After I have successfully connected to a Windows 7 box via the built-in VPN: how do I access shares, shared printers, network appliances, etc.?

So, call me bad at googling, but: I can find dozens of articles on "How to Set up a VPN Connection" and "How to connect to a VPN" for Windows 7... but I can't find a single article on how to access resources after connecting.

I have a home VPN set up in Windows 7; I was able to connect to it from my friend's Windows 7 machine last night. I expected to be able to UNC into my shares; I also expected to be able to go to "Start > Computer" and Click "Network" on the left side, and then see all of the devices on my home network (while the VPN was connected).

Am I missing something obvious? How do I make this happen?

migrated from serverfault.com Jan 12 '11 at 11:08

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.


You connect to the remote machines in the exact same way as you would as if you were on that network.

I have just faced this problem at work and it is simply because you can only send IP/Subnet remotely and not DNS server nor DNS suffix.

There are a few different ways to solve this issue... the best way, which changes depending on your settings is to do the following:

  1. Right click on the VPN connection and click properties
  2. Double click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
  3. Type the IP of your DNS server in the Preferred DNS server
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. Type the DNS suffix that is used by the machines on the network in the DNS suffix for this connection box.
  6. Click OK on all the boxes and try to reconnect.

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Hopefully this will help you. If it doesn't, there are a few other options such as enabling DHCP pass through so that your machine gets all the correct settings (but, this has some other problems), using the hosts file which is very easy if you only have one or two remote machines, or finally using the CMAK component of Windows Server to generate predefined connections - if you are an Admin who is doing this for an entire office, I would go down the CMAK route - if this is just for one or two machines, do the define DNS route that I detailed above.

  • See if you can ping remote servers by their IP address

  • See if you can nslookup/dig the remote server by their name (i.e. server-1 and server-1.domain.local)

Once you got ping and DNS working, you can start sorting out browsing of Windows Workgroups

  • Sorry: would I ping by the IP address the machine uses on the remote LAN? If so, how would I do that? Part of the problem is I'm not sure what prefixes to add into my commands to make sure I'm referring to the appropriate network. For example: if I have a on the network I am physically connected to, and there is also a on the network I am VPNed into, how do I refer to each? Same idea: if there is a \\Home-PC\ on the network I am physically connected to and a \\Home-PC\ on the network I VPN into, how do I distinguish each? – mbrion Jan 17 '11 at 1:23

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