The security settings you assign to a virtual private network (VPN) entry must match the settings on the VPN server to which this entry corresponds. The settings are determined by the configuration of the VPN server. You can specify whether encryption is required, which authentication protocol is used, which VPN protocols to attempt, and in which order.

Setting Description

VPN strategy

Specifies the VPN protocols to attempt, and in which order. You can choose Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP), or Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2), either alone, or with the selected protocol attempted first. If you specify a single protocol, and the remote server does not support that protocol, then the connection fails.

If you select one of the "try first" options, the order the protocols are attempted are as follows:

  • PPTP: PPTP, IKEv2, SSTP, and then L2TP

  • L2TP: L2TP, IKEv2, PPTP, and then SSTP

  • SSTP: SSTP, IKEv2, PPTP, and then L2TP

  • IKEv2: IKEv2, PPTP, SSTP, and then L2TP

  • IKEv2 is not supported on operating systems earlier than Windows 7. If you select Only use IKEv2 and the profile is run on a computer running an earlier version of Windows, then one of the following VPN strategies is used instead:
    • For clients running Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later, Try SSTP First is used.

    • For clients running Windows Vista with no service pack installed, Try PPTP First is used.


This option is available if you select a VPN strategy that includes IKEv2 or L2TP.

  • If you select an option that includes IKEv2, then you can enable the mobility feature that allows the VPN connection to persist for a period of time, even if the IP address changes or the network adapter through which the computer connects to the Internet changes. Click Advanced. In the Advanced Settings dialog box, select the IKEv2 tab. Select Mobility, and then select the amount of time that the VPN is allowed to persist before it is terminated. If the client cannot reestablish connection with the VPN server before this amount of time has elapsed, then the connection is terminated. Mobility is enabled by default.

  • If you select an option that includes L2TP, you can include a preshared key with the connection profile. Click Advanced, and in the Advanced Settings dialog box, select the L2TP tab, and then click Use a preshared key. Use this option only if you cannot use computer certificates as the authentication method. For more information about including a preshared key, see Configure a Preshared Key.

Data encryption

Specifies the encryption type to use for the data stream to and from the remote VPN server. Choices include:

  • No encryption. The data is sent in plain text. The connection fails if the VPN server requires data encryption.


    This option cannot be used for IKEv2 because IKEv2 requires encryption. If you select this option and attempt to use IKEv2, the connection will fail.

  • Optional encryption. The data is encrypted only if requested by the VPN server.

  • Require encryption. The data is encrypted. The connection fails if the VPN server does not support encrypted data.

  • Maximum strength encryption. The data will be encrypted using the strongest encryption supported by both computers.

The selection made must be compatible with the encryption requirements of the remote server or the connection fails.

Use Extensible Authentication Protocol

Specifies that logon authentication uses Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), with the option of using smart cards or other certificates. If you select this setting, you must configure the EAP or certificate options by clicking Properties. For more information about the Protected EAP Properties page or the Smart Card or other Certificate Properties page, press F1 while viewing those pages.

Authentication methods

Specifies other means for transmitting the authentication information to the server. These are older authentication protocols that you can use only if the VPN server requires them.

Security Note

We recommend that you avoid the use of Password Authentication Protocol (PAP) because it transmits your user name and password in plain text over the network.

For more information about configuring VPN entries, see Incorporating VPN Entries ( on the Microsoft Web site.

Additional references