Setting up VPN with Surface and Home Server 2011

Happy new year 2013! It seems I am posting in ever-increasing intervals, so the next blog post should be coming in January 2017 if the pattern continues.

Anyway, I received my Surface just before Christmas, and it’s an amazing device. But now let’s stop the advertising for a moment and cut to the chase.

One thing I am missing from my Surface is the SSH client. OK, there are some nice Metro  New Windows 8 Style apps implementing SSH and they work really well, but what I am missing is port forwarding. What I often do is ssh into my home unix box and use port forwarding of port 3389 to RDP into one of my Windows machines. On Windows 8, I use Putty which just works. But then there are no Desktop apps on Windows RT and the Metro apps do not forward ports.

So I decided to set up VPN to my Home Server 2011. There is a nice tutorial by Chris Barnes at 

On Surface, it is easy to set up the VPN client but you need to get to the Network and Sharing center first.

Press the Windows key, the type “Network and sharing” (“Netzwerk und Freigabe” in german) and then touch the “Settings” icon. On the left, the “Network and sharing center” icon shows up. Touch the icon. The desktop opens with the Network and Sharing center window. Then continue as described in the tutorial.

One little thing: When I first set this up, I ended up with an Error 500 and no connection. This happened because I used the dyndns name of my router as server address. VPN is tunneled over SSL and of course the SSL certificate of the server did not match the dyndns name. But when you set up remote web access to the home server, it also creates a dynamic name service automatically on the domain, and this one is the name used in the SSL certificate. If you use that name, then VPN is happy.

After having set up the connection, the desktop is not needed anymore. If you go to the settings charm and hit the network icon, there is a new VPN connection. Just touch the connection icon and press connect, then enter your credentials and you’re connected.

Have fun…


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.