I was working on a friend’s computer this last weekend and I ran into a problem where her Kingston DataTraveler 16 GB suddenly stopped working on her Windows 7 Home Premium PC. My netbook, Eek, is currently running Windows 7 Ultimate and recognized it just fine.
This was only the start of the USB problems.
Since Microsoft has been generous enough to share the Windows 7 RC with everyone, and because Jon has enjoyed it so much, I decided my Eee should be running Win7. Getting Windows 7 is fairly easy, download site and key available from Microsoft and Microsoft TechNet. Both have the same information, the former looks prettier, while the latter offers a more utilitarian experience. Either one will get you what you need. Oh yeah, the ISO is about 2.5 GB, so make sure you have a bit more than that available on the machine that is downloading it.
Next up is getting the image somewhere useful. You have two choices:
1. Burn a DVD and then hook up an external DVD drive to your Eee…
2. Bootable Thumb Drive
Not wanting to deal with #1, I chose option #2, as I believed it would be much faster (no DVD to burn) and less hassle (no external DVD drive to acquire). Now, how do you make a Thumb Drive bootable? An excellent question, for which I turned to google.
At our office we use OpenVPN for our VPN needs. This was a change I made a few years back, taking us away from Windows PPTP. It has proved to be an interesting experience, because things do not always “work” on the client side. This is most apparent when dealing with Windows and/or 64-bit computers. It becomes even more fun when the boss wants OpenVPN on his Vista 64 machine. Up until recently it simply wasn’t possible because there were no compiled 64-bit versions. Ok, that isn’t entirely true, I could have downloaded the source code and compiled it myself but… uh… no thanks. Anyways the boss requested this again recently and I actually endeavored to make it work.
First thing you need to do to get OpenVPN on Vista 64 bit running is the latest 2.1 series download. I downloaded and installed rc14 (incidentally rc15 didn’t work), though as of this writing rc18 is available. The first item on their “major new features” list is “Windows Vista-ready on both x86 and x64.” So you should be able to just install the 2.1 RC like you would any previous version. Vista will complain about unsigned drivers, but what’s new (go ahead and hit accept). After that, drop all the proper files and certs into the \config\ directory and you should be good to go. I’d like to note that previously I’ve needed to include the line “route-method exe” in my .ovpn config file, in order to get proper routing in Vista. I would guess that this isn’t needed any more, but I continue to use it. Your Millage May Vary.
Also, for you gogetters: I am running OpenVPN 2.1 rc16 on my Windows 7 (32bit) powered netbook. It works just perfect, though I still use the route-method line mentioned above. At some later point in time I will experiment without it and see how it runs (Editor’s note: What could possibly go wrong?). Since Windows 7 is mostly Vista (rather, what Vista should have been the first time around), I don’t expect to have any issues with using OpenVPN in Win7, so long as they stabilize it for Vista.
I’ve also discovered in the writing of this blog post that very recently OpenVPN has changed their website all around and is now very commercial. This makes me very sad because it seems like they are trying to obfuscate their open source roots. I predict a fork in the near future.