Setup a VPN on Windows 10

Edited by Jay

Using a VPN (virtual private network) is a great way to keep your internet usage and web browsing anonymous. When connected to a VPN, it's not just your web browser that can't see your real IP address; it's also any other application or program that accesses the internet to function. One that immediately comes to mind is uTorrent. Several ISPs (internet service providers) throttle or limit download and upload speeds when they see P2P-style traffic. A good way around this is to use a reliable VPN provider that allows peer-to-peer traffic.

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Another practical reason one might need to use a VPN would be to view content that isn't available in their country. Although some services like Netflix have stopped users from using VPNs, there are still millions of sites that can only be accessed from a specific region or IP range. Being able to change the IP of your entire connection is suitable for both versatility and privacy. Combine a VPN with private browsing for example, and websites won't be able to track anything on your computer or real IP.

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In this VisiHow tutorial, we're going to show step-by-step the process of setting up a VPN on a laptop running Windows 10, as well as connecting to different IP addresses. Specifically, we're going to use the open source desktop client provided by OpenVPN, and .ovpn configuration files. For this article, we'll be using AirVPN as our provider, but the process will be the same for any provider you choose, whether it's free or paid. The only difference will be the steps involved in obtaining the .ovpn configuration files from your provider. Any decent and reliable VPN service will have easy-to-follow instructions on how to setup and download .ovpn configuration files. We'll include a few free and paid VPN services at the end of this how-to.

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Download and Install OpenVPN Client for Windows 10

  1. 1
    Open a browser and visit the following link
    .
    Scroll down to the download section and click on the latest Windows installer.
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  2. 2
    When prompted, click "Save File".
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  3. 3
    Once the file is finished downloading, go to the folder that stores your browser's downloaded files
    .
    By default, this is typically the Downloads" folder. Locate the OpenVPN installation file, then right-click and select "Run as administrator".
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  4. 4
    When the User Account Control window appears, click "Yes".
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  5. 5
    When the OpenVPN Setup Wizard launches, click "Next" to continue.
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  6. 6
    Read through the License Agreement, then click "I Agree".
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  7. 7
    On the Choose Components window, leave everything as is, then click "Next". If you're an advanced user, feel free to select which components to install
    .
    For this article, we left them at the default settings.
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  8. 8
    On the Choose Installation Location window, you can select where you want OpenVPN to install
    .
    Again, we left this to install in the default location.
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  9. 9
    You may be prompted to install the Tap adapter
    .
    if so, click "Install" to continue.
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  10. 10
    Once the installation is complete, click "Finish" to exit the Setup Wizard.
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  11. 11
    Now that OpenVPN is installed, it is a good idea to ensure it launches on startup
    .
    Expand the hidden icon in the notification area, right-click on the OpenVPN icon, then click "Settings".
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  12. 12
    On the General settings tab, click to add a checkmark next to "Launch on Windows startup".
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Copying and Importing .ovpn Configuration Files

Depending on the VPN provider you're using, the steps on obtaining configuration files will differ. You'll have to sign in to your account and follow the steps provided. The main thing to remember is the extension, which for OpenVPN is .ovpn.

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  1. 1
    Once you generated at least one OpenVPN configuration file, choose an option to either download as an archive (if you have more than one) or the files individually. When prompted, select Save File and click "OK".
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  2. 2
    Next, go to your Downloads folder, right-click the archive, then select "Open"
    .
    For our example, we downloaded several VPN profiles and used WinRar to open the archive. You can use any archiving application you prefer, or, if you downloaded the files separately, just select them.
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  3. 3
    Once your archive program opens, select all the .ovpn files (Ctrl+A) and copy them to the clipboard (Ctrl+C).
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  4. 4
    Now, navigate to the directory that you chose during the setup phase
    .
    If you kept it as default, go to C: > Program Files > OpenVPN > config. Once you're inside the config folder, paste the .ovpn files. Please note that your account will require Administrator privileges to copy files into the config folder.
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  5. 5
    If prompted to provide Administrator permission, check Do this for all current items, then click "Continue".
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  6. 6
    Once the VPN configuration files have been copied, you'll see them inside OpenVPN's config folder.
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  7. 7
    You also have the option of Importing .ovpn files
    .
    Right-click on the OpenVPN icon in the notification area, then click "Import file...".
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  8. 8
    Navigate to the location of the configuration file, select it, then click "Open".
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  9. 9
    After clicking Open, a window will appear with a message saying "File imported successfully".
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Connecting to VPN Profiles

Now that you've either copied or imported .ovpn files, you can connect to the IPs assigned to them.

  1. 1
    Right-click on the OpenVPN icon in the notification area, scroll to a profile, then click "Connect".
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  • 2
    Once connected, you'll see a brief pop-up message that displays the region and IP address
    .
    You'll also notice that the OpenVPN icon is green.
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  • 3
    To disconnect, right-click on the OpenVPN icon, scroll to the profile that you're connected to, then select "Disconnect".
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  • Free and Paid VPN Services

    Below is a list of a few paid and free VPN providers. Some of the free options have upgrade services if you would like to get more IP variety, data, etc..


    Free Services

    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.

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    Categories : Use Windows 10

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