Anywhere Access wizard

Good morning.  I figured it was time for Windows Server Essentials to get some time on this blog.  What better way to start than with the main wizard in Essentials.   The Anywhere Access wizard.  Anywhere access is probably one of Windows Essentials top features.  Here is what it can do.

  • Allow access to file shares on the server through a web interface.
  • Allow encrypted RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) access to any system joined to the domain
  • Allow SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) VPN (Virtual Private Network) access.
  • Allow remote access to the Dashboard to administer the server

All of this is setup automatically with an easy to use wizard.  There are two requirements though for running the wizard; internet access, and a trusted certificate.

So what can possibly go wrong?
Essentials Internet

This is the most common issue that I see with the wizard.  Basically, the wizard does not believe the server has internet access.  So how does the wizard know whether the server is connected to the Internet?  It checks to see if the name www. microsoft. com is resolvable in DNS (Domain Name System).  If it is, then the wizard will continue even if it cannot access the list of domain services. So if this error comes up it typically indicates a DNS problem problem.

So what is a good method for troubleshooting this issue?

  1. Connect to the DNS management console.  (dnsmgmt.msc)
  2. Right-click the server name and choose properties.
  3. Go to the Root Hints tab.
  4. Click the “Copy from Server” button.
  5. Enter in 198.41.0.4 and click OK.
  6. Switch to the Forwarders tab.
  7. Click the Edit button.
  8. Delete all forwarders.
  9. Test access to http://www.microsoft.com and if successful, run the Anywhere Access wizard again.

If the problem still persists, then it is time to go deeper.  Some ISPs (Internet Service Providers) block access to root hints and require the use of their DNS servers.  This is fairly rare, but I have encountered it a few times.  To test and configure a DNS forwarder, follow the instructions below.

  1. Open an admin command prompt.  (Right-click windows icon at bottom left and choose “Command Prompt(Admin)”)
  2. Type nslookup and hit enter.
  3. Type www. microsoft. com and hit enter (Remove the spaces).

    Good output:

    Server:  server.myessentialsdomain.local
    Address:  192.168.1.2
    
    Non-authoritative answer:
    Name:    e10088.dspb.akamaiedge.net
    Addresses:  2600:1404:21:28b::2768
    2600:1404:21:288::2768
    104.93.66.12
    Aliases:  www.microsoft.com
    www.microsoft.com-c.edgekey.net
    www.microsoft.com-c.edgekey.net.globalredir.akadns.net


    Bad output:

    Server:  server.myessentialsdomain.local
    Address:  192.168.1.2
    
    ***server.myessentialsdomain.local can't find www.microsoft.com: Non-existent domain

    If you received the good output, try the Anywhere access wizard again. If you are seeing the bad output, then proceed on.

  4. Type server 8.8.8.8 and hit enter
  5. Type www. microsoft. com and hit enter. (Remove the spaces)  Refer to step 3.  If good output is produced, then proceed on.  If bad output is produced, then repeat step 4 and 5 using the DNS server provided by your ISP.  Proceed good output is received.
  6. Open the DNS management console.
  7. Right-click the server name and choose properties.
  8. Click on the Forwarders tab.
  9. Click the Edit button.
  10. Add the server IP address that worked in 4.
  11. Click OK twice.
  12. Switch back to the admin command prompt.
  13. Type ipconfig /flushdns and hit enter.
  14. Re-run the Anywhere Access wizard.

If the above steps don’t fix the problem for you, I want to hear about it in the comments section.

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