My VPN Connects, but I cannot get to anything on the other network

After last week’s posts about VPN Clients, I had some questions about the VPN connections themselves. This is a strange one. It’s very hard to describe without getting too specific, so it may not make good blog-fodder, but hopefully this post will help somebody out. The problem typically goes something like this: I set up a VPN connection to my office. I have the software, whether it’s the Cisco VPN Client, or the SonicWall Global VPN Client, installed on my computer. My connection details are correct, the VPN prompts me for a name and password and takes what I provide. Everything is working up until that point. But then whatever resource I try to use, whether it’s a Terminal Server, a mapped network drive, or a software application on the other side of the VPN, it just doesn’t work.

The resolution is easier than the description. Your local IP range is conflicting with the remote IP schema. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Basically, your home router, out of the box, is most likely configured to give your devices an IP address of 192.168.1.x. If your work or office network was configured the same way, then when you punch in a device IP address when you’re connected to the VPN, then the computer gets confused and doesn’t know whether it should be looking around your house for a certain server or device, or if it should be looking on the other side of the VPN.

The easy fix is to change the IP address of your router. Unless you’ve set static IP addresses, all of your other home devices will automatically pick up the new IP addresses and fix themselves, you shouldn’t have to do anything once you change the router setting itself. For instance, in a Linksys router, you’ll just go to the control page (http://192.168.1.1) and login (probably no username and the password admin, then on the main page, change the local IP address of the router from 192.168.1.1 to pretty much “anything else” in that third octet. Example: 192.168.101.1. It may not make a ton of sense, but whoever is on the other end of the VPN may be able to help you out, and if they weren’t sure what the problem was, this should give them some guidance.

SonicWall and Cisco VPN Client Download Links

Why is it so hard to download VPN software? Too many times I’ve been in a pinch and needed a VPN client to install for someone. To get the files installed, I have to log in to the website for Cisco or SonicWall and dig around for what I need… for some reason, they lock these things down. You can’t use them without already owning the multi-hundreds-of-dollars piece of hardware, anyway, so why they keep the software under lock and key makes no sense to me. Well, I’ve found some links with the files you need – they aren’t the LATEST versions (in fact, I don’t have the exact version numbers written down), but I can guarantee they work for Windows XP, Vista, 7, as well as your 32-bit or 64-bit needs. I’ve even found a client which, I’m told (I’m not a Mac Guy) works on all versions of Mac OS X (at least up to Lion), if necessary – although with Mac users, IPSEC connections are probably built right in and will work fine. The links are reliable and have been online for a long while, feel free to post below if they ever don’t work for you.

UPDATE 1: SonicWall has gotten the hint that people are tired of hunting. While my links are still available below, SonicWall has finally provided links to the latest Global VPN Clients.

Update 2: WARNING – these downloads are available for your convenience, but please note that I have added approximate dates to files. THEY ARE OLD. They are functional, but they may not be the most compatible with newer operating systems, hardware, or may even have security flaws that have been fixed in newer versions. For the latest Sonicwall client visit their download page. To download the latest Cisco client you must have an active membership with Cisco – your IT department or contractor should be able to obtain the latest versions for you from this page. Again, local downloads are available if necessary, but you should look into getting newer, more secure versions of the software as soon as possible.


Cisco VPN Client 32-bit – 2010 or older.
Cisco VPN Client 64-bit – 2010 or older.
Cisco VPN Client DMG for Mac – 2010 or older.


SonicWall Global VPN Client 32-bit – 2011 or older.
SonicWall Global VPN Client 64-bit – 2011 or older.

Enjoy the links!

My IT Toolkit

Nothing specific from the help desk today, but I just wanted to refer you to several tools I use frequently in my job. Some of them I have been using for years, and one of them for literally over a decade. These are applications I trust and I use. I am in no way affiliated with any of these products, and am only recommending them because they genuinely work for me! Put some of this stuff on your flashdrive and you’ll have the Swiss army knife of IT toolkits.

Antivirus:

Anti-Malware:

Password Recovery:

Data Recovery:

Drive Imaging:

Now I know some of you may say I left out some other useful tools, or your favorites – this isn’t a comprensive list of everything I use regularly, these are just some of the ones I immediately turn to. I’ll gladly say I also use several resources like RogueKiller and ComboFix from BleepingComputer.com, sites like InternetHealthReport.com to diagnose internet connectivity issues, and use other products like Microsoft Steady State, Comodo Time Machine, RollbackRX for keeping a system in running order, MetaSploit, BackTrack, and ImmunityCanvas for pentesting, and Acronis TrueImage or even Norton Ghost when they’re called for in system imaging. But the list above are some of my favorites. If they’re not working for you, I’d encourage you to find something that will by using AlternativeTo.

Awesome Windows 7 Wallpapers and Themes Straight from Microsoft!

In my job in the help desk, I remove a lot of viruses. A lot of times these viruses come down with fancy screen savers, wall papers, and general themes designed for specific holidays or whatever the reason may be. To avoid viruses, I advise people to download their themes straight from Microsoft. Unlike the good old days where themes were complex, large, and not even that great, the new themes for Windows 7 are stunning, awesome, beautiful, amazing, cool, stellar – pick your adjective. You can see just one of the many wallpapers below, in the screenshot where I describe how to get to these themes.

Many themes, like many of the stock Windows 7 themes, include multiple wallpapers which your computer will cycle through periodically. They will automatically adjust the “Aero Glass” color scheme, and most will change the sound scheme, though most don’t include new soundscapes – they just use the ones that came with Windows 7. My favorites are fractal art, dark abstracts, and ice water. That’s right, ice water. High definition photographs of ice cubes in water. There’s a similar, more colorful theme called party ice.

To access them, go to the desktop of your own computer. Minimize everything so you just so your existing wallpaper and desktop icons. Right click off in an empty space on your desktop, then click Personalize at the very bottom of the right click context menu. From there, look for the link option that says “Get more themes online.” I have linked to it in the text, but if you ever need to find it again, that’s how easily you can get to the page.

Once you’re on that page, pick your theme, and click the download link. When prompted, just click RUN instead of Save – the theme will download and store itself on your computer automatically. You don’t have to worry about where the downloaded file went, the theme will be installed just by selecting Open! Even if you change themes later, you can always go back to the personal menu and switch between your themes!

The themes themselves traverse the entire spectrum: dark and brooding, colorful and happy, game related (Halo, Gears of War, Bullet Asylum and more games have hi-resolution wallpapers on this page), landscapes, hi-def photography, Christmas, Valentines Day, Halloween, Year of the Dragon, Rabbit, Tiger… the list goes on and on. Download these high definition themes for free, from Microsoft.