Setting up VPN on a Windows computer

The Northwestern VPN allows you to connect to the Northwestern network when you're off campus. There are two VPN clients you can use: (1) the native VPN client that comes with your operating system, and (2) the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client.

Due to a number of factors, VPN clients may experience difficulties establishing or maintaining a connection in some situations or locations. Common examples include public wireless networks at cafes and bookstores, restricted networks at hotels and conference centers, and countries with restricted Internet access policies. In most situations where one of the VPN clients won't work properly, the other one will.

We recommend you configure both clients to give you flexibility, and the ability to connect to the Northwestern VPN regardless of your location.

Northwestern IT is aware of VPN access issues from China. We tried implementing workarounds by changing our VPN public IP. However, within a few days of these workarounds Northwestern VPN was blocked again by the Chinese telecommunications agency. At the present time, we cannot provide a solution to using Northwestern VPN in China because the Chinese telecommunications agency continually searches for and blocks Northwestern VPN servers. We have heard anecdotally from some people that using a third party VPN service has worked for them, but we cannot confirm which, if any services, will work.

Native VPN client software on Windows 10, 8.1 and 8

  1. Open the Control Panel by pressing the Windows Key on your keyboard, typing Control Panel into the search bar, then selecting Control Panel from the search results.
  2. In the Control Panel, select Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.
  3. Select Set up a new connection or network.
  4. Select Connect to a workplace and click Next. If you see a screen that says "Do you want to use a connection that you already have?", select No, create a new connection and click Next.
  5. Select Use my internet connection (VPN).
  6. In the Internet address field, enter vpn-nu.vpn.northwestern.edu. In the Destination name field, enter Northwestern VPN. Click Create.
    This image displays a screenshot of the Connect to Network page
  7. From the Network and Sharing Center, select Change adapter settings, right-click Northwestern VPN, and select Properties.
    This image shows a screen shot of the Network and Sharing page, highlighting the change adapter settings option
    This image shows the properties option on the Network connections window
  8. Select the Security tab. Set Type of VPN to Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with IPsec (L2TP/IPSec).
  9. Under Data encryption select Require encryption (disconnect if server declines)
  10. Check the Allow these protocols button, and ensure that Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol (CHAP) and Microsoft CHAP Version 2 (MS-CHAP v2) are the only two selected. 
    This image shows a screenshot of the 'Northwestern VPN Properties' windows 'Security' tab with the settings properly set up.
  11. Click the Advanced Settings button. Enter northwesternvpn as the Key. Click OK, then OK again to close the Northwestern VPN Properties window.
    This image shows the prompt for the preshared key authentication under the Advanced properties window
  12. In the System Tray in the lower-right corner of your Desktop, click the Network icon, then click on Northwestern VPN and click Connect.
  13. In the Network Authentication window:
    • Windows 10: Enter your NetID as the User name and your NetID password as the Password.
    • Windows 8/8.1: Enter ads\your NetID as the User name (e.g., ads\abc123) and your NetID password as the Password.
  14. Click OK. You should now be connected to the Northwestern VPN.

Native VPN client software on Windows 7

  1. Open the Network and Sharing Center by clicking Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Select Set up a new connection or network.
  3. Select Connect to a workplace and click Next. If you see a screen that says "Do you want to use a connection that you already have?", select No, create a new connection and click Next.
  4. Select Use my internet connection (VPN).
  5. In the Internet address field, enter vpn-nu.vpn.northwestern.edu. In the Destination name field, enter Northwestern VPN. Click Next.
  6. In the User name field, enter your NetID. In the Password field, enter your NetID password. Click Create.
  7. The connection is ready to use confirmation window will appear. Click Close.
  8. From the Network and Sharing Center, select Change adapter settings, right-click Northwestern VPN, and select Properties.
    This image shows the properties option on the Network connections window
  9. From the Northwestern VPN Properties window, select the Options tab. Under Dialing options, un-check Include Windows logon domain.
  10. Select the Security tab. Set Type of VPN to Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with IPsec (L2TP/IPSec).
    This image shows a screenshot of the 'Northwestern VPN Properties' windows 'Security' tab with the settings properly set up.
  11. Click Advanced Settings.
  12. Enter northwesternvpn in the Key input box.
  13. Click OK, then click OK again to finish the configuration.

Cisco AnyConnect VPN client software

Note for members of Feinberg School of Medicine: Cisco AnyConnect VPN will not work on Feinberg-managed computers due to increased HIPAA security standards. If you cannot use the Native VPN for any reason, please contact Feinberg IT at fsmhelp@northwestern.edu.

  1. If you have not installed Cisco AnyConnect before, open a web browser and go to https://vpn-nu.vpn.northwestern.edu
  2. Type your NetID and NetID Password into the respective fields, then click login.
  3. Below the Welcome message, click Continue.
  4. Java may need permission to run. Click Run this time or Run. Follow the listed instructions to complete installation.
  5. If automatic installation does not work, you will be prompted to perform manual installation.
    • Click the Windows Desktop link to download the manual installation file.
    • Run the installation file and follow the on-screen instructions to manually install the AnyConnect software.
  6. After the AnyConnect client has been installed, open the AnyConnect software and, if necessary, type in vpn-nu.vpn.northwestern.edu in the blank bar, then click Connect.
  7. Enter your NetID and NetID Password and click OK.
  8. Click Accept to connect to the VPN.
  9. Once Cisco AnyConnect is installed on the computer, you can launch it and connect by opening Cisco AnyConnect from the Windows Start Menu and System Tray.

See Also:

For additional assistance please contact the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP), via chat at http://www.it.northwestern.edu/chat or via email at consultant@northwestern.edu.




Keywords:cisco "any connect" anyconnect windowsvpn   Doc ID:62248
Owner:IT Support Center .Group:Northwestern
Created:2016-03-27 12:22 CDTUpdated:2019-07-03 10:32 CDT
Sites:Northwestern
CleanURL:https://kb.northwestern.edu/windowsvpn
Feedback:  38   14