Tag: windows 7

Windows 7 and the Mac Mini Server VPN

I spent a few hours in the last week and a half attempting to connect my Windows 7 computer to a VPN provided by a new Mac Mini Server.  The win 7 computer is at my house, and the mac mini is at my friend’s house.  The wrinkle here is that we both have routers that provide NAT services.  Little did I know, that would be the only real problem.

In order to configure the connection, you want to set it as an L2TP connection, enable the CHAP and MS-CHAPS authentication scheme, and in the advanced properties for the L2TP connection make sure you put in the plain text shared secret that the VPN server admin should provide to you.

Finally, in order to connect through the NAT devices, you will want to have a look at this link.


It doesn’t list Windows 7 in the “Applies to” section, but it worked for me on Windows 7.  The gist is, you want to create this new registry key:


The path up to PolicyAgent should already exist, so you only have to create the AssumeUDPEncapsulationContextOnSendRule DWORD(32) key.  If your computer AND the VPN server are both behind a NAT device (like a router) then you will want to set the value to 2.  This is likely what you will need.  If only the server is behind a NAT device, then set the value to 1.  If you feel like you need to set the value to 0, then this blog post isn’t for you in the first place.

After changing the registry, you’ll likely have to reboot.

Hopefully this’ll save someone the several hours myself (and my buddy!) had to spend figuring this out.

Why I left Ubuntu for Windows 7

After about 18 months of having Ubuntu (8.04, 8.10, 9.04) as our main home computer operating system, I recently formatted the drive to use as an application drive for my Windows 7 Home Premium installation.

When I first started with Ubuntu I was quite excited.  I’m not a linux guru, but I am able to get around a bit.  I had a couple of issues right off the bat with the installer, but a little google and 20 minutes and I had it going and installed.  I was also able to configure grub to dual boot to a windows XP installation on a separate physical drive.  Everything was awesome.

My wife and kids had no problems adjusting to linux instead of windows.  I was able to just show them the link for firefox and open office and they were able to do everything they did before.

Well… mostly.

Anything requiring Flash (which the kids did a lot of) was a bit of a pain, sometimes it worked, most of the time it almost worked, and sometimes it failed completely.  I was finally able to follow some directions online and remove all the crap fake Flash that shipped with the machine and install the real Adobe Flash 10 player beta for x64 based linux.  Things were much better then, but performance still was not acceptable.

Next, I wanted to update Open Office.  Again, plenty of reading online first and I was able to update it.  Then, when I updated to a new version of Ubuntu, it messed up my Open Office installation.  A bunch of apt-this and apt-that and it was resolved and I was able to install and use the new version again.

What about eclipse?  Much the same.  The latest version never seems to be officially supported, so I had to do some manual crap to get it working correctly, but it was one of the easiest.

How about gaming?  Well, why do you think the kids were using flash so much?  They found some games they liked online and would play those because there really weren’t other good options for playing games on linux.  Yeah, I know about wine and all that emulation stuff, and it worked about as well as the fake Flash crap.

Hardware and Accessories?  How about a TV tuner card from THE tv tuner company Hauppauge.  I couldn’t get it easily working in order to capture our old VHS tapes to the hard drive, and obviously none of the software shipped with the card would work on linux.  I had to boot to windows to do any of that stuff.  I bought a drawing tablet with a pen.  Did that go flawlessly?  Not even close.  I spent multiple hours trying to get it working.  I had to use a driver that wasn’t written for my particular tablet (Genius Mousepen) and do a bunch of manual configuration by following the notes in some nice person’s web page.  After all that work, it only worked for my user.  I wasn’t sure which of the steps I followed could be modified to get it working for multiple users.  I finally gave up and once again booted to windows whenever I (or my daughter) wanted to use it.

So, why did I go to Windows 7?  I just don’t think Linux is ready for the consumer desktop.  Canonical has made a huge effort and major progress in that area with Ubuntu, but there still isn’t enough support from major hardware makers, much less minor hardware makers and even major software makers.  All the things I wanted to allow my family to do were MUCH more difficult in linux than they were in windows.

I was very pleased with the stability of the OS, and the resistance to trojans and viruses, and if I could install it on my work laptop, I would in a minute.  Also, if the ONLY thing you are going to be doing with a machine is email and office type applications, then I can also see linux being a good fit, as in a netbook.

I don’t believe I will try linux on the desktop again for a few more years in a consumer role.  I’m sure there are some linux gurus out there that can give me pointers on how to fix all of the problems I’ve listed above, but that kind of proves my point.  I don’t need to talk to a windows guru in order to install my drawing tablet.  I plug the tablet in and it works, even though it is a small brand.

I will be interested to see how Windows Security Essentials does in handling the viruses that I’m sure my kids will bring into the home no matter how many times we talk about being a safe internet user.  That’s pretty much the only downside I can think of right now, and it’s unproven so far.