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I have 2 Laptops (One with Windows Vista Home edition and other with Windows7 Professional) at home. I would want to leave them on and running(connected to internet), and access my data from a remote location over internet using VPN/some kind of secure connection

1] How can I setup(install, configure, create a user to login to) VPN server on these both laptops and access them remotely.

2] Does these two flavours of windows I mentioned have anything builtin to set them up as VPN servers or if not, what software/tool I can use to achieve this vpn network at home?

3] Any detailed steps/pointers to achieve this would help.

thank you.


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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Just noticed that page was for XP.
Here are some steps for Vista

  1. From the Start Menu, right click on Network, select Properties. This will open the Network and Sharing Center
  2. In the left side, click on Manage network connections
  3. Click on File / New Incoming Connections
  4. Check who may connect to the computer
  5. Check for people to connect Through the Internet
  6. Double click on Internet Protocol Version 4
  7. Generally I like to specific the range of IP addresses that will be assigned to the VPN Client. Make sure this is outside of any other computer's IP addresses and outside of any other assigned through DHCP.
  8. Click on OK
  9. Click on Allow Access

Here are the Steps for Windows 7

1.First go to Control Panel and open Network and Sharing Center.
2.Click on Change adapter settings.
3.Press Alt+F and select New Incoming connection
4.Put a check on who you’d like to give access to this computer or you can configure a new account by clicking on Add someone,after that click on Next.
5.Put a check mark on Through the Internet. Click on Next.
6.Select the protocols you want to enable for this connection. Click on Allow access.
7.Make a note of the Computer name as this will be used by the client to connect to this computer and after that Click on Close.

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Thanks for the detailed steps. Will try out on the home laptops. – goldenmean Nov 22 '10 at 11:47
@goldenmean - Having never tried it I think you may have trouble on the home edition. Would be interesting to see how it goes. – Joe Taylor Nov 22 '10 at 12:02
Do you think, will this VPN incoming connection work if the server on which I would set this up is connected to Internet using some Service provider and thus configured to have DHCP enabled/private IP address. – goldenmean Nov 22 '10 at 17:06
I Did create a "Incoming Connection" on my home laptop. Now how do I connect to this server. Since It gets its IP address through DHCP, how can I connect to it remotely using a VPN client on other computer? – goldenmean Nov 23 '10 at 13:32

An alternative to using the builtin Windows network facilities for VPN would be to use a personal VPN solution. These provide many advantages over the builtin Windows VPN :

  • Gracefully dealing with clients that have dynamic internet IP addresses
  • NAT firewall hole punching to deal with systems behind NATs
  • The ability to create a mesh network between multiple clients

I've put together a matrix of the different personal VPN solutions with their pros and cons. The matrix is taylored to my specific search (client OSes, presence of NATs etc.). After trying a good number of them, I've ended up using Tinc. I've assembled a document explaining How to install and configure tinc on Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.10 Linux which should help you with the Windows 7/XP clients.

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