OpenVPN is free and open-source software that provides Virtual Private Network (VPN) connectivity that is available for a variety of operating systems. To use the software on a Microsoft Windows 10 system, download the the installer for Windows Vista and later from the OpenVPN Community Downloads page; get the OpenVPN community software not the PrivateTunnel software from the OpenVPN project - I mistakenly downloaded and installed PrivateTunnel when I first went to the OpenVPN site and then had to uninstall PrivateTunnel.
When you start the installation of the OpenVPN software, you will see the Welcome screen.
The next screen will present the OpenVPN License Agreement.
At the next screen you can choose, if you wish, to include additional components, or accept just the default ones.
E.g., you can choose to also add the EasyRSA 2 component, which is a small RSA key management package based on the openssl command line tool. I chose to add that component. Under the Advanced section, the following options are selected by default:
OpenVPN File Associations
Add Shortcuts to Start Menu
Launch OpenVPN GUI on User Logon
You can also check the check box next to "Disable Password Save Feature in OpenVPN", but that option isn't checked by default. I left it unchecked and also unchecked "Launch OpenVPN GUI on User Logon", since I wanted to start the software manually when I needed to use it rather than have the program start automatically.
You will then be prompted to specify the directory where the software will
be installed; the default location is
As of version 2.4.4, about 12 MB of disk space is needed for the software
When the installation completes, the last screen will present you with an opportunity to view the Readme file which states:
OpenVPN requires a configuration file and key/certificate files. You should obtain these and save them to OpenVPN's configuration directory, usually C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config. Starting with OpenVPN 2.4-alpha1 you can also put user-specific configurations to %USERPROFILE%\OpenVPN\config when using OpenVPN GUI.
That file also notes that the installation process configures the system to start the software automatically when the system boots:
The installer starts OpenVPNServiceInteractive automatically and configures it to start at system startup. This is done to allow unprivileged users to start OpenVPN connections using OpenVPN GUI without any extra configuration.
If you type services.msc and hit Enter in the Cortana "Type here to search" field next to the Windows Start button, you should see OpenVPN services listed with OpenVPN Interactive Service listed with a status of "Running."
You should also see it listed if you run the
command at a
C:\Users\Administrator>net start | find /i "OpenVPN" OpenVPN Interactive Service C:\Users\Administrator>
If you click on the Windows Start button, you should see
OpenVPN GUI listed in the available applications. If you start
the program prior to placing a configuration file in the config directory
beneath the directory where you installed the software or in an
OpenVPN\Config directory beneath the user directory for the account
under which you are logged in, e.g.
if you were logged into an account with a username of JDoe, you will see
a message similar to the following one:
No readable connection profiles (config files) found. Use the "Import File.." menu or copy your config files to "C:\Users\JDoe\OpenVPN\config" or "C:\Program Files\Network\OpenVPN\config".
If you wish to use the software with a commercial VPN service,
that service may provide configuration files you can download. E.g.
provides configuration files at
For NordVPN, if you extract the files within the Zip archive, you will
You can select configuration files from within those directories depending
on whether you wish to use the
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or
Datagram Protocol (UDP) for OpenVPN connectivity to the NordVPN
servers. The configuration files have two letters at the beginning of
the file name that represent the
country code for the country where that server is located, e.g.,
us1107.nordvpn.com.tcp.ovpn is a
server in the United States. Since the OpenVPN GUI application doesn't support
more than 50 configuration files in the
/config/ directory, don't
place more than that number of configuration files in that folder. Each file
represents a server. Once the installation is complete and you've placed
configuration files in the config directory, you can easily switch between the
servers you have copied over within the OpenVPN GUI application. You can run
the OpenVPN application and select it from the
system tray - you'll see an icon of a monitor with a padlock icon on it
representing the OpenVPN application.
If you right-click on that icon, you will see a list of the servers whose configuration files you placed in a config directory.
When you select one of the available servers, you will have then have the option to select Connect to establish a VPN connection using that server. You will then see a login prompt; you can choose to save the username and password, if you don't want to see the prompt for subsequent connections.
After you've connected, if you place the mouse pointer over the OpenVPN icon in the notification area, you will see the icon has a green background for the monitor displayed in the icon and you will see information on the server to which you connected.
If you right-click on the OpenVPN icon and select the server to which you are currently connected, which will have a checkmark next to it, you can choose Disconnect to terminate the VPN connection.