Using Shrew Soft VPN: An alternate VPN Client for Windows

Guide is no longer recommended

OUCS will immenenty launch the Cisco Anytime Connect client, which will be available in the next couple of weeks. For VPN on 64-bit, I would recommend that people contact their local IT support or the OUCS Help Centre where this can be installed. It's stable and much better than Shrew Soft, so I would recommend that people request this. For this reason, this guide will no longer be updated.


Shrew Soft Inc. is a company from the United States that has developed a freeware VPN Client that is compatible with the OUCS remote access service. This has the benefit of being compatible with all 64-bit versions of the Windows operating system (XP x64, Vista x64 and 7 x64). At the moment the Cisco Systems VPN Client that OUCS provides, does not support these.

Which there are other and better alternatives to this out there (i.e the NCP-E Secure Entry Client) this is the only known one that is freeware. By comparison the NCP-E client costs 80 to buy.

It should also be pointed out also that not everybody requires the VPN. If all the user requires is to access e-journals etc, then this can be done using the Single Sign On, by going to Once there, click on Sign In up in the top right hand corner and use your SSO details. For the rest of the session they will be able to download journals as if they were physically on the Oxford network.

Configuring the VPN Client (to do once)

Download the latest version of the Shrew Soft VPN Client from

Install the software on the system. It is a standard install process (i.e pressing Next, next next)

In order to use the client on the Oxford network, you need to download the configuration file from

Once you've downloaded the oxford.vpn file. Download it and then open it with a text editor. Go to the line:

b:auth-mutual-psk:REPLACE WITH SECRET

and replace the words "REPLACE WITH SECRET" with the group password available @

Load up the VPN Client by going to Start --> Programs --> Shrew Soft VPN Client --> Access Manager

Click on File then Import.

Establishing a connection (to do everytime this is required)

Click on the oxford.vpn file that you downloaded and then press connect.

A dialog box will appear and then input your remote access username and password. Then press connect.

It should now establish a connection. A usual successful connection will appear as:

config loaded for site 'oxford.vpn' configuring client settings ...
attached to key daemon ...
peer configured
iskamp proposal configured
esp proposal configured
client configured
local id configured
pre-shared key configured
bringing up tunnel ...
network device configured
tunnel enabled