VPN Stopped Working After Changing Network Adapter on Win Server 2012 R2 Essentials

Posted on 2014-08-05
Last Modified: 2014-08-18
We have been using a VPN set up through Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials for several weeks. The Essentials server (and 3 other Windows servers) run as virtual machines on VMware ESXi. Last night, we changed the virtual network adapters of our servers to try to resolve a problem with VMware crashing. Since changing the virtual adapters, everything has been working fine, except for the VPN.

The VPN shows as connected, but we are unable to ping or otherwise access internal resources. I have run the repair and reconfigured Anywhere Access using the wizard in the Essentials dashboard, but that has not resolved the issue. We can connect to Remote Web Access without problems. As I said, the VPN shows as connected and we get no error messages. All clients are Windows 8.1.

The IPv4 addresses are all the same, but the MAC address and possibly the IPv6 addresses have changed on our servers, if that makes a difference.

I’m not sure where to look or what to do at this point. Any suggestions?
Question by:bhaf
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    I'd delete the VPN connection and create a new one.

    Author Comment

    I tried deleting and recreating the VPN connection, but that didn't work.

    However, I have discovered the cause of the problem: it is the virtual network adapter we are using with VMware. We were using the E1000E adapter in VMware, but VMware was crashing randomly. A KB article from VMware listed this as a known problem with the E1000E adapter, and the workaround was to switch to the VMXNET 3 adapter. We did this on Monday night, and that is when the VPN stopped working. I switched back to the E1000E and the VPN worked again. Switched to VMXNET 3 again, and it stopped working.

    Now I need to contact VMware to see how the heck we can get a network adapter that doesn't crash the server or cause problems with the VPN!

    I'll post back once I find a solution, although if anyone out there knows of one, I would appreciate hearing from you.

    Accepted Solution

    I resolved this problem, so I am posting to help anyone who might come across it in the future. First some background.

    We have a fairly new setup with a physical server running VMware ESXi 5.5.0 which hosts four Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual machines. One of the VMs is configured with the Windows Server Essentials (WSE) role. I initally ran the Anywhere Access wizard to set up Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Remote Web Access (RWA) features, and these worked well. In VMware, each VM was set up to use the e1000e network adapter.

    Shortly after we went into production, VMware crashed with a purple screen of death. This happened several times over several weeks as we tried different things to resolve it. Finally we found VMware KB Article 2059053 which described a possible resolution to this problem. So we changed the network adapters in VMware to the VMXNET 3 adpater and made appropriate changes in the Windows guests.

    Everything worked except the VPN. The VPN connected without errors, but nothing could be accessed through the VPN tunnel, via ping, RDP, or anything else. I tried using the Anywhere Access wizard to uninstall then reinstall the VPN and numerous other things, but to no avail.

    To make a long story short, I finally resolved the problem by doing the following:

    1.  I deleted hidden Intel network adapters that were associated with the e1000e virtual adapters we first used. I typed “set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1” at a command prompt with administrator privileges, and then opened Device Manager and chose to view hidden devices. Under Network Adapters, I deleted the Intel network adapter. (For good measure, I also renamed the current Ethernet connection from "Ethernet 2" to "Ethernet" which was only possible after deleting the hidden adapter.)

    2.  Then I essentially just removed all VPN configuration and started from scratch. Besides uninstalling the VPN using the Anywhere Access wizard, I also uninstalled all VPN and DirectAccess setup from the Remote Access Management (RAM) console. I rebooted, and then I had a “clean” server with no VPN setup. Then I used the WSE wizard to set it up again. I mistakenly thought it was still not working, so I also completed the VPN and DirectAccess setup in the RAM console too. In the end, although there is still some problem with the DirectAccess setup, the VPN is working again.

    I hope no one runs into this again, but I hope the above helps if you do!


    Author Closing Comment

    I accepted my own solution as I wound up resolving the problem without the suggestion that was made. But I appreciate the attempt to help!

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