How to set up a VPN connection on Windows 7

Here are the instructions to setup a VPN connection on your Windows 7 PC to quickly connect remotely to your work computer.

Set up secure VPN connection

When you need to work from a remote location, you can use the VPN client that comes built into Windows 7 to connect to a workplace network. The ability to connect to a network remotely has its benefits. For example, thanks to a VPN connection, you can get your work done from virtually anywhere, you don’t have to spend time and money traveling to an specific location, you can access remote files, and you can even remote into your work computer.

For those unfamiliar, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection is the method of utilizing a public network, such as the internet, to connect a computer to a private network securely — often times a business or corporate network –, because it is encrypted and only authorized people can have access to it.

Note that if you need to access your work network, you may need to ask your network administrator for credentials and the VPN server name before you continue.

How to set up a VPN connection on Windows 7

  1. Open Start type Network and Sharing Center and press Enter.

  2. Under Change your networking settings, click on the link Set up a new connection or network.

    Windows 7 - Set up Virtual Private Network (VPN)

  3. The Set Up a Connection or Network wizard will now open, select Connect to a workplace and click Next.

    Windows 7 - VPN choose connection type

  4. Now choose how you want to connect, in this case we are going to select — which will be in most cases — Use my Internet connection (VPN) option.

    Windows 7 - How to connect to the the VPN

  5. Next, there are some information you need to enter and some options that you need to configure:

    • Internet Address: This is the IP address or the domain name for the VPN server, you can get this information from you network administrator.
    • Description name: This is the name of the connection, it can be anything you want, but try to use something descriptive.
  6. Depending on the network you are trying to connect to, you will be fine by just configuring the first two options. Just note that the option Allow other people to use this connection can be a security risk as it allows anyone who access your computer to use the connection.

    Windows 7 - VPN client settings (IP address, VPN name and more)

  7. Type your VPN account credentials and click the Create button. If you are one of those users that forget passwords, check the option Remember this password, but remember that this could be also a security risk because anyone using your computer logged in with your use account can connect to the VPN.

    Windows 7 - VPN client Type username and password

  8. Lastly, test the Windows 7 VPN client connection by clicking Connect now or you can do it later by clicking the Close button.

    Windows 7 VPN client - Test connection

If you’ve decided to close the wizard without connecting to the remote network, you can later do so by going to the Start menu, type network connections, look for and double-click the VPN connection to connect.

How to disconnect VPN remote session

To disconnect from a VPN connection, simply click the network icon, select the connection that you are currently connected to, and click the Disconnect button.

Windows 7 VPN client - Disconnect from remote network

How to change VPN connection settings

  1. Open Start type Network and Sharing Center and press Enter.

  2. Look for the name of the VPN connection that you have set up, right-click on it and select Properties or Delete.

    Windows 7 VPN connection menu

    Additionally, the context menu offers a number of different options, such as Create Shortcut to create a link to your Windows 7 desktop for easier access, and if you need to create additional VPN connections with similar settings use the Create Copy option, instead of starting a new connection from scratch and then just change the settings.