Create a VPN Server
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How to create a VPN server using Windows 7 built-in tool

In this tutorial, you’ll learn step-by-step how to create a VPN server in Windows 7 with a built-in tool, which will do a great job if you are the kind of person that is always traveling to different locations, e.g., coffee shop, hotel or any other public places and you need remote access to personal files or programs.

If you ever wanted to get access to your computer content (e.g., documents, music and even videos) while away without the need of storing them in the Cloud or connect to your home computer securely, there are different ways to do this, such as, using your Windows Home Server or using a Windows Live Mesh account, and many others solutions. But there is a great way to also do this with a really handy tool built into Windows 7 Home Premium or higher that not many people know about.

You can set up the Windows 7 VPN server (Virtual Private Network) in different ways: you could, for example, use an old computer where you can install Windows and have it always running as a dedicated server or you can set this up in your main PC. Whatever the way you choose, for this to work properly, you’ll need to do the following:

Step One

First you need to figure out which is your public IP address (the address assigned to you by your ISP — Internet Service Provider), you can easily know this by going to http://whatismyip.com.

Because most users have a public IP address that changes dynamically and often, you’ll also need to configure DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name System) in your home router; that way you don’t have to keep track of a changing IP address. To configure DDNS here is a previous article that explains in details how to do this process.

Step Two

For this step you need to configure Port Forwarding in your home router and the port that you want to forward is 1723 — this is the Point to Point Tunneling Protocol or PPTP that it will allow the VPN communication. To configure Port Forwarding here is a previous article that explains in details how to do this process.

Step Three

You just completed two important steps by configuring DDNS in your router, you can use a friendly name (e.g., something.com instead of 156.56.23.185) to contact your home network remotely and also you don’t have to keep track of a changing IP address, and by enabling Port Forwarding now it is possible to contact the computer that will serve the VPN functionality. Now in this third step, we’ll configure the actual VPN service in your Windows 7 PC.

How to create a VPN server:

1 Go to Start, in the search box type network and sharing center and press Enter.

2 Click on Change adapter settings. There you will find your different network adapters.

Windows 7 - Network and Sharing Center - Left pane

Press the Alt key on your keyboard to bring the file menu, then go to File and select New incoming connection.

Windows 7 - Hidden menu VPN - New incoming connection

3 What you do here is to tell your computer which users are allowed to connect. Select the Windows user account that you want to allow to connect via VPN or click the Add someone to create a VPN user account.

Windows 7 VPN Server - Who may connect to this computer

Then you can additionally, click Account Properties to change some properties, such as full name, set a different password for VPN and Callback settings. Click the Next button to continue.

Windows 7 VPN Server - Account properties

4  In the next step, How will people connect? check the box Through the Internet and click the Next button.

Windows 7 VPN Server - How will people connect

5 Next leave the default settings as they are, select Internet Connection Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties.

Windows 7 VPN Server - Networking Software

There, make sure that the setting Allow callers to access my local area network is checked. In the IP address assignment section, select Specify IP addresses – basically here you are telling Windows 7 what IP address to hand over to the computer that connects to the VPN server –, choose a high-order IP address range to give out to the computers allowed to connect to avoid possible IP address conflict in the future (see image below for reference). Click OK and then click the Allow Access button, and let Windows finish the process.

Windows 7 VPN Server - Incoming IP properties

Note: The built-in VPN server in Windows 7 only allows one connection at a time, which for most situations is more than enough.

When you click the Close button in the Allow connections to the computer wizard and if everything was completed successfully, you will see a new item appeared in the Network Connections page called Incoming Connections. Now the server portion is completed.

Windows 7 VPN Server - Giving access and completing process

Windows 7 VPN Server - Wizard complete

Windows 7 - Incoming connections

Step Four

You are now ready to easily contact your home network and to connect to the PC serving VPN access. In this fourth and last step, you need to configure the computer that is going to connect to the VPN server; to do this follow the step-by-step guide from this previous article How to set up a VPN connection in Windows 7.

Remember to write your DDNS, this is your Domain Name to contact your VPN server and the username and password for the account that is allow to connect. You will need this information when configuring the VPN connection.

After you have completed setting up the VPN connection from the article I just mentioned above, go back to Network Connections:

  • Right-click the VPN connection and select Properties.
  • Navigate to the Security tab and make sure that Type of VPN is set to Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) option and Data encryption is set to Maximum strength encryption (disconnect if server declines).
  • Click the OK button to save the settings.

Windows 7  VPN connections - Security options

I would recommend you to configure and test the VPN connection to make sure everything is working correctly, before trying to connect from a remote location.

Like I said at the beginning, there are many ways and different solutions that can accomplish the same thing, but the nice thing about having this built-in tool in Windows 7 is that you don’t have to download and install any additional software, and it works well. Plus compared to some Cloud services that may restricted you on how much data you can upload, with this method you are not restricted on the amount of data that can be uploaded. And you are not using someone else service to store your files; they are securely stored in your home computer.

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  • Low Chan Saechao

    Thank you, this worked for me on Windows 7 x64 pro. Users need to be aware that depending on where they are connecting from, the VPN port could be blocked by firewall (especially at corporate offices, or school/universities).

    This is clean clear and simple. I leave 1 computer at home, hosting the VPN connection, i enjoy the convinience of accesing all my LAN shared storages.

    Thank you again!

    • Mauro

      Hello Low Chan Saechao, I thank you for the comment and I am glad it worked!

      Thanks,

  • Jun Yi

    Hi,

    Really beginner here but would like to clarify this:

    It seems I only had a chance to enter admin and password when I was logging in to my network server. Didn’t seem to have the chance to set a password for VPN. So from my client computer, when I tried to set up and they asked for admin name and password, is that the one I entered for my network as well?

    I’m getting error 807: The network connection between your computer and the VPN server was interrupted. This can be caused by a problem in the VPN transmission and is commonly the result of internet latency or simply that your VPN server has reached capacity. Please try to reconnect to the VPN server. If this problem persists, contact the VPN administrator and analyze quality of network connectivity.

    Can’t find any solutions for this on forums too.

    Is there something I’m missing out on?

    Please help me. Thanks in advance!

    • http://pureinfotech.com/ Mauro

      Hello Jun,
      Unless you created another VPN user account, you need to enter the password of your admin Windows account.
      PS: Also check your firewalls.

      Thanks,

      • Jun Yi

        Hi

        Managed to connect to the VPN but then my internet connection conked out. Suppose it’s because of the IP address. Will be trying dynamic DNS. thanks so much for the great post. =)
        One bad thing about this is only one client accepted at a time =(