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How To Setup L2TP VPN On Windows XP

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The L2TP protocol (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) is a tunneling protocol used to implement virtual private networks (VPNs). The L2TP protocol offers better security that the PPTP protocol plus it is compatible with a wide variety of computing and mobile devices. The protocol is often used in conjunction with IP Security Protocol (IPSec) and is available through built-in clients for the most popular operating systems. As far as Windows platform is concerned, the L2TP client has been an integral part of the system Windows OS since Windows 98 days. In the article below, you will learn how to configure L2TP/IPSec VPN on a Windows XP machine.

How To Manually Configure L2TP/IPSec VPN On Windows XP

Before setting up a VPN, it is vital to ensure that your system is up-to-date with the latest updates provided by Microsoft. If you are not sure about this, click on the Start button and then on Windows Update option. Your system will connect to the Microsoft website and download the latest updates automatically if it is necessary. Restart your computer and then follow the steps given below to configure the VPN:

Step 1:  Open Control Panel by clicking on Start, Settings and Control Panel options. In the Control Panel window, click on the “Network Connections” option.

L2TP - Windows XP - start

L2TP - Windows XP - control panel

Step 2:  Click on “Create New Connection” option that is available in the left pane to open the New Connection Wizard. Click on the Next button to start the setup process.

L2TP - Windows XP - create a new connection

L2TP - Windows XP - next

Step 3:  Click on the “Connect to network at my workplace” option in the next screen and then on the Next button.

L2TP - Windows XP - connect to network at my workplace

Step 4:  In the next window, select “Virtual private network connection” and then click on the Next button.

L2TP - Windows XP - virtual private network connection

Step 5:  In the next screen, select an easy to remember connection name to identify the VPN connection. If you are using multiple network or VPN connections then it makes sense to use the VPN provider’s name along with server location as the connection name. This would ensure that you can find and connect to the correct network or service whenever required.

L2TP - Windows XP - My VPN Connection

Step 6:  In the next window, select “Do not dial initial connection” and then click on the Next button. However, if you use dial-up connection to connect to the internet, choose “Automatically dial initial connection” option and then select the name of the connection from the dropdown list that the VPN service must use in order to connect to the internet.

L2TP - Windows XP - Do not dial the initial connection

Step 7:  Next you need to specify the VPN server name or IP address. If you are not sure about this, just check the welcome email from the VPN provider or check the Server List or Server Status section on the provider’s website. It is possible that your VPN provider may have VPN servers at multiple locations so make sure that you input the correct server name. Click on Next button and then on Finish button to complete the setup process. You may also select the “Add a shortcut” option if required.

L2TP - Windows XP - VPN Server Selection

L2TP - Windows XP - Add a shortcut

Step 8:  Next you need to specify the L2TP/IPSec settings. Click on Start, Settings, Network Connections and then on the name of the newly configured VPN connection. A small connection window will open up where you can specify the login credentials and modify the connection Properties.

L2TP - Windows XP - My VPN Connection2

L2TP - Windows XP - login

Step 9:  Click on Properties button and then on the Networking tab. Select “L2TP IPSec VPN” option in the Type of VPN dropdown box.

L2TP - Windows XP - L2TPIPsec

Step 10:  In the Security Tab, click on the IPSec Settings button. Click on the check box next to “Use pre-shared key for authentication” and enter the pre-shared key value provided by your VPN provider. Click on the OK button twice to finalize the L2TP/IPSec settings.


L2TP - Windows XP - ipsec settings

L2TP - Windows XP - sample ipsec key

Step 11:  To connect to the service, click on Start->Settings->Network Connections and then on the name of the VPN connection. Enter the username/password values as provided by your VPN provider, click on “Save Password” if required and specify whether the connection can be used by others. Click on the Connect button to test the connection. When the connection is successful, you will see a new network icon in the system tray. To disconnect from the service, just double click on the VPN connection’s network icon and click on the Disconnect button.

L2TP - Windows XP - connected

July 11, 2013

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