XP Mode and MS VPN Problems

by fwhagen Thu, 12 November 2009

Windows 7 XP Mode is probably the best feature added to Windows in a long time.  I won’t go into how awesome here, but this is the compatibility measure Microsoft should have pursued years ago.  That said, the main use I have for it is to VPN into my office network. 

The client site I am working at is using normal MS VPN connections which are easy to setup and use.  Their parent company, however, insists on the Cisco VPN client, which I am loathe to install on my clean Win7 installation.  So I have both setup in XP Mode and can use them interchangeably. 

Getting the initial setup was a little tricky:  First you must shutdown the VirtualPC then switch the network setting from “Shared Network (NAT)” to a named network card.  The funny thing is, the only symptom is the connection is made but times out on authentication.  weird.

However, I ran into a problem where I could no longer get the built in Windows VPN client to connect.  It couldn’t find the address.  Then browsing stopped working, even the Cisco VPN client failed.  After 2 re-installs (of XP Mode) I finally found a post that recommends removing the Virtual PC Network Filter Driver from the NIC, rebooting and re-installing.  Like magic, everything works.  Evidently a patch to XP Mode or Virtualization knocked it out.  (I did start with the RC of XP Mode 64-bit, maybe the reason…)  The blog was the Virtual PC Guy but the instructions were for XP and Vista, not 7.  The 7 instructions are below:

1.  Click on the network icon in the tray and Open Network and Sharing Center (or from the Start menu)
2.  Click on the active connection (Mine is Local Area Connection 2)
3.  In the Properties dialog, highlight the Virtual PC Network Filter Driver and Uninstall  (I deselected IPv6 while I was there; it’s not needed yet)
4.  Click OKs back to desktop and Reboot (evidently a critical step)
5.  repeat 1 & 2 and click Install in the Properties dialog
6.  Select Service and Add; the Virtual PC Network Filter Driver should still be there, select it and click OKs out to the desktop.

Fire up XPMode VPC and you should be good to go.  I was.

UPDATE:  I am still having this problem.  I have found a reboot is usually enough to reset it, but I am still looking for a way to reset just the VPN driver without a reboot.  I've found nothing, yet....

UPDATE 2:  Microsoft seems to have issued a Windows7 x64 hotfix for this issue quietly.  I am no longer having this problem, unless the system goes to sleep mode while VPC is running.  Then it's a reboot of the physical host to reset.

UPDATE 3: Turns out, a simple disable/enable cycle on the NIC is all that is needed. Still annoying enough that I have switched completely to the free VMWare client for work-related VPN sessions.

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