How did this VPN client screw up XP Pro?

I installed a VPN client yesterday, a Cisco product. I’m not sure of the version because I uninstalled it already. Why? Well, it made XP…weird. Instead of a big blue screen when I logged off, I got a little box, kind of like the login box from Win 2000. Same with logging on a boot up. Also, a few of my IM programs were screwy as well as my inet connection. What the hell is up with that? I might expect similar results from some free VPN client off of or something, but Cisco?

Unfortunately, I need to get this VPN client to work but I’m nervous about it.

a) Should I be concerned?
b) Are there any steps I can take to avoid it messing with my OS?
c) Has anyone else used this particular client and just lived with the changes it makes to XP?

SP2 installed, by any chance?

When the Cisco vpn clients are active, they disable the local network. All traffic goes through the over the vpn. Your IM programs are probably screwy because they are expecting a direct connection to the internet. If you are using the vpn client, there is probably a proxy to go through.

Call your support folk and ask them if there are proxy settings you need for browsers and other programs to work through the VPN.

As for the little box, I can’t say for sure but one of the options when installing a vpn client is to have it start automatically at boot. That little login box you are seeing may be the vpn client starting and looking for your name/passphrase for authentication.

Don’t know why it would pop up at log off. Not enough experience with Windows to say.

In short: Is the vpn client set to start automatically at boot? Does your vpn client disable local network access and, if so, do you need to define proxy servers for browsers and other network clients.

Good luck.

Believe it or not, this is normal with certain network programs and Windows XP. The most common example is older versions of Symantec pcAnywhere.

Basically, these programs changed the standard windows file msgina.dll. The GINA in that file stands for Graphical Identification and Authorization, which is used to create the start up screen. Since these programs require authentication, they ensure that you’re given the standard Press Control-Alt-Delete prompt before logging in. Usually they disable fast-user switching as well.

Newer versions of pcAnywhere have fixed the problem. Perhaps a newer version of the Cisco VPN software has as well. Otherwise, you can always alter it by removing the relevant entry from the registry, but that may have unwanted effects with the program.

(If you do want to know the location of the specific registry entry, let me know. I won’t send a bill, but I won’t be liable for any problems with the VPN software either :wink: )

Ahhhh… Ok. That makes sense. Yeah, what’s the registry entry? My quick and dirty Google and MSDN search was fruitless.

No problem. Go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\Current Version\WinLogon

In the right pane, delete the GINA.dll entry. This will bypass any special authentication. In fact, you should probably export it first in case of any problems. A reboot is required for the change to take effect.

Never mind :smiley:

Good info anyway guys, I appreciate it!