You can set up a manual OpenVPN connection by using the OpenVPN GUI open-source application. This does not use the NordVPN application.
1. First, download the OpenVPN GUI application:
If using Windows 10, 8, 7 and Vista download here: https://swupdate.openvpn.org/community/releases/openvpn-install-2.4.0-I602.exe
Otherwise, if using Windows XP, download here: http://swupdate.openvpn.org/community/releases/openvpn-install-2.3.4-I001-i686.exe
2. Install the OpenVPN GUI application.
Open the installer file.
Follow the setup wizard.
3. Once the application is installed, you now have to download the NordVPN server configuration files – using these files, the OpenVPN app knows how to connect to NordVPN servers. Download the configuration files here: https://nordvpn.com/api/files/zip
4. The downloaded file will be a ZIP archive, containing many configuration files – each of the files containing information on how to connect to one of the NordVPN servers, and which protocol (TCP or UDP) to use.
Double-click with the left mouse button to open the ZIP archive, and view all of the configuration files. You’ll see that there are hundreds of files.
5. You’ll have to extract the configuration files which you want to use to this OpenVPN app directory:
Note: The OpenVPN GUI application only supports up to 50 configuration files present in the /config/ folder. Thus, you’ll have to copy only a few configuration files to that folder. Since each file represents a server, you’ll have to know beforehand which servers you’ll want to connect to. Once the installation is complete, you can easily switch between the servers you have copied over.
5.1. Keep the ZIP archive open, and open the OpenVPN /config/ folder mentioned above alongside it. To quickly find the OpenVPN /config/ folder, right-click the OpenVPN GUI shortcut on your desktop, and select Open file location.
5.2. Once you’re there, click the parent OpenVPN folder in the address bar.
And then open the config folder.
5.3 Now extract a few of the configuration files to the folder. For example, we’ll extract the Canada #13 and 18 servers, so we’ll choose files starting with ca13 and ca18. We can simply drag-and-drop the files with the left mouse button:
Or copy and paste the files with the right mouse button:
Click Continue to allow the files to be extracted to that folder.
6. Now that the configuration files have been loaded into the proper folder for the application to detect them, let’s open the OpenVPN GUI app itself. Double-click the shortcut on your desktop.
7. Allow the application administrative permissions – it’s necessary for a VPN connection.
8. The application will start running in the system tray. It’s the area near your clock:
It might also be in the hidden system tray area:
9. Right click the application icon, hover over one of the servers, and click connect.
10. Enter your NordVPN credentials, and click OK.
11. After a few seconds, the application will connect and the window will dissapear. The system tray icon will turn green, and indicate that you are connected when you hover over it:
And that’s it! You should be successfully connected. To disconnect, it’s the same as step 9, except you select disconnect.