Though many people have bad things to say about native Windows software, the truth is that Windows offers some great utilities as part of their operating system. The largest complaint a lot of people have with Windows 8 is its interface, which tries to mirror a mobile or tablet OS interface. A lot of things have changed in Windows 8, but once you get the hang of it you’ll realize it’s still Windows, just wrapped in a new package. One piece of native software that everyone should know how to configure for their personal security on Windows 8 is the Windows VPN utility. Though a lot of people prefer third-party VPN clients, you should at least know how to configure a VPN connection on Windows 8.
Creating a PPTP Tunnel Using Windows 8
First you will need to open the Control Panel. You can either tap your Windows key and search for the Control Panel or just hit the Windows key in combination with the “x” button. Then click on the Network and Internet section. Next, click on View Network Status and Tasks. Now you will want to setup a new connection or network. Select Connect to a Workplace and then click on
Use My Internet Connection (VPN).
You will now be prompted for an Internet address as well as a name for the connection. The Internet address doesn’t need to be an IP address, however. A domain name will work just fine. Enter the VPN connection endpoint that was given to you by your VPN provider, enter a name for the connection, and click next.
Enter your username and password in the respective fields. If you want, you can click the box that will remember your password. Again, it is inadvisable that you do this for security purposes – especially if anyone else has access to your computer. In the end, however, it is entirely up to you.
And that’s it, you should be ready to go. You can click on the network icon in desktop mode to connect/disconnect the tunnel and see its status.
Configuring L2TP/IPSec in Windows 8
Alternatively, you have the option of creating a L2TP/IPSec tunnel. This is yet another proven way to secure your data as it is in transit through the Internet, and not surprisingly it is a Microsoft standard. There are other methods, such as OpenVPN, that offer slightly better security, but this software comes preloaded on Windows 8, so you should know how to take advantage of it.
To begin, simply follow the steps mentioned earlier in the PPTP section. After you have completed all of those steps, you will need to view the connection properties by right clicking on your VPN connection. Find the security tab and find the setting that is labeled Type of VPN. Select L2TP/IPSec and then click on the advanced settings tab. This is where you will find a radio button that allows you to enter the PSK (pre shared key) given to you by your VPN provider.
You will want to make sure that every option on the security tab is identical with the parameters that were given to you by your VPN provider. One misconfiguration could cause the tunnel to fail to establish. Fire up your new L2TP/IPSec by entering your username and password. If all the settings match your VPN provider’s settings, you should be good to go.
Setting up an OpenVPN Connection in Windows 8
Last but not least, you should also know how to configure and OpenVPN connection in Windows 8. Just like any other operating system, to get OpenVPN to work you are going to need to download and install the client first. Right click on the OpenVPN client icon after the installation is complete and click on properties.
Now you will need to download and unzip the OpenVPN configuration files that were given to you by your VPN provider. Be sure they are placed in the config folder of the OpenVPN install directory.
Next, launch OpenVPN by double clicking on its icon. You should see its icon show up in the task bar now. Right click on the icon and click on the server you would like to connect to. You should connect relatively quickly. If not, you will likely need to do some troubleshooting with your VPN provider. But that’s all the configuration you need to do on your end. Pretty easy, right?