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How to set up manual connection on Windows 7 and above

The OpenVPN GUI application is one of the alternative options for connecting to NordVPN servers on your Windows PC. If you prefer a manual connection and tinkering with open-source software, this is a good option to connect to NordVPN.  That said, it lacks the additional features of the NordVPN native app, but still uses the same VPN protocol - the OpenVPN protocol. It's also a bit more complicated to set up - please see additional guides below for set-up assistance.

  1. Download the OpenVPN GUI application.

    For Windows 7/8/8.1
    For Windows 10
     
  2. Open the installer file.



    Follow the setup wizard.


     
  3. Once the application is installed, you have to download the NordVPN server configuration files - using these files. The OpenVPN app uses these files to connect to specific NordVPN servers. Download the configuration files here.
     
  4. There you will see a server that will offer you the best possible experience. Click Show available protocols under the server that is suggested. 

    In the options that show up, click on Download config that is next to OpenVPN TCP or OpenVPN UDP.


     
  5. Go to the folder where the configurations are downloaded. Click and drag to select the OpenVPN configurations that you have just downloaded, then right-click on them and select Copy.
     
  6. You'll have to extract the configuration files you need 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.



    And open the config folder.



    6.3 Paste the copied configuration files in the folder. To do that, right-click anywhere in the folder and select 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 have been loaded into the proper folder for the application to detect them, let's open the OpenVPN GUI app itself. Double-click the shortcut on your desktop.


     
  8. Allow the application to make changes to your device that's necessary for a VPN connection.


     
  9. The application will start running in the system tray. It's the area near your 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 username and password and click OK.


     
  12. In a few seconds, the application will connect, and its window will disappear. The system tray icon will turn green and indicate that you are connected 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.

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