XP tips for connecting to vpnS

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 This post is meant to assist certain XP users who may experience VPN  
login problems.
        I was very frustrated by this until I arrived at the solution  
below. My post applies mostly to
        Securitykiss (SK) VPN/XP users but may also be useful for other  
XP users with other VPNs.

        I tried several "free" vpn services before using SK. Their  
service is more reliable and better than other free and low cost VPN  
providers I have tried. Many of the other VPN providers did not work for  
me and I had some initial frustrating problems with SK but now it's  
working fine.

        If you are running windows XP (SP3) and using a pared-down, non-
standard or not fully updated
        configuration, you may have difficulty as I had, connecting to  
Security Kiss VPN servers. This
        post maybe useful to you. If you have a fully upgraded XP SP3 and  
running a standard configuration you may not have connection problems and  
may not need this article. Standard Disclaimer: This works for me, your  
mileage may vary. I am no networking expert, this is just something I  
found useful that I am passing along.

        This article assumes that you have installed Security Kiss  
software according to
        instructions and first used all of their recommended  
troubleshooting tips,- confer at
        the home securitykiss webpage easily found on google.

        On opening the SK main software program, you should get no error  
messages stating that
        the tap driver has not been installed for example.

        Once you load Security Kiss software, it will attempt to connect  
to it's servers
        to determine your bandwidth usage amount used for the month. If  
you get an error message
        stating it cannot connect to the usage meter or similar, this  
means there is something
        wrong with your installation or more probably your internet  
connection since it cannot even communicate with the main SK servers.

        If you're a paid member you should be presented with a list of  
some 58 servers in various countries. It is useful to click on the link  
in the SK software "Server Load" which should automatically bring up your  
browser and a graphical readout of the amount of user load each server is  
experiencing. Try to pick a server near to your location which has a low  
user load such that there will be no traffic slowing problems.

        On the main SK software window you will see your local IP, which  
in my case shows the IP
        assigned by our shared wireless router, for example  
192.168.nn.nnn It will also show your external IP number which is the IP  
that the outside world sees for you BEFORE you connect to the VPN. Once  
you connect to a VPN server this number changes to whatever the IP is for  
the server you are connected to, thus shielding you from your identifying  
IP to the rest of the world.

        In the upper right hand corner you will see your ClientID number  
which is the number SK identifies your account by. You also have links  
called "geolocation" which shows the location of the VPN server once you  
are connected to the tunnel.

        You also have links to provide feedback and purchase account  
time. If your using the
        free version the number of servers available you is drastically  
reduced but you can still use the
        limited number of free SK VPN servers. The main page will also  
show the amount of bandwidth you have consumed for the month and time  
elapsed for the month of usage.

        connection problems with xp running non standard or not updated  

        If you're like me, running a not fully updated XP SP3 that has  
had some of the excess
        XP programs disabled which are not generally needed or pose  
security risks, SK servers may have trouble assigning you an internal IP  
for the purpose of establishing your VPN tunnel to your individual  

        The problem for me was that the virtual tap driver is not  
assigned a MAC address and
        if you manually assign one to it, you will be able to connect.  
Here are the steps that
        worked for me.

        1) Login under admin privileges or other escalated privileges  
        The changes below can only be made from a privileged login, but  
once made you will be
        able to connect using a regular user login.

        2) Go to "Network Connections" (under start "Start" - "Settings")

        3) Find the network connection number that when you double click  
on it shows:
        TAP-Windows Adapter V9. Next to that you will see a button saying  
        Double click on that.

        4) Now you are presented with a window that says "TAP Windows  
Adapter V9 Properties"
        Click on the "Advanced" tab.

        5) Now you are presented with a window that has a "MAC address"  
window. In my case it
        was blank and SK could not establish a connection without having  
a MAC address for the
        virtual TAP adapter. In the window labeled "Value:" , simply type  
in a MAC address
        in the form FF-3A-2B-C2-2D The number can vary, but the number of  
letter and digits and dashes must be the same. But if you happened to  
choose a MAC address some other user is using to connect, you will have  
to change it again cuz you will not be able to connect. You can change it  
for one example to EE-2A-3B-C1-3D This also may prevent you local ISP  
from blocking your VPN connection as sometimes wifi and other blocks are  
made on the basis of the designated MAC address. The MAC address can also  
be used as one method of identifying a particular computer so it is to  
your advantage to change it periodically.

        6) Now go back to the main SK window and try to connect to one of  
the VPN servers and
        you should be able to connect. If you cannot then change the MAC  
again and retry your login. I generally can connect on the first attempt.  
You may have to change the MAC each time you
        reboot also. Apparently, you are getting assigned an internal MAC  
address in the form of 10.nnn.nn.nn by the network. I don't claim to  
understand it all, I just know it works for me and may work for you also.

        privacy dns configurations

        One thing you should know is that to keep your privacy to a  
maximum you should not
        use your ISPs DNS servers, but either the ones provided by SK or  
even better ones in you
        own DNS Hosts file. I will not cover the DNS Hosts file here, you  
can google for information on that. If you use your own hosts file for  
direct home computer DNS lookups your DNS lookups,-finding the IP for the  
site your surfing to will be even more private and probably faster, but  
that method is beyond the skope of this article. Most people will use SK  
DNS lookups. Here is how to make sure your configuration is set to do  

        1) Go back to the window referred to in step 3 above entitled  
"Local Area Connection NN Properties": In that window you will see "This  
Connection uses the following items:"
        Scroll down where is says "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Double  
click on that and make sure that "obtain ip address automatically" is  
ticked and "obtain dns address automatically" is ticked. This tells your  
system to ask for DNS requests to the VPN server and not to your ISP or  
some other server that might leak the IP lookups of whatever addresses  
you are visiting, thus creating a profile to identify you.

        Again, all of the above worked for me. I do not claim to be a  
networking specialist, and I am not even sure why it works, it just  
works. You can verify you are connected to the vpn tunnel and have the SK  
servers IP by going to these, and many other pages to check your IP and  
other identifying variables:


        The IP of the VPN server you are connected to will show up. If  
your ISP IP shows up
        you are not connected to a SK VPN server and whatever site you  
are visiting knows your home IP.

        exclusive tunneling:

        Occasionally, due to network problems or wifi hackers trying to  
hack your connection, the SK VPN server will drop your connection and  
then your connection will show your home IP.
        To prevent this under the main SK program window under "Options"  
and check/enable "Exclusive Tunneling". This prevent traffic going out  
from you computer that is not part of the VPN tunnel such that if your  
connection is dropped your home IP will not be revealed. However this  
also prevents some programs from making their own connection as the  
software attempts to route everything through the VPN tunnel.

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