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Installing and using NordVPN on Windows 7 and later versions

This article is available in FrenchGerman, Italian, Korean, and Spanish.

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 the NordVPN downloads page:

    Click Download


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

  3. A pop-up window may ask you if you allow the app to make changes to your device. Click Yes and proceed to setup.

  4. The installer window will open. Click Next.

  5. Tick the boxes if you want shortcuts for the NordVPN app on your Desktop and/or the Start menu, then click Install.

  6. The installer will proceed with the installation process. Once it’s complete, 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. Follow these simple steps to set up the app and connect to a VPN server.

  1. Click on the NordVPN logo on your desktop, and after the app loads up, click Log In to continue.

  2. Your browser will open up and load the Nord Account login page. First, enter your username or email address, press continue, and then enter your password.

    Tip: Don't forget to use a strong password for 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 downloading a free password manager, like NordPass. It generates secure passwords for you 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 whenever and wherever you need them, even offline.


  3. On the main screen of the app, 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 icon to open the 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).

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

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

  6. 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 number with a hashtag (e.g. United States #4425) to find what you need.

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

  8. It may also be in the hidden system tray, which you can open by clicking the upwards arrow.

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

Choosing between different servers

  1. In the left sidebar, you will find all the servers 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 icon to select a specific P2P server from the menu. Other specialty servers work the same way.

    To see available specialty servers, switch connection protocol to OpenVPN. You can find instructions on how to do it in a section below.

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

General settings

In the Settings tab, you can set up 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 displays the NordVPN icon only in the Windows system tray when the computer starts (instead of opening the main window). 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.
  • Select app language from the Language dropdown menu. You can select English, Spanish, French, or German.
  • In 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 makes the app connect to a server automatically upon starting when 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 makes 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. The setting allows you to disconnect after being auto-connected.

    Always: applies only to Wi-Fi networks. Make the app connect to a server automatically when 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 lets 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, and is usually used for web browsing. NordLynx is used by default.
  • Auto-connect to lets you select your preferred country or server type, which the app will automatically connect to. You will be able to select a specific city after you select a preferred country.
  • Trusted Wi-Fi networks disables 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 VPN 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.

Split Tunneling

  • Split tunneling allows you to exclude applications from the VPN connection. In other words, the apps which you select to add into the split tunneling feature will allow them to stay unaffected by NordVPN.


Advanced settings

  • Custom DNS lets you specify a particular DNS server for the NordVPN application.
  • Obfuscated Servers enable you 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 connect to devices on the same 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 send the .zip file to our support staff instead.

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