Configuring IPsec IKEv2 Remote Access VPN Clients on Windows

Windows 8 and newer easily support IKEv2 VPNs, and Windows 7 can as well though the processes are slightly different. The procedure in this section was performed on Windows 10, but Windows 8 is nearly identical. The procedure to import certificates to Windows 7 can be found on the strongSwan Wiki

Import the CA to the Client PC

  • Export the CA Certificate from pfSense® and download or copy it to the client PC:

    • Navigate to System > Cert Manager, Certificate Authorities tab on pfSense

    • Click fa-certificate by the CA to download only the certificate

  • Locate the downloaded file on the client PC (e.g. VPNCA.crt) as seen in Figure Downloaded CA Certificate


Downloaded CA Certificate


Certificate Properties


Certificate Import Wizard - Store Location


Certificate Import Wizard - Browse for the Store


Select Certificate Store


Completing the Certificate Import Wizard

  • Click Finish

  • Click OK

  • Click OK

Setup the VPN Connection

Once the certificate has been properly imported it is time to create the client VPN connection. The exact steps will vary depending on the version of Windows being used by the client, but will be close to the following procedure.

  • Open Network and Sharing Center on the client PC

  • Click Set up a new connection or network

  • Select Connect to a workplace

  • Click Next

  • Select No, create a new connection

  • Click Next

  • Click Use my Internet Connection (VPN)

  • Enter the IP address or hostname of the server into the Internet address field as shown in Figure Windows IKEv2 VPN Connection Setup Screen


This must match what is in the server certificate Common Name or a configured Subject Alternative Name!


Windows IKEv2 VPN Connection Setup Screen

  • Enter a Destination Name to identify the connection

  • Click Create

The connection has been added but with several undesirable defaults. For example the type defaults to automatic. A few settings need to be set by hand first to ensure a proper connection is made. Refer to Figure Windows IKEv2 VPN Connection Properties

  • In Network Connections / Adapter Settings in Windows, find the connection created above

  • Right click the connection

  • Click Properties

  • Click the Security tab

  • Set Type of VPN to IKEv2

  • Set Data Encryption to Require Encryption (disconnect if server declines)

  • Set Authentication / Use Extensible Authentication Protocol to Microsoft: Secured password (EAP-MSCHAP v2) (encryption enabled)

  • Compare the values on the screen to those in Figure Windows IKEv2 VPN Connection Properties

  • Click OK


Windows IKEv2 VPN Connection Properties

The connection is now ready to use.

Disable EKU Check

When the CA and server certificates are made properly on pfSense 2.2.4 and later, this is not necessary. If an improperly generated server certificate must be used for some reason, then the Extended Key Usage check may need to be disabled on Windows. Disabling this check also disables validation of the certificate’s common name and SAN fields, so it is potentially dangerous. Any certificate from the same CA could be used for the server when this is disabled, so proceed with caution.

To disable the extended key usage checks, open up Registry Editor on the Windows client and navigate to the following location in the client registry:


In there, add a new DWORD entry named DisableIKENameEkuCheck and set it to 1.

A reboot may be required to activate the setting.

Advanced Windows IPsec settings

With Windows 10 PowerShell cmdlet Set-NetIPsecMainModeCryptoSet it is possible to change various advanced settings, like IPsec lifetime:

PS C:\>Set-NetIPsecMainModeCryptoSet -DisplayGroup "pfSense IPsec" -MaxMinutes 600

This example modifies the maximum IPsec SA lifetime for the “pfSense IPsec” connection. The default Windows IPsec lifetime is 4800 minutes (eight hours).

See also

For more information, see Windows 10 IPsec PowerShell cmdlets