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Connecting to a VPN should be easier than that. And now it is. Technology for Academics

Connecting to a VPN should be easier than that. And now it is. Technology for Academics


I made the jump from Windows 7 to Windows 10. Overall I like this upgrade, although connecting to my college VPN is getting more and more difficult. Well, not more difficult, just more boring. In Windows 7, I could click the connect to internet icon in the system tray, click “HighlineVPN”, and I was connected. I didn’t think it was a miracle thing until this functionality disappeared in Windows 10. I can still do these same steps, only when I click on “HighlineVPN” a new window opens where I can click on “HighlineVPN” again (?) which then gives me the option to connect By clicking the connect button (?!). I guess the programmers wanted to make sure that I really, really, wanted to connect to this VPN.

With a little effort, I now have a keyboard shortcut that connects/disconnects me to my college VPN. sweet!


ready? First, make sure that you have already set up a connection to a VPN. If you are not sure how to do this, contact your organization’s help desk.

Create a code to connect/disconnect your VPN

Open Notepad on your computer, copy and paste this code, and replace myvpn with your VPN name. (Shout out to the good folks at StackOverflow for this solution!)

@ echo out
ipconfig | Find / I “myvpn” && rasdial myvpn / disconnect || rasdial myvpn

Make File -> Save As. Type a descriptive file name, and end it with bat. Put the file somewhere on your hard drive where you can find it. Not on your desktop. You already have a lot of stuff on your desktop. Choose a place like C drive. Mine is here – C:Userssfrantz

This is what my HighlineVPN.bat file looks like in Notepad.

You have just created a small computer program. I did well! When this file is opened, these lines of code will be run. The first line tells the computer not to show the second line of code. The second line of code handles the VPN connection. If you are not connected to your VPN, it will connect you. If you are connected, it will disconnect you.

A black window will briefly appear showing you what the computer is doing. This will appear when connected.

Note: If you want to modify the .bat file, right-click on it in the folder, and select Edit. Double clicking on it will launch the program, and the VPN will connect/disconnect.

Create shortcut

Desktop shortcut. Navigate to your folders until you find your .bat file. Right-click on it and choose Create Shortcut. Then drag this shortcut to the desktop. If you want to connect/disconnect from your VPN, double click on your shortcut. Honestly, if you were to do that, you could also just put the same file on your desktop instead of worrying about the shortcut. But as I wrote earlier, you already have enough stuff on your desktop.

You can create keyboard shortcuts for this type of Windows shortcut, although it didn’t work with this one. Maybe because of the nature of this type of file, I don’t know.

Instead, I used Phrase Express. Phrase Express allows Windows users to create a keyboard shortcut for just about anything. I mostly use it to extend something short into something much longer. For example, when I write! STP is expanding into the psychology teaching community. In this case, I’ll use Phrase Express to create a keyboard shortcut that will open my HighlineVPN.bat file – and opening it is what makes my computer run the code that connects/disconnects my VPN connection.

In Phrase Express, you create a New Phrase by clicking the button at the bottom of the Phrase Express screen. I’ve written a helpful description so I can find it later if I need to – eg when writing a blog post on how to do it. I chose Macro -> Automation -> Open File. Phrase Express asked me to navigate the folder structure until I find my HighlineVPN.bat file. After selecting it, I entered Phrase Express #open in the “Phrase content” box. Below this box, I clicked the Ctrl and Win buttons, chose V from the dropdown menu, and clicked OK. That was it!

All I do now is press CTRL + Windows + V, and I connect/disconnect from my college VPN.

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