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Installing and using NordVPN on Windows 7 and later versions

This article is available in French and German.

The NordVPN native application is the recommended option for connecting to NordVPN servers on your Windows PC. We designed it with your experience in mind, giving easy access to features such as Double VPN, Onion servers, and automated Kill Switch. The application uses OpenVPN, one of the best VPN protocols out there, by default.

This tutorial explains how to download and install the NordVPN app on your Windows PC, log in, and connect to our servers. We also give an overview of its settings.

Table of contents:

  1. Downloading and installing
  2. Setting up and using NordVPN
  3. Choosing between different servers
  4. Settings


How to set up VPN on Windows

  1. Go to NordVPN downloads page:

    Click on Download


  2. Go to your Downloads folder and double-click the NordVPNSetup.exe

  3. If asked "Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?" in a pop-up window, click Yes and proceed to setup.

  4. The installer window will open. Click Next.

  5. Select if you want shortcuts for the NordVPN app on your Desktop and/or Start Menu Programs folder, then click Install.

  6. The installer will proceed with the installation process.

  7. Once it’s done, you will be asked if you want to launch NordVPN right away. Click Finish to complete the setup.

Setting up and using NordVPN

NordVPN is very easy to use on Windows 7 and later systems. Just follow these simple steps to setup the app and connect to a VPN server.

  1. Click on the NordVPN logo on your desktop. Wait for the app to load, then enter your NordVPN username and password. Click Sign In to continue.

    Tip: Don't forget to use a strong password on your NordVPN account as it will help you to avoid credential stuffing attacks and will keep your account safe.

    As generating and remembering strong and secure passwords is not an easy task, we recommend to download a free password manager - NordPass. It generates secure passwords on a go and stores them safely, letting you avoid time-wasting password resets in the future.

    NordPass offers native apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS, so you can reach your passwords when and where needed, even offline.

  2. In the main app screen, you will see our server list and map. In the top-left corner, you can search for servers using the search bar. In the top-right corner, you can click on the gear to open app settings. At the bottom, you will find our Quick Connect button, which will automatically connect you to a server recommended by our smart algorithm (based on your needs and preferences).

  3. You can also connect to a server in a specific country by clicking on the country's pin on the map.

  4. Once connected, the country's pin will turn green. The Quick Connect status bar at the bottom should say that you are Protected.

  5. If you want to connect to a specific server, click on the search bar in the top-left corner of the app. Enter a country, a category, or a specific server's number with a hashtag (e.g. United States #4425) to find what you need.

  6. Once connected to a server, you will see the white NordVPN icon in the system tray area at the bottom-right corner of your screen. NordVPN will continue to protect you even if you close the app window.

  7. It may also be in the hidden system tray area, which you can open with the upwards arrow.

  8. Right-click on the system tray icon for quick controls: Quick Connect/Disconnect, reconnect to recent servers, open the app or quit.

Choosing between different servers

  1. On the left sidebar, you will find all servers that we offer, organized by country and specialty.

    For example, you can click on Specialty servers to expand the category, hover over the P2P category, and click on the three-dot menu to select a specific P2P server. Other specialty servers work the same way.

    Each server will display its current load (in %) next to its name. The more people connect to that server, the higher its load will be, which may result in slower internet speeds.

  2. To connect to a specific server, click on it.

Managing favourite servers

  1. You can add a server to your favorites by clicking the heart symbol next to it on the list.

  2. Your favourite servers will appear in their own category called My Favourites. You can connect to them like any other server.

General settings

In the Settings tab, you can setup the application to your liking.

  • Launch at Windows startup - makes NordVPN run automatically when you start your computer. Enabled by default.
  • Launch the app minimized - only displays the NordVPN icon in the Windows system tray (instead of opening the main window) when the computer starts. Enabled by default.
  • Show VPN connection status notifications - shows Windows notifications each time you connect or disconnect from a server. Enabled by default.
  • CyberSec: block ads and malicious websites - protects you from intrusive ads, malware sites, phishing links, and other threats.
  • On the left sidebar, you can also access your account details. The Logout button is also at the bottom.

Auto Connect settings

  • Always when the app launches - make the app connect to a server automatically upon starting while using an Ethernet connection or Wi-Fi network. It does not apply to Trusted Wi-Fi networks. Disabled by default.
  • Auto-connect on Wi-Fi - make the app connect to a server automatically when you connect to a network: Unsecure networks or AlwaysDisabled by default.

    Unsecure networks: connect to a server automatically when you connect to an unsecure Wi-Fi network. Unsecure wireless networks are networks without a password and/or networks with weak encryption. It only works while connecting to a new Wi-Fi network, or switching the Wi-Fi network. It does not apply to an Ethernet connection and Trusted Wi-Fi networks. Allows you to disconnect after being auto-connected.

    Always: applies only to Wi-Fi networks. Make the app connect to a server automatically using Wi-Fi that is not trusted. You will not be able to disconnect unless you trust your current Wi-Fi or disable auto-connect.
  • Choose a VPN protocol and server automatically - let the app choose a VPN protocol and server automatically. Enabled by default.
  • VPN protocol (visible after disabling the Choose a VPN protocol and server automatically option) - UDP is mainly used for streaming and downloading. TCP is more reliable, but also a little slower, usually used for web browsing. UDP by default.
  • Auto-connect to - select your preferred country or server type to automatically connect to. You will be able to select a specific city after you select a preferred country.
  • Trusted Wi-Fi networksdisables Auto-Connect on specific Wi-Fi networks. For example, you can make an exception for your home Wi-Fi if you trust it.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: you will lose internet connectivity while connected to a Trusted Wi-Fi with enabled Internet Kill Switch.

Kill Switch

  • Internet Kill Switch - cuts off your internet connection when you’re disconnected from secure NordVPN servers. Disabled by default.
  • App Kill Switch - shuts down specified programs if you lose connection. For example, if you add Skype to the list, NordVPN will close it whenever you disconnect. Since it takes a few seconds to reach a secure VPN server, this will prevent your data from leaking upon automatically reconnecting to the internet. Disabled by default.

Advanced settings

  • Custom DNS - specify a particular DNS server for the NordVPN application.
  • Obfuscated Servers - enable to bypass network restrictions, such as firewalls. This is recommended for countries with restricted network access.
  • Invisibility on LAN - makes your computer invisible to others on the same local area network (LAN). Keep in mind that once enabled, you will not be able to devices connected through LAN, like printers. Disabled by default.
  • Diagnostics - runs the NordVPN diagnostics tool if you’re having technical issues. Collect the diagnostic data and provide the ticket ID to our support staff for further assistance. If the diagnostics tool does not give you a ticket ID, you can instead send the .zip file to our support staff.

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