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I have a Windows Server 2008 at a remote office location that needs to stay connected to the main office via VPN (standard Windows PPTP connection) even when there is no user logged in. Right now, the server can connect to the VPN and auththe Active Directory because when I log in as an administrator, I select the "Network Login" option and when I login, it automatically connects the VPN and establishes the AD authentication.

However, I have services (mainly the Microsoft DPM backup application) that run on this server that require a persistant connection regardless of if a user is logged in. Basically, I need the following:

  1. As soon as the computer starts, it needs to connect to the VPN so that the background services that require a domain connection can run.
  2. If the VPN connection is lost, it needs to continuously try to connect to the VPN (like every 10 minutes).

Is this possible and if so, how can it be accomplished?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

from the Routing and Remote Access console (RRAS):

  • One must be Demand-dial in options tab (at the remote office), set to never hang up
  • One must be persistent connection in options tab (at main site)
  • At main site, on the dial-out hours, always prohibit making calls

If you don't do that, both site may try to connect to other at same time and then you have a deadlock

By default, on 2008, you won't be able to ping rras address directly between the two rras server. Technet article to allow it :

The main and only issue i have with rras, is that if you don't have permanent traffic, the vpn will stay marked as connected, but it stop working after some time.

To keep activity, you could create a simple scheduled windows task that launch a ping -t targetIP inside a cmd at system start.

Also, by default, the Routing and Remote Access service is set as Automatic (Delayed start). So windows start the RRAS service 2 minutes after windows is started, and so after all others windows services. Change it to automatic start.

Looks like you are just using the remote office server as a dialup client. So you can create a scheduled task that start on trigger "system start". It will call a cmd that:

  • use rasdial command to establish vpn
  • do a ping loop to keep connection working.

rasdial command line: enter image description here

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Mathieu, thank you for the information. One question, I am not using the RRAS feature in Windows. Instead, I am just using the standard Active Directory feature to allow "Dial-In". Will that be a problem? – bigmac Mar 2 '12 at 16:23
sorry, i thought you were using rras. If the remote server is just connecting as a standard vpn client/user, then you can use rasdial.exe. create a scheduled stask that trigger on system start, that launch a cmd. This cmd use rasdial to establish vpn connection, and then cmd launch a ping loop to maintain connection – Mathieu Chateau Mar 3 '12 at 9:05
Thanks for the info. I appreciate it! – bigmac Mar 5 '12 at 17:18

I ran into this same issue. In addition to Mathieu Chateau's answer, when creating the vpn connection, ensure that the checkbox "Allow other people to use this connection" is checked. Otherwise, when the user who created the connection log's out of the windows session, the connection will close.

enter image description here

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That doesn't solve the problem. If noone is logged in to the windows server the VPN is still dropped – gerrytan Dec 12 '14 at 2:22

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