A quick VPN Server using Windows 7

Windows 7 can provide you with a VPN solution which is quite easy and fast to deploy! Follow these steps:

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center from the network system tray icon.
  2. From the Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Network and Sharing Center, click Change adapter settings.
  3. Press the Alt button to show the File menu, then click File and select New Incoming Connection…
  4. From the Allow connections to this computer window, select the users’ accounts that you would like to give VPN access. You can create new users through the Add someone… button. The Account Properties button allows you to change the user’s passwords and other details.
  5. Click Next.
  6. Check the Through the Internet option to the question How will people connect? And click Next.
  7. At the Networking software list, select the protocols and other services that you want users to have access to, such as, File and Printer Shares. In addition to the default services you can add other network features through the Install… button. The Properties button allows you to configure advanced option for each network service that has additional features such as Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP).
  8. Click Allow Access to enable the selected items for incoming connections.
  9. The final screen displays the computer name that users will be connecting to and allows you to print this information. Click Close.

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Now, in Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network Connections you should have a new connection named Incoming Connections. Double clicking this connection would load all properties for the VPN server.

  • Show specific devices that allow incoming connections if installed.
  • Enable and disable the VPN service.
  • Modify the allowed users properties while adding/removing users from the list.
  • Configure additional properties of the network components that connecting users have access to.

For example, to define the IPv4 address range for VPN clients:

  1. Double click the Incoming Connections connection.
  2. Select the Networking tab and Internet Protocol version 4 (TCP/IP), then click the Properties button.
  3. Select Specify IP address and enter a starting and ending IP addresses that are not used internally or defined in your internal DHCP scope. You have the option to allow users specify their own IP address by checking the Allow calling computer to specify its own IP address. From this tab you can also allow/disallow users access to the LAN.
  4. Click OK twice.

I recommend that you assign IP addresses to VPN users automatically using DHCP as this would be the safest option. These options are also available when setting up the VPN server for the first time.

Note: If there’s a router or firewall in front of the machine then make sure that port forwarding is enabled on the perimeter device and a rule that forwards port 1723 to the local IP address of your VPN computer is set. In addition, check the VPN computer firewall does not block features set in VPN.