I was just catching up on our internal email and found David K bitching about his $600 Surface RT not letting him connect to his office’s virtual private network. Googled it, yup, no VPN client on this thing.

Meanwhile, on a $249 Chromebook, you’ve got OpenVPN, IPsec with PSK or certificate-based authentication out of the box, with a friendly RDP client free at the Chrome Web Store. Fifty bucks says you can do it on an iPad mini. Hell, an iPod I bet. I thought you were supposed to be able to work and play on this thing.

Sure, being able to run the Real McCoy Microsoft Office instead of Google Docs is fabulous, but not being able to save to your office shared folder and remoting to your computer or whatever it is you do with your VPN access, well that’s pretty weak, you’ve got to admit.

My only explanation is that just like depriving users of joining Windows domains, depriving them of a VPN client draws a deeper line between this and the Pro version and maybe nudge the power enterprise users over to that device. If that’s true, my mind’s blown that Microsoft would shoot themselves in the foot at any opportunity to climb in this tablet debut. They just don’t strike me as being in any position to do that, to swing around leverage between two products they don’t want to flop.

Isn’t the goal here to finally after all these failed attempts gain some traction in the mobile markets? Can any of you offer a better explanation? Perhaps I didn’t google hard enough? Is there any reason David K shouldn’t be able to fire up his VPN with this device?

Give David K his damn VPN client, Microsoft, don’t make him return it to get the Pro. And throw in some RDP too, I bet he likes that with his fruity tiles.

Doug Simmons


  1. Granted Cisco has not yet released an app the Surface RT absolutely has VPN built in. Might want to do some research before reporting incorrect information

  2. I was a little upset about this too until I found out we have an RDC gateway in place at work. I downloaded Microsoft’s Remote Desktop app from the store, plugged in the gateway address and have been connecting to everything!

    I’m not sure what VPN you’re using (Cisco, Juniper, AT&T), but maybe you can get your IT guys to configure it so it’ll work with the built-in client until your provider makes one available.

  3. Doug is absolutely correct. While there is rudimentary support for VPN built into Windows RT, the built in capabilities miss the boat for a large swath of customers. I use a mainstream VPN system and WinRT is as useful as a paperweight with it. On top of that, VPN vendors are saying MS is denying them access to APIs necessary to write their own clients. Microsoft needs to get back to their roots, embrace their third party software developers, and partner with them to make WinRT work with third party VPN software. Until that happens, WinRT Android and iOS will have a leg up on Microsoft.

  4. As many others have said. The Surface RT does have VPN. It is built in and just about the same VPN client that every other Windows versions has.

    VPN Types available on the Surface RT: PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, IKEv2

    Authentication available on the Surface RT: EAP-AKA, EAP-SIM, EAP-TTLS, PEAP, MSCHAPv2, CHAP, PAP, and even Smart Card

    I hope this can clarify some of the misdirected information in this post and comments.


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