Install and configure Direct Access on a Windows Server 2016 Essentials for hassle-free remote access

Install and configure Direct Access on a Windows Server 2016 Essentials for hassle-free remote access

Did you ever troubleshoot VPN problems between Windows 10 and a Windows Server 2016 deployment? Get disconnects every now and then but you have no idea why that happens? Do you get 'error 720 a connection to the remote computer could not be established'? Use Direct Access instead of the old VPN solution.

One of the many advantages over ‘ordinary’ VPN is that Direct Access is fully transparent to the end-user. Direct Access connects automatically if the client finds it is ‘outside’ of your corporate network making resources available as if you are connected inside your corporate network. Mapped drives and local applications hosted on your server act as if you are inside your corporate Lan and the connection from your client to your server is secure. Clients without a proper certificate from your own PKI infrastructure, that runs by default on a Windows Server 2016 Essentials, cannot connect to Direct Access.

Deploying Direct Access on a server that runs the ‘Essentials Experience’ role on a Windows Server 2016 Standard/Datacenter or on a Windows Server Essentials 2016 SKU requires more 'tuning' then when it is installed on a separate member server in your domain. This simplified deployment is meant for SMB’s who only have one server and that server will be configured as a Direct Access server using the same certificate that is used for Anywhere Access. Deploying Direct Access on a Domain Controller (supported by Microsoft) is not considered ‘the most secure way’ but most of the SMB’s I know come from a Small Business Server and as we know that had everything on one box. In another guide, I will write about deploying Direct Access and the NLA (Network Location Server) on separate servers but for now, we focus on the smallest business. For DirectAccess to work you need a Windows 10 Enterprise license.

Free access for registered users!

The complete content of this article is only visible for registered users and it is free! What you see now is just a summary. Registration is free and done within 30 seconds and gives you instant access to all text, screenshots and PowerShell scripts (if any).


Join our community.

Excellent content,
great people!

Like what you see? Join us for free*

Subscribe and receive ‘how to’ and ‘best practice’ articles on server and cloud maintenance, design and troubleshooting.

  • Monthly newsletter with a summary of all new tutorials
  • Get an email as soon as a new tutorial has been published

About www.server-essentials.com 

www.server-essentials.com is founded by Mariette Knap, a Dutch Microsoft MVP. www.server-essentials.com is a community for IT Consultants and Business Owners who, themselves, take care of the IT infrastructure and Employees who do that little extra in the company to keep things running. Our forum is for discussing all things ‘IT’ and more.  Our documentation is top notch and written by and for the community.

Change your cookie settings

Contact Us
(030) 2250455

International: +31302250455


Concentrix BV

C. de Rijcklaan 1

3723 PM Bilthoven

The Netherlands

KvK 30202318

VAT Id 814036739B01

This page is intended to be viewed online and may not be printed. You are not allowed to save or print any documentation on www.server-essentials.com. If you save documentation locally or distribute it you are violating the Terms of Service of this website you agreed on when registering an account. You have access to the documentation as long as you have a valid subscription. If you try to download our documentation we will drop Javascript which makes it possible for us to track you.