Deploying, Managing, and Using the DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2

The Microsoft DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant (DCA) supports a DirectAccess client computer that is running Windows® 7 Enterprise or Ultimate editions by clearly indicating the state of DirectAccess connectivity to corporate network resources. It provides easy access to troubleshooting information and makes it simple to create and send log files to support personnel.


You can download the DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant, along with the Group Policy administrative template files and a Word copy of this guide at Microsoft DirectAccess Connectivity Assistant ( in the Microsoft Download Center.

Without the DCA, when a user’s Internet connection (for example, appears to be available, but corporate network resources are not accessible, there is no way that the user can verify if the problem is caused by DirectAccess not working correctly. This can result in user frustration and increased Help Desk support calls. The DCA clearly indicates the operational status of DirectAccess by using an icon in the notification area and informational messages. This helps the user identify the problem area and helps direct troubleshooting efforts.

If DirectAccess is not working correctly, the DCA clearly indicates the status by changing the icon in the notification area and by displaying informational messages that provide more detail about the failure. The DCA provides the user with easy access to an extranet URL. For example, this URL might point to a Web site that hosts support information for the organization’s user community. The user can easily send diagnostic log files to the DirectAccess support staff. The log files can contain the default information. The administrator can include a script in the DCA configuration that creates additional diagnostic information that is included in the log files sent to the support team.

This guide includes the following topics:

  • Configuring the DCA software   Learn to set up the DCA so that it operates the way your organization requires.

  • Deploying the DCA software   Learn how to deploy the installation program to the client computers that are running DirectAccess.

  • Using the DCA software   Help your users understand how to use the DCA to improve their DirectAccess experience, and to help troubleshoot DirectAccess connectivity issues that might occur.

Target audience

This document is intended for information technology (IT) administrators and support staff who deploy, manage, and support DirectAccess on their corporate networks. The Using the DCA software section is a User’s Guide for the DirectAccess users to whom you deploy the DCA.