How to Use a VPN on Windows 10: Step-by-Step Guide

Setting up a VPN for PC (and specifically Windows 10) isn’t as complicated as many of those who are new to VPNs might think. In fact, most premium VPN services offer excellent clients these days. Thus, often, to start using a VPN, you only need to download an application and follow the installation wizard.

But not everyone can or wants to use a VPN client and opt for a manual installation instead. This guide will outline the exact steps necessary to install a VPN either through a VPN client,  the Windows settings, or using OpenVPN.

Why Manual Installation is Sometimes Necessary

Some Windows 10 users run the operating system in “S mode”. It means they can’t install any apps outside of the official Microsoft store. Also, the system won’t allow the installation of any VPN clients either.

Another hurdle is when VPN services don’t offer clients of their own. That leaves manual installation as the only available option.

Besides technical issues, many people prefer not to use the client that comes from their VPN of choice. Why? The reasons vary. Some interfaces are clumsy; others send annoying notifications or lack quality features.

But keep in mind that many clients do offer great extra features. They may not be available through a manual install.

Installing a VPN for PC Using a Client

Using a client is by far the easiest way to install a VPN. The steps are as follows:

1. Choose a VPN service provider and sign up for their service.

2. Select the correct download file (Windows 10).

3. After the download completes, open up the .exe file and follow the installation instructions.

4. From there, turn on the VPN in the client, which should open up after the application has finished installing.

How to Install a VPN Using Windows 10 Settings

The first step to configuring a VPN for PC is subscribing to a VPN service. There are plenty of good options out there. After signing up, the VPN service should provide a list of servers they own. You will need them to complete the manual installation.

Follow these steps:

1. Open the Network and Internet window by right-clicking on the network icon in the system tray on the taskbar and selecting it. Alternatively, click on the Start icon and go to Settings in the right-hand menu. From there, navigate to the Network and Internet tab.

2. Click on the VPN option and select Add a VPN Connection. A new window will appear.

3. In the drop-down menu under VPN Provider, select the Windows (built-in) option.

4. In the next field — under Connection name — type in a name for the connection. The given name doesn’t matter. It allows the PC user to identify it later on when they want to connect to the VPN.

5. Remember those server addresses mentioned earlier? Now, choose one of those and type it into the Server Name or Address field.

6. Then select a connection protocol in the VPN type drop-down menu. Those who prefer OpenVPN might have to download a configuration file to make this work. Otherwise, choose one of the other protocol options. But try to avoid PPTP as it’s the least secure option. The experts don’t recommend it for security purposes.

7. Next, choose a sign-in method. The VPN service provider often determines the type of method used upon signing up for their service. If you’re unsure about which method to select here, contact your VPN service provider for help.

8. Click Save. Then select the VPN — it will now appear under the VPN list in the Network and Internet settings window.

9. Click on Connect and presto. Your connection is now running through the VPN server.

How to Manually Install the OpenVPN Client

It is possible to use the OpenVPN client instead of a VPN provider’s client. OpenVPN is currently one of the most secure VPN protocols out there and offers its client that users can connect through.

A subscription to a VPN service is still necessary, though. It’s their, not OpenVPN’s servers that the connection will run through.

Some providers offer detailed setup tutorials for installing the OpenVPN client. It involves downloading the application and pasting configuration files in the right folder. Not all VPN services provide such instructions. But many will have the configuration files available for download on their website.

You can download the OpenVPN client for Windows from the official website.


There’s a lot of leeway for tweaking the various settings and features when installing a VPN manually. But it’s better to leave it for those who have some confidence in changing complicated settings.

For the average VPN user installing a VPN client should be more than enough to meet their needs. But for readers this should be no problem at all.

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Brian Peng
Brian Peng is a PC technician and network engineer with over 13 years of IT experience. He has worked in the IT industry for a long time, providing IT support and network service support for various companies. Currently, he has written over 1000 articles about computers, games, and mobile.

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