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Remote Access (VPN)


Remote access to network drives/folders (on Windows computers: G:, H:, N:, S:, and U:) requires use of Virtual Private Network (VPN) software. This document describes how to use a VPN connection to access UWSS or UWSA network resources. Once established, this connection will allow employees to access network file resources, databases, or connect to your desktop computer via Microsoft Remote Desktop.


  • These instructions will work for computers using Windows or Mac OS. Other desktop operating systems are unsupported.
  • UWSA or UWSS employees use their network credentials to authenticate (NOT your UW-Madison NetID).
  • This service requires that the Cisco AnyConnect client be installed on your computer. These instructions will install or update the client on your computer.

Installing or updating the VPN client

Installation of the Cisco AnyConnect client can be installed from Software Center on your UWSS or UWSA issued Windows computer. You can also manually download and install the VPN client. If you have the old client installed, this will uninstall and install the new client.

To install from Software Center:

  1. Perform a search for Software Center
  2. In Software Center, under the Applications tab, select ‘Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client (VPN)’ application.
  3. Click on the Install button to start installing.
  4. Once installation is complete, do a search for Cisco AnyConnect to launch the VPN client.
  5. Enter in the URL to connect:
    • UWSA:
    • UWSS:
  6. Enter in your user name and password.
    • UWSA: use your first then last name (ex: john smith)
    • UWSS: use your first.last (ex: john.smith)
  7. The second password field is for Duo MFA.
    • Duo Mobile app users: type in push to send a notification to your phone. You may also use the 6-digit passcode displayed in the Duo app.
    • Fob users: enter the 6-digit passcode from your fob.
  8. After you have connected for the first time, the URL will default to UWSS or UWSA. You will not have to enter in the full URL after the first login.

To manually install the Cisco VPN client:

Follow the steps in the document below to install or update the current Cisco AnyConnect client. These steps can also be performed on a personal computer to install the VPN client.