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I have a batch script I've written for a client, that uses rasdial to establish a PPTP VPN connection, to automatically copy some files from another company's remote machine. I'm trying to move that script to a Windows Server 2012 R2 Core installation, and rasdial doesn't exist.

It is worth noting that rasdial is installed on Windows 2012 R2 standard edition and foundation... but I don't know what features/roles it came from, if any (and Google has failed me).

So:

  • Is there a way to get rasdial on the Core server? I've tried copying the binaries, as well as any DLLs that it is dependent on (using depends.exe to determine them), but it didn't work; the executable didn't appear to do anything when run. I also tried installing Routing and Remote Access, in hopes that rasdial would come with them, but alas, no.

  • If it is not possible to get rasdial, is it possible to establish a VPN connection using PowerShell? I found this, but it uses rasphone, a related executable that is also not available.

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  • The rasdial binary exists on my 2012 R2 system, but it has the 'Desktop Experience' feature. It isn't on my core servers. If you can't find an answer, I suggest you setup a VM with a trial copy of 2012 R2, install the full desktop, and then start removing features one at a time until find one that removes the rasdial.
    – Zoredache
    Dec 29 '16 at 19:12
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I still don't know what feature or role installs rasdial, but I was able to copy all of the dependent files onto the Core server (in a folder called C:\RasDial) to make it work.

I was missing a lot more DLLs than I had thought. I ran depends.exe on the Core server, and figured out which DLLs were missing. Then, I copied all of the missing DLLs from a working 2012 R2 Standard installation, then reloaded depends.exe to find missing sub-dependencies, continuing this process until I had the same list of missing DLLs that I had on the server where rasdial works. The required DLLs were all in C:\Windows\System32 on the working system, so they were very easy to find.

Finally, I found out that I needed an en-US subfolder containing the rasdial.exe.mui file, as well as the rasphone.pbk file copied from a working system, which contains the "phonebook" of VPNs.

Based on the fact that some of the files begin with "IE", which probably means "Internet Explorer," my guess is that @Zoredache is correct: it probably requires the "Desktop Experience" feature... which is not a Windows Core feature.

Here's a complete list of files I needed to get it working:

APPREPAPI.DLL
AVRT.DLL
D2D1.DLL
D3D11.DLL
DCOMP.DLL
DEVMGR.DLL
DXGI.DLL
EFSADU.DLL
ELSCORE.DLL
HLINK.DLL
IEADVPACK.DLL
IEFRAME.DLL
IEUI.DLL
IMGUTIL.DLL
INETCOMM.DLL
MFPLAT.DLL
MRMCORER.DLL
MSFEEDS.DLL
MSHTML.DLL
MSOERT2.DLL
MSRATING.DLL
OCCACHE.DLL
OLEDLG.DLL
PCACLI.DLL
PRINTUI.DLL
PRNTVPT.DLL
PUIAPI.DLL
rasdial.exe
rasphone.pbk
RTWORKQ.DLL
SHDOCVW.DLL

Subdirectory en-US:

rasdial.exe.mui

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