’s safe to select them all and click “Allow Access.”
6) Then Win7 will configure VPN access and present you with the Computer Name.
Configure the Laptop
So much for allowing VPN access. Now let’s configure our laptop to connect remotely to our home pc. We’ll only detail these steps for Win7 since it’s unlikely there are a lot laptops out there running XP these days.
1) Go to the “Network and Sharing Center” and click on “Set up a new connection or network.”
2) Next, click on “Connect to a workplace.”
Connect to a Workplace
3) On the next screen click on “Use my Internet connection (VPN)
Connect Using Internet (VPN)
4) On the next screen you’ll need to enter the public IP of the machine you want to connect to. This will be you cable/dsl modem address. See google or my article on remote access if you don’t know how to find this information.
5) On the next screen you will enter the username and password for the account you have allowed on the other end.
Remote PC Account Credentials
6) Then click “Connect.” Win7 will try to connect right away but you can click the skip button and it will stop trying and tell you that the connection is ready to use.
Ready to Connect
There is on last thing that needs to be done. Log onto your wireless access point and enable the VPN passthrough. This will be on the "Security" tab on a linksys.
Config is Done!
That’s it! So now it’s time to go to a friend or neighbors house and test our VPN. Once you are on the Internet at some distant location, open up the “Network and Sharing Center.” Then click on “Connect to a Network.”
Try it out!
You will see a pop-up with your VPN listed. Click on it and then click “Connect.”
If all has been configured correctly you will connect through the Internet to your pc at home. Then you can open up Remote Desktop. In the box that opens up you now need to put in the Computer Name of the remote pc. Remember that in previous articles we put the IP address of the remote machine in the box. But now that we have a secure/encrypted VPN connection, it is as though we are on the same network at home. So, it’s just like you were on your home LAN using remote desktop. You open up the app and put the computer name, not the IP, in the box.
All for now.
- Rome's IT Guy