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How to set up manual connection on Windows 7 and above

The OpenVPN GUI application is an alternative option to connect to NordVPN servers on your Windows PC. If you prefer manual connection and tinkering with open-source software, this is a good way of connecting to NordVPN. That said, it lacks the additional features of the NordVPN native app, but still uses the same VPN protocol — the OpenVPN. It's also a bit more complicated to set up, so here are instructions to guide you through the process.

  1. Download the OpenVPN GUI application.

    For Windows 7/8/8.1
    For Windows 10
     
  2. Open the installation file and follow the instructions in the setup wizard.




     
  3. Once the application is installed, download the NordVPN server configuration files, as the OpenVPN app uses them to connect to specific NordVPN servers. Download the configuration files here.
  4. When you follow the link, you will also see the server recommended for the best possible experience. Click Show available protocols under the suggested server to see the different protocol options. 

    In the list of available options, click on the Download config link next to OpenVPN TCP or OpenVPN UDP.


     
  5. Go to the folder where you downloaded the configuration files. Click and drag to select the OpenVPN configurations you have just downloaded, right-click on them, and select Copy.
  6. You'll have to extract the configuration files to this directory:
     
    C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config\

    6.1. To quickly find the OpenVPN\config\ folder, right-click the OpenVPN GUI shortcut on your desktop and select Open file location.



    6.2. Once you're there, click the parent OpenVPN folder in the address bar.



    Open the config folder.



    6.3 Paste the copied configuration files in the folder by right-clicking anywhere in the folder and selecting Paste:

     

    Click Continue to allow the files to be extracted to the folder:



    Note: if you are using Windows 10, add an extra line in the configuration files to prevent possible DNS leaks:

    To do that, open the downloaded .ovpn configuration file with any text editor and paste this line:

    block-outside-dns

    Don't forget to save the file before proceeding to the next steps of this tutorial.
     

  7. Now that the configuration files are in the proper folder for the application to detect them, open the OpenVPN GUI app by double-clicking the shortcut on your desktop.


     
  8. Allow the application to make changes to your device, as they are necessary for a VPN connection.


     
  9. The application will start running in the system tray, which is the notification area next to the clock:



    It might also be in the hidden system tray area:


     
  10. Right-click on the application icon, hover over one of the servers, and click Connect.


     
  11. Enter your NordVPN service username and password and click OK.

    You can find your NordVPN service credentials (service username and service password) in the Nord Account dashboard. Copy the credentials using Copy the buttons on the right.


     

     
  12. In a few seconds, the application will connect, and its window will disappear. The system tray icon will turn green and show your connection status when you hover over it:

 

And that's it! You should be successfully connected. To disconnect, right-click on the application icon, hover over the server, and click Disconnect.

 

Tip: Your VPN connection safety depends on your account password too. Don't forget to use a strong password on your account, as it will help you to avoid credential stuffing attacks and will keep your connections safe and uninterrupted.

As generating and remembering strong and secure passwords is not an easy task, we recommend downloading our free password manager — NordPass. It generates secure passwords for you and stores them safely, letting you avoid time-wasting password resets in the future.

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