Set up OpenVPN for Mac OS X


These instructions will show you how to set up OpenVPN on Mac OS X.


You only need to complete steps 1, 2 and 3 once. You will need to complete step 4 each time you connect.

In this article:

  • Step 1. Request access
  • Step 2: Set up your office computer for Remote Desktop Connection
  • Step 3: Download and set up OpenVPN on your home computer
  • Step 4. Connect and start a Remote Desktop Connection
  • Additional: How to access a share
  • Additional: Disconnecting

Step 1. Request access (if you need to)

OpenVPN works on a per-user permission basis. As such, you normally have to request access to resources like your desktop PC or other protected resources not normally accessible from off campus.

However, there are some exceptions listed below which are automatically available to relevant staff that you don’t need to explicitly request and will just work for you. If in doubt about your OpenVPN permissions, please check your OpenVPN Account Details.

For off campus access to Agresso and iTrent

Staff who can access Agresso are automatically given access to: https://agrlive.essex.ac.uk/agresso/Login/Login.aspx

Staff who have access to iTrent (People Manager etc) are automatically given access to: https://ihr.essex.ac.uk/tlive_web/wrd/run/etadm001gf.open

For Remote Desktop Connection and access to other resources and services

If you require more than the default access to Agresso and/or iTrent, then you must email the IT Helpdesk at it.helpdesk@essex.ac.uk with the following details:

  • your Essex ID
  • your office computer's S number (if you want to use Remote Desktop Connection)
  • details of other resources or services you want to use that can't be accessed via Remote Desktop Connection

Please allow one working day for us to activate OpenVPN on your account - we'll send you a confirmation email once it's done. Once you have been given access continue to the next steps.


Step 2. Set up your office computer for Remote Desktop Connection

Perform the following steps on your office computer if you want to use Remote Desktop Connection.

  1. Click Start.
  2. Right-click Computer.
  3. Click Properties.
  4. Click Remote settings.
  5. Ensure that Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop is selected.
  6. Click Select Users... and ensure that your name is listed as a remote desktop user.
  7. If your name isn't listed, click Add and type in your login name using the format CAMPUS\mylogin. Click OK.

This is all you need to do on your office computer.


Step 3. Download and set up OpenVPN on your home computer

Whilst Macs come with OpenVPN support built-in, it is easier to connect if you use the free Tunnelblick application.

  1. Download the latest Tunnelblick version from https://tunnelblick.net/.
  2. Once the download has finished, open the Tunnelblick Installer disk image and then double-click on the Tunnelblick icon. You might be warned that the application was download from the internet. Click Open to install.
  3. Depending on your Mac's security settings, you may now be prompted to provide your Mac administrator username and password, if so enter these and click OK.
  4. You should see an Installation successful message. For now, Click Quit as we need to provide a configuration before continuing.
  5. Once you've installed OpenVPN, download this configuration file and open it. Double-click on Essex University.tblk. This will launch Tunnelblick and give you the option of installing the configuration for All users or Only me. Choose as desired. When prompted, enter your Mac password.

This is all you need to do to on your home computer.


Step 4. Connect and start a Remote Desktop Connection
  1. Click on the Tunnelblick icon (top-right) and select Connect Essex University.
  2. When prompted, enter your University login name and password. Do not use a leading CAMPUS\ or trailing @essex.ac.uk. Choose whether to Save in keychain. Click OK.
  3. You should now be connected to OpenVPN.
  4. To start a Remote Desktop Connection you will need to download either Microsoft Remote Desktop Client for Mac or CoRD.
  5. Start your preferred remote desktop client. For the Computer address, enter your office computer S number in the format snumber.essex.ac.uk, eg S1234.essex.ac.uk . Now click Connect.
  6. Enter your University login name and password to login.
  7. Choose whether to add user information in to your keychain.

    Please note that you should only add your University login name and password to the keychain if your Mac requires a secure password to login and unlock it. If it doesn’t require a secure password to login and unlock it, you should not store your University login name and password on the keychain. This should prevent unauthorised access to University resources should your Mac be lost or stolen.
     
  8. Click OK. You should now be logged in to your office PC.

Additional notes
How to access a share

Once TunnelBlick is running and you are connected, you can use Go/Connect to server from your Finder app to provide the necessary connection string. For windows file shares, use a server address of smb://server.essex.ac.uk/share, for example smb://sernt2.essex.ac.uk/local


Disconnecting from OpenVPN

When you have finished your session, remember to log off from your Remote Desktop Connection and disconnect from OpenVPN.



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