Using the OpenVPN-GUI for Windows

Important Note: Please see the Official Readme here:


  • Some of the screenshots here may not accurately match the current OpenVPN-GUI.

Locating the OpenVPN-GUI

The OpenVPN-GUI Tray Icon:

OpenVPN Tray Icon

If you cannot find the OpenVPN-GUI icon then check that Windows has not hidden it from you.
(Because Windows likes to hide things from you ..)

Windows hidden icons:

Show hidden icons

If you still cannot find the OpenVPN-GUI then make sure you opened it in the first place.

You may use a desktop icon or the Windows menu to locate the OpenVPN-GUI.

This is the OpenVPN-GUI desktop icon:

OpenVPN-GUI desktop icon

Additional notes:

  • You should now have access to the OpenVPN-GUI.

Preparing your installation to use the OpenVPN-GUI successfully

If you encounter this problem:

Message dialogue No readable connection profiles found

No configs

Press OK -- You must have a configuration file to continue.

If you are creating your own VPN server and client then please go here

If you already have a client configuration file to a VPN then now is the time to import it.

Additional notes:

  • You should now have a configuration file to import.

If you encounter this problem:

Message dialogue There already exists a config file named ...

Press OK -- All config files must have unique names.

Additional notes:

  • OpenVPN-GUI searches the entire directory tree (including sub-directories) of the following locations:
    • \Program Files\OpenVPN\config (\Program Files is the default installation directory)
    • \Users\$USERNAME\OpenVPN\config

All *.ovpn files in these locations, including sub-directories, must have unique names.

Importing your first connection profile (config file) into the OpenVPN-GUI

Select "Import->Import file ..." from the menu, then select the config.ovpn file you wish to import:

Import Menu

If the import is successful you will see:

Import successful

If your server administrator has provided a URL, username and password for importing from the server, use "Import->Import from URL..." or "Import->Import from Access Server..." and complete the dialog that opens up.

Otherwise, check that you selected a correctly configured *.ovpn file.

If you do not know what to do then please contact your server's administrator for help.

Additional notes:

  • You should now have a successfully imported configuration file.

Setting up membership of the OpenVPN Administrators local group

In order for your limited user account without administrator privileges to be able to use openvpn, your user account must be added to the OpenVPN Administrators group on your computer. This is normally done during the install phase but it may not have been done. If you see the message below you can select Yes but you will need the Local Administrator password to continue. If you do not have this password then please contact your network administrator for help.

Message dialogue Require membership in OpenVPN Administrators group

Msg, Require membership of OpenVPN Administrators group

Additional notes:

  • You must now be a member of the Openvpn Administrators group.


  • If you are logged in to your desktop with an Administrator account then this stage will be omitted.

Navigating the OpenVPN-GUI menus

The Main menu with only 1 configuration file imported:

Main menu, 1 config

With only one configuration file the menu displays all actions directly.

The Main menu with 2 configuration files imported:

Main menu with 2 configuration files imported

With two or more configuration files the menus will be nested.

Additional notes:

  • You now understand the OpenVPN-GUI menus.

Viewing the log file

The Main menu view log file:

Main menu, view log

Additional notes:

  • A good application for viewing your log file is BareTail.
  • You now have access to your VPN log file.

Editing the configuration file

The Main menu edit config file:

Main menu, edit config

Additional notes:

  • A good application for editing configuration files is Notepad++.
  • You now have access to your configuration file.


Do not edit your client configuration file unless you know what you are doing!

Entering Username and Password

Username / Password dialogue:

If your server requires a username and password you will see this dialogue box.

Additional notes:

  • Your client.ovpn file must contain the --auth-user-pass directive.
  • You can choose to save the password but the username is always saved.
  • These settings are saved in the Windows Registry under : HKCU\Software\OpenVPN-GUI
  • The "enter user/pass timeout" can not be configured

The way it works is like this: if username/password is available, the dialog window is prefilled and displayed for 6 seconds. If during that time the user clicks on the window, the timeout is cancelled and the dialog stays on the screen until manually submitted. Otherwise it's auto-submitted after the 6 seconds timeout.

The 6 seconds value is not configurable.

If silent-connection is enabled and the username/password are saved then the dialog is not shown.


Editing the Windows Registry is strongly discouraged .. Do so ONLY AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Trouble shooting

Error connecting:

Error connecting

The first thing to do is examine your log file for details of the errors encountered.

