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The question summarises what I want to achieve. In more detail: I have a Windows XP Pro PC at a work location that I want to be able to access my home Windows XP Pro PC and other home computers from. But I also want to be able to connect to the work PC from home. I think the term generally used is a "mesh" network.

Can I do this with OpenVPN ? If so how would I do it? What are the most important things to remember to do?


The work Windows XP Pro PC is largely managed by IT Dept, I do have local admin rights to install things. Some settings are disabled. My main concern was firewalls and port forwarding on the work PC. Any suggestions?

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migrated from Feb 20 '10 at 20:34

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Is this your work (e.g. you are the admin) or is it managed by an IT dept? If this is your work, you can actually create a VPN using XP Pro itself. This isn't the most ideal VPN, but it is fairly easy to setup and just requires that you port forward 1723 to the 'VPN' machine(s) – Steiv Jan 25 '10 at 20:47
OpenVPN is really not designed for mesh VPNs ... If it was Linux, I'd suggest something like tinc. – grawity Feb 20 '10 at 20:37
Why don't you just establish the work to home VPN and leave it running? If the VPN is always left on then you can acess each side at any time? – Zoredache Apr 22 '10 at 15:47

If you can install OpenVPN, inlcuding its virtual network apator driver (this may be the major sticking point depending on how your work PC is locked down) on the work PC then you should be able to do this, using the work PC as the client, irrespective of incoming firewall problems at that end.

If the work machine connects to your home VPN end-point then you will be able to send traffic both ways, so the home end will be able to see the work end even though it is the work end that initiated the connection. You will just need to leave the VPN connection open at the work end as you leave (either by leaving your account logged in with the client running or by running the client as a service). Getting access to other machines at either end directly is a seperate set of routing issues, but as you only mention connecting from one machine to the other I'm guessing this is not an issue for you anyway - you can always RDC between the machines and access other network resources indirectly that way.

You might have more luck with a TCP based setup rather than a UDP based one, depending on how youlr work's firewall(s) are configured. Most stateful firewalls will be bright enough to identify incoming UDP packets for the VPN as having been requested so both methods should work, and UDP is usually recommended for a couple of reasons, but I'd try TCP first as this is slightly more likely to work. Also, get it working as a stand-along client before trying to get things going as a service.

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