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How to set up a split-tunnel VPN in Windows Vista

How can I set up a VPN connection on a Windows Vista computer that will support split tunneling and encryption?

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You also asked about split tunneling, so let's take a moment to explain that concept before walking through the process of creating a VPN connection. By default, when you create a VPN connection, Windows funnels all of the communications from your computer through the VPN. So, if you're logged into a corporate VPN from home to check your email, all of the other Web surfing you're doing on your computer is also being run through your corporate network. This is the default behavior because, from the company's point of view, it's the safest way and ensures all traffic is protected regardless of the destination.

You might not want this behavior, however, for a couple of reasons. First, it allows your company to inspect all of your personal Web traffic while connected to the VPN. Second, it will likely slow down your access to the Web, as everything must first be sent through the VPN.

Split tunneling, on the other hand, configures the VPN connection so that only traffic headed to computers on the corporate network is sent through the VPN connection. Other traffic leaving your computer goes out through your normal network connection.

Follow these steps to set up a VPN connection in Windows Vista that uses split tunneling:

  1. From the Control Panel, choose "Network & Internet."
  2. Click "View Network Status and Tasks."
  3. Click "Manage Network Connections."
  4. Right-click on your VPN connection and select "Properties."
  5. Select the "Networking" tab.
  6. Highlight "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4)."
  7. Click "Properties."
  8. Click "Advanced."
  9. Uncheck the "Use default gateway on remote network" box.
  10. Click "OK" three times to close the windows you opened.

From that point forward, only traffic destined for your corporate network will be sent through the VPN. All other traffic will use the local network.

For more information:

This was first published in August 2009

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