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How to Configure Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client for Windows

Because this website uses an older two-step authentication method, when you download the installer you might not see the updated version of the two-step authentication screens.


Stanford's VPN allows you to connect to Stanford's network as if you were on campus, making access to restricted services possible. To connect to the VPN from your Windows computer you need to install the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client.

Two types of VPN are available:

  • Default Stanford (split-tunnel).  When using Stanford's VPN from home, we generally recommend using the Default Stanford split-tunnel VPN. This routes and encrypts all traffic going to Stanford sites and systems through the Stanford network as if you were on campus. All non-Stanford traffic proceeds to its destination directly.
  • Full Traffic (non-split-tunnel).  This encrypts all internet traffic from your computer but may inadvertently block you from using resources on your local network, such as a networked printer at home. If you are traveling or using wi-fi in an untrusted location like a coffee shop or hotel, you may wish to encrypt all of your internet traffic through the Full Traffic non-split-tunnel VPN to provide an additional layer of security.

You can select the type of VPN you want to use each time you connect to the Stanford Public VPN.

Install the VPN client

  1. Download the Cisco AnyConnect VPN for Windows installer.
  2. Double-click the downloaded installer file.
  3. When prompted with a message, "Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?" click Yes.
  4. Follow the Stanford Software Installer prompts to install Cisco AnyConnect.
  5. Once installation is complete, select Close, then Quit.

Connect to the Stanford VPN

  1. Launch the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client client. 
    If you don't see Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client in the list of programs,  navigate to Cisco > Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.
  2. When prompted for a VPN, enter and then click Connect.

    connect to VPN
  3. Enter the following information and then click OK:
    • Group: select Default Stanford split- tunnel (non-Stanford traffic flows normally on an unencrypted internet connection) or Full Traffic non-split-tunnel (all internet traffic flows through the VPN connection)
    • Username: your SUNet ID
    • Password: your SUNet ID password

    select VPN type and log in with SUNet ID and password
  4. Next, the prompt for two-step authentication displays. Enter a passcode or enter the number that corresponds to another option (in this example, enter 1 to authenticate using Duo Push to an iPad). Then click Continue.
    • You may have to scroll down the list to see all of your options.
    • If your only registered authentication method is printed list, hardware token, or Google Authenticator, the menu does not display. Enter a passcode in the Answer field and click Continue.
    prompt for two-step authentication via menu
  5. Click Accept to connect to the Stanford Public VPN service.

    click Continue to connect to VPN service
  6. Once the VPN connection is established, a message displays in the lower-right corner  of your screen, informing you that you are now connected to the VPN.

    connected message

Disconnect from the Stanford VPN

  1. In the notification area, click the Cisco AnyConnect icon  vpn icon  if it is displayed. Otherwise, go to your list of programs and click Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.
  2. At the prompt, click Disconnect.

    disconnect from the VPN
Last modified September 7, 2023