VPN Client for Windows 7 x64VPN Client for Windows 7 x64

December 11, 2009

Recently I had to connect to a VPN which was tested to work with Cisco VPN Client. The problem is that on Windows 7 x64 there is no way you can run Cisco VPN Client. Older versions just won’t work, and the latest version won’t even install (saying that there is no support for this 64bit OS). It is odd, but it’s a problem I had to find a solution for.

One possible solution was to use Windows (say XP) 32bit in a virtual machine. Obviously this is not the best solution, because starting a virtual machine just for a VPN is just too much sometimes!

The best solution was to find an alternative to Cisco VPN Client to work on my OS. This alternative is “Shrew Soft VPNClient” – a nice free tool that can be downloaded from the Shrew Soft site. Then, to configure it, I had to dig a bit on the net, until I found this great tutorial. I will summarize the steps for making the client to work (version 2.1.5):

1. Install the application (obvious)

2. Create a new site configuration (the button “Add”).

3. In the “General” tab enter your host name or IP (IPSec gateway)

4. In the “Client” tab, set “NAT Traversal” to “force-rfc”. Everything else remains the same.

5. In the “Name Resolution” tab check all the checkboxes.

6. In the “Authentication” tab set “Authentication Method” to “Mutual PSK + XAuth”. Then:

  • in the “Local Identity” tab set “Identification Type” to “Key Identifier”, and then enter your group name in the “Key ID String” field (IPSec ID)
  • in the “Remote Identity” tab set “Identification Type” to “Any”
  • in the “Credentials” tab enter your group password in the “Pre Shared Key” field (IPSec secret)

7. “Phase 1”, “Phase 2” and “Policy” should not be modified, if not instructed otherwise.

Save your settings, and then double-click your newly created connection. You will be prompted to enter the username and password for the XAuth authentication. After doing so, the connection will be created!

The image bellow should be of a bit of use:

vpn_capturesAfter succeeding to configure this new client, I noticed that the connection goes on immediately; the client can be configured to minimize in the tray; the application is lightweight and fast. I would say that this client is a better alternative to Cisco VPN Client. Well done!

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4 Responses to “VPN Client for Windows 7 x64”

  1. The configuration seems a bit difficult? Did you come across NCP in your search? Their client is compatible w/ W7 64 bit, and is quite easy to configure.

    Check it out here: http://vpnhaus.ncp-e.com/discussion/windows-64-bit/

  2. Well, thanks for the suggestions. But it seems that NCP Client isn’t free, and I was looking for a solution that cost me no money 🙂

  3. I assume the Win7 built-in VPN client did not support the manual psk + xauth method? Or is there another reason you didn’t use the built-in client?

  4. I believe that the Windows 7 VPN client (Agile VPN) uses a different tunneling protocol than the Cisco devices. But I must admit I haven’t tested it 🙂

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