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How to properly use a proxy

Hi.  We have used Group Policy (Windows 2008 domain) to apply proxy settings to users' workstations (running Windows XP).  This works as expected internally.  However, when they take their laptops outside our network, they are unable to surf the internet.  We have disabled access to the Connections Tab under Internet Options.  

Is this the expected behaviour?  Does that mean if the proxy goes offline that people will be unable to surf at all?  

Is there a way for Windows XP to not use the proxy if the server is unavailable?

Thanks.
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clcuser
Asked:
clcuser
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2 Solutions
 
MatheusMCommented:
The way you describe your setup, your users would be unable to access the internet unless they are connected to the proxy server.  When they leave your network, that proxy is no longer available, though windows is still trying to use it.  If your proxy were to go down, your users would be unable to access the internet until connectivity is restored.



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clcuserAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the quick reply.  Is there anyway to set it up so that users hit the proxy when they're in the network but when they're not on the network to bypass the proxy?  Our proxy device screens for malware, etc. so we want them to go through it whenever possible.
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MatheusMCommented:
Generally the easiest way to do that would be to allow them access to the proxy configuration page and teach them how to disable the proxy when they're on the road.  Assuming you have your proxy setup to reject connections to the internet which don't pass through the proxy, there isn't really any harm in allowing them to access the configuration page.
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sfarazmandCommented:
You can also provide exceptions for the proxy under Internet Options/Connections/LAN Settings/Advanced.
If you set anything 10.*.*.* (internal private address used for businesses), 192.168.*.* (addresses used on most consmer routers). This should allow access. You can also do that through group policy.
Allowing access to those settings can let them add their own exceptions. They can also turn it off as mentioned above. Allowing that can cause problems with inexperienced users who will in turn call you to fix the laptop because they forgot to enable the proxy settings again.
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