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Connecting to VPN in Windows (PC)
Posted by Michael Sturm on 20 March 2017 10:23 AM



You can utilize virtual private networking (aka VPN) to encrypt data between your off-campus location and the college network.


Examples of tasks requiring VPN:


  • Connecting to Datastor files from off-campus
  • Accessing the GIS server
  • Accessing the EMS scheduling program for events and rooms
  • Using SFTP to transfer web pages via Dreamweaver or other programs


Please note: VPN is only needed off-campus—it will not be useful or functional when already on the Skidmore College network.



First Steps - Prepare Internet Options through Internet Explorer


Critical: Prepare Internet Options through Internet Explorer or the installation may fail.


1. Run Internet ExplorerTools menu → Internet OptionsSecurity tab


If you don't see the menu bar, look for a gear icon to the upper right.



2. Select the Trusted Sites icon in the zone list.


3. The box Enable Protected Mode should not be checked when on Trusted Sites.


4. Click the Sites button.


5. In the typing box, enter with the extra "s" on https.


6. Click the Add button.


7. Click the Close button.


8. Click the OK button.


9. Quit Internet Explorer.



Connecting and Installing SSL VPN



1. Did you prepare Internet Options with a trusted site? If not, please see the previous steps.


2. Make sure your Internet connection is working.


3. Run Internet Explorer and go to


If one browser fails, try another. IE should work if Firefox doesn't.

Critical: The address starts with https and there is no www. There is an "s" on the end of https.



4. A message may appear that the browser needs to open a new window. Choose OK if asked.


5. Login with username and your password.


Do not use your email address:

The Group should already read Skidmore. Do not change it.


6. A few security warnings will appear. In each case, answer in the affirmative. Examples:


  • Do you want the following program to make changes? Answer Yes.
  • An unidentified program wants access to your computer. Click Allow.


• A yellow bar in the IE may warn about an add-on; choose to install.




  • Do you want to run this application? Click Run.



7. After the installation a brief message should note that you are connected.



"Automatic installation failed. Now what?" - Running the manual install.


Do you see this message that installation was unsuccessful?



1. Click the link to manually install VPN.



2. A bar below may ask whether to run or download. Choose Run.


3. Click/tap Next.


4. Mark the radio button for I accept ...


5. Next


6. Click/tap Install.


7. If asked, allow this program to make changes with Yes.


8. Click/tap Finish.


9. Close Internet Explorer.



The brief message disappeared. How do I know VPN's status?

In the lower right corner is a small triangle button.


  • This is the Show hidden icons button.
  • Some buttons in the Notification Area are hidden by default, including the Cisco client.
  • A click on this button reveals all of the notification icons.



You will find the Cisco AnyConnect client among the icons.


  This icon indicates VPN is not connected.


  This icon indicates VPN is connected.




Using Cisco AnyConnect to Connect to VPN


If Cisco AnyConnect did not automatically connect to Skidmore's network, you can manually initiate a connection.


1. Click on the globe in the lower right hand corner to open the Cisco AnyConnect Client.



2. In the Client Window, enter "" if not already present, and press Connect.



3. You should see the following, confirming your VPN connectivity:




To disconnect from VPN, press the Disconnect button.


**Please be sure to save and close all open documents from Datastor before disconnecting from VPN, as not doing so will risk corrupting the file!**



Using VPN to Connect to Datastor


You can now connect securely to campus servers.


To connect to Datastor:


1. Open the Start menu.



2. Find the Search typing box at the bottom.


3. Type \\ (use \\ , not // and no spaces) in the search box.


4. Hit the Enter key on your keyboard.


5. If asked to login, use username in all lower case.


6. A window opens into Datastor; you may double-click any folder to which you have rights.



**Please be sure to save and close all open documents from Datastor before disconnecting from VPN, as not doing so will risk corrupting the file!**


Note: if there is no padlock, you are already disconnected.

This illustrates an active connection because the padlock is visible.



Single-click the locked globe icon to find the Disconnect button.

The icon loses the padlock; this means you are disconnected. No padlock = no connection.




VPN is installed, but not open. How do I get back to the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client?


If the icon is still in your tray, click it to reveal the Connect button.


- or-


If there is no icon in the tray, find and run the program.

Start menu → All ProgramsCisco




Maintained by the IT Help Desk - Last revised 3/20/2017

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