Additional notes:

Common connection problems:

  • TLS Error: TLS key negotiation failed to occur within 60 seconds

This means that you cannot reach the server -- Please contact your server administrator for help.

Please help improve this section, you can submit here

OpenVPN-GUI Settings

Most of the OpenVPN-GUI settings can be left as default but you should examine them to make sure this suites your requirements.

The Settings menu, General tab:


The Settings menu, Proxy tab:

Settings menu, Proxy tab

The Settings menu, Advanced tab:

Settings menu, Advanced tab

The Settings menu, About tab:

Settings menu, About tab

You are now ready to use OpenVPN-GUI for Windows.

Built-in help

See: openvpn-gui.exe --help

Note: The help text within oenvpn-gui.exe is out dated and awaiting update, the text here is a work in progress.


--connect cnn : Connect to cnn at startup.
(File extension is optional, default is .ovpn)

Example: openvpn-gui --connect office.ovpn

Example: openvpn-gui --command connect office (See --command below)


--command cmd [args] : Send a command cmd to a running instance of the GUI.
(File extension is optional, default is .ovpn)

Supported commands:

Command Description Status
connect cnn connect the config named cnn Supported
disconnect cnn disconnect the config named cnn Supported
reconnect cnn reconnect the config named cnn Supported
disconnect_all disconnect all connected configs Supported
exit terminate the running GUI instance (may ask for confirmation) Supported
status cnn show the status window of config cnn if connected Supported
silent_connection [0|1] set the silent_connection flag on (1) or off (0) Supported

Example: openvpn-gui.exe --command disconnect office

Command line options that override persisted settings:

(Note: Some of these options are obsolete and should not be used.)

Option Description Status
--exe_path path Path to openvpn.exe. Obsolete
--config_dir path Path to dir to search for config files in. Supported
--ext_string ext Extension on config files. Supported
--log_dir path Path to dir where log files will be saved. Supported
--priority_string str Priority string. (See install.txt for more info) Obsolete
--log_append bool 1=Append to log file. 0=Truncate logfile when connecting. Supported
--log_viewer path Path to log viewer. Supported
--editor path Path to config editor. Supported
--show_balloon bool 0=Never, 1=At initial connect, 2=At every reconnect. Supported
--silent_connection bool 1=Do not show the status dialog while connecting or non-critical warnings at startup. Supported
--show_script_window bool 0=Hide Script execution window, 1=Show it. Supported
--connectscript_timeout s Time to wait for connect script to finish. Supported
--disconnectscript_timeout s Time to wait for disconnect script to finish. Supported
--preconnectscript_timeout s Time to wait for preconnect script to finish. Supported
--iservice-admin bool Use of interactive service as admin (0 = allow, 1 = not allow). Default is 1 for Windows 7+ Supported
--disable_popup_messages Do not show echo messages received from server Supported
--popup_mute_interval hours Time for which a previously shown echo message is not re-displayed Supported
--config_menu_view type 0 = Auto, 1 = Flat, 2 = Nested Supported
--management-port-offset Offset number added to config file index to determine the management port Supported

The default log viewer and editor are set by file association. Any value specified on the command line is used only when no default is found. Example: n/a


You can help .. by simply taking part.

search (your choice) : "what ever you need"


Common connection problems

When you examine your log file, if this is the only output which you find:

Thu Jul 26 23:51:48 2018 OpenVPN 2.4.6 x86_64-w64-mingw32 [SSL (OpenSSL)] [LZO] [LZ4] [PKCS11] [AEAD] built on Apr 26 2018
Thu Jul 26 23:51:48 2018 Windows version 6.1 (Windows 7) 64bit
Thu Jul 26 23:51:48 2018 library versions: OpenSSL 1.1.0h 27 Mar 2018, LZO 2.10
Enter Management Password:

Then the most likely cause is that OpenVPN has already started the connection profile.
You must ensure that all openvpn.exe processes are terminated and then try again.

The most common cause of this problem is when you use the incorrect OpenVPN Windows services:

  • Stop and do not use both the OpenVPNService and the OpenVPN Legacy Service Windows services.
  • Start and do use the OpenVPN Interactive Service Windows service.

Known issues

  • Windows 10: If your TAP adapter fails to start but you are using a known good config that used to work with Windows 7:

Try unplugging the ethernet cable and disabling wifi after you install Openvpn then reconnect the cable or reconnect to your wifi and try Openvpn again.

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Last modified 16 months ago Last modified on 03/27/23 23:59:30

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