Configure Dial-up and VPN Connection in Vista

Before you start

Objectives: learn how to create a Dial-up and a VPN connection in Vista.

Prerequisites: in order to use a Dial-up we have to have a modem installed on our computer. In order to use VPN, we must have a VPN server which we will connect to.

Key terms: connection, vpn, dial-up, connect, network, option, password, server, properties, internet, manage, security


To configure dial-up and VPN connections in Vista we can go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center and then select ‘Set up a connection or network’ from the menu on the left. The wizard will appear.


Image 238.1 – Connection Wizard

On the picture we can see that we can set up a connection to the Internet, wireless router, dial-up connection, and at the bottom we have a VPN connection. If we had a wireless network adapter, we would see more options. Let’s now create a dial-up connection. We already have our dial-up modem installed so we will select ‘Set up a dial-up connection’ option and click Next.


Image 238.2 – Dial-up Parameters

On this screen we type in the phone number that our ISP gave us, our user name and password. We also have options to remember our password so we don’t have to type it in every time we connect to our ISP. We can also change the connection name. We will allow other people to use this connection. In our case, the example configuration looks like this:

Example Configuration

Image 238.3 – Example Configuration

If all settings are entered correctly, we should be able to connect to our ISP once we click on the Create button. When we create our connection we can manage it by going to the Network and Sharing Center and selecting ‘Manage network connections’ from the menu on the left.


Image 238.4 – Connections

Here we can right-click any connection and go to its Properties. On the General tab we can manage dialing rules, on the Options tab we can set redial attempts, progress display, etc. On the Security tab we can set how to verify our identity. If we go to the advanced settings in the Security tab, we can see that we can use various protocols like PAP, CHAP or MS-CHAP-v2. We can also use EAP or Extensible Authentication Protocol if we have smart cards or certificates.

Security Protocols

Image 238.5 – Security Protocols

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Now, let’s create a VPN connection. Again we will select the ‘Set up a connection or network’ option in the Network and Sharing Center. This time, in the wizard we will choose the ‘Connect to a workplace’ option and click Next.

Choose Connection

Image 238.6 – Choose or Create New Connection

First we have to choose if we want to use a connection that we already have or we want to create a new connection that we will use to connect to the Internet. As we can see on the picture above, we can use our existing dial-up connection which will connect first, and then our VPN will go over that dial-up connection. In our case we will create a new connection, so we will just click Next.

How to Connect

Image 238.7 – How to Connect

On the next screen we have to choose how we want to connect to our workplace. In our case we will use VPN, which means that we will use our Internet connection. We will not Dial directly. So, we will select the first option. On the next screen we have to enter the IP address or host name of the VPN server.

VPN Settings

Image 238.8 – VPN Settings

In our case the IP address is We will leave the default Destination name. We will allow other people to use this connection. We will also select the option not to connect right away. When we click Next we will have to enter our credentials.


Image 238.9 – Credentials

In our case we will enter admin as our username. We will choose the option to remember our password. Our domain name is ‘intranet’. When we click the Create button, our VPN connection is ready. Again, we can go and manage our existing connections. Let’s go to the Properties of our VPN connection.

VPN Properties

Image 238.10 – VPN Properties

These properties are similar as Dial-up properties. One difference is that on the Networking tab we can specify what kind of tunneling protocol we would like to use.

Networking Tab

Image 238.11 – Networking Tab

The ‘Automatic’ option will simply select whatever is available on the VPN server.


For Dial-up connection we must have a Dial-up modem installed. We have to have valid credentials which will be used to connect to remote server. For VPN connection we must have a VPN server already configured. Typically, we will also have to have some kind of credentials. There are several types of VPN, and we can choose the appropriate one in the properties of the VPN connection (Networking tab).

Paths that are mentioned in this article
  • Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Set up a connection or network – path to the connection wizard