How to Install and Use ExpressVPN on Windows

There are several ways to set up ExpressVPN on Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11. The most straightforward one is to use ExpressVPN's native application for Windows, using which you get practically every single feature this VPN offers, alongside its 3,000+ VPN servers.

However, other methods exist as well. You can set up ExpressVPN manually using the OpenVPN or L2TP/IPsec protocol or use ExpressVPN's extension for Web browsers (which acts as a remote control for the VPN app installed on your computer).

We're here to explain all there's to know about installing ExpressVPN on Windows app from scratch. That said, let's jump right in!

How to Install ExpressVPN on Windows

ExpressVPN provides multiple flexible options on Windows, letting you choose between using its native app or configuring it manually. These are your available options:

If you use Windows 11 or Windows 10, we recommend using ExpressVPN's native app. However, If you use an older Windows version (8, 7, Vista, or XP), configure ExpressVPN manually (you'll get high-end encryption but not all the features this VPN offers).

Method #1: Install ExpressVPN's Native App for Windows

The easiest way to install ExpressVPN on Windows is to use its native application. That's how you'll gain access to every feature this VPN offers on Windows. Here's what you need to do:

1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN using your PC and any Web browser.

2. Then, click "My Account" using the top-placed main menu on ExpressVPN's site. Provide your credentials and access your ExpressVPN account dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

3. Use the top-placed banner to click "Download for Windows." Now, retrieve your ExpressVPN activation code, which you'll soon use to activate the app.

Downloading ExpressVPN for Windows

4. Locate ExpressVPN’s installation file on your Windows PC and double-click on it. You might be asked to confirm your decision, so click "Install" to proceed. 

Running ExpressVPN Installation File on Windows

5. Install ExpressVPN and launch the VPN application. 

6. Select "Sign In" and then paste your activation code (mentioned earlier). Click "Continue" to log in to your ExpressVPN account/subscription. 

Logging in to ExpressVPN

7. Decide whether you want the VPN to launch on start-up (select "OK" or "No, Thanks").

ExpressVPN System Startup Prompt

8. Choose if you want to send anonymous data (select "OK" or "No, Thanks"). 

ExpressVPN Usage Collection Prompt

You should now see ExpressVPN’s home screen, ready to be used. That means you can use the VPN app's interface to connect to servers and initialize your VPN session.

Method #2: Install ExpressVPN's Web Browser Extension

Unlike most other VPNs, ExpressVPN's Web browser extension doesn't work on its own (bringing high-end encryption as a result). Instead, it acts as a remote control for the ExpressVPN app. So, here's how to install ExpressVPN's extension for your favorite Web browser:

1. Sign up for ExpressVPN using your PC and any Web browser.

2. Install ExpressVPN's application on Windows by following these steps.

3. If you use Chrome, Edge, or Vivaldi, go to ExpressVPN's Chrome Web Store listing. Click "Add to Chrome" and download and install the extension.

Chrome Web Store Overview of ExpressVPN
Installing ExpressVPN Chrome Extension

4. If you use Firefox, go to ExpressVPN's Firefox Add-Ons listing. Click "Add to Firefox" and download and install the extension.

ExpressVPN Overview on Mozilla Web Store

5. Activate the extension by clicking on its icon (top-right corner of your browser). Complete the initial setup and reach the extension's home screen. That's it!

Homescreen of ExpressVPN for Firefox

Method #3: Set Up ExpressVPN Manually via L2TP/IPSec

Windows lets you configure VPN connections manually using its VPN client. The only downside is that you'll have to use L2TP/IPSec, a weaker protocol than OpenVPN or Lightway (which you get when you install ExpressVPN's native app).

Still, L2TP/IPsec is powerful enough to meet the needs of most users. So, here's what you need to do to set up ExpressVPN manually on Windows via L2TP/IPsec:

1. Subscribe to ExpressVPN using your PC and a Web browser.

2. After subscribing, click "My Account" on ExpressVPN's website (in the top-placed main menu). Provide your ExpressVPN credentials and access your dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

3. Navigate to Set Up Other Devices > Manual Configuration > L2TP/IPsec. Pick a server (note its server address) and make a note of your username and password.

ExpressVPN Manual Connection Creation
ExpressVPN L2TP Credentials

4. On Windows, launch the Start Menu, type "VPN," and press Enter.

5. Click "Add a VPN Connection." Provide the following information:

  • VPN Provider: Windows (built-in).
  • Connection Name: Enter any name for your new VPN connection.
  • Server Name or Address: Paste this information from ExpressVPN's site.
  • VPN Type: L2TP/IPSec with Pre-Shared Key
  • Pre-Shared Key: Enter "12345678."
  • Type of Sign-In Info: Select "User name and password."
Adding VPN Connection Manually Windows 10

6. Click "Save," and you'll be asked for your L2TP username and password.

ExpressVPN Log-in Windows Manual Configuration

7. To connect, select the newly created connection and click "Connect." That's it!

Method #4: Set Up ExpressVPN Manually via OpenVPN

ExpressVPN's native application for Windows comes with OpenVPN built-in. Still, if you can't use the VPN app for some reason, you can still make sure of the OpenVPN protocol. You'll need to configure ExpressVPN manually on Windows in the following way:

1. Sign up for ExpressVPN using your PC and your favorite Web browser.

2. Then, click "My Account" using the top-placed main menu on the ExpressVPN site. Log in using your credentials and access your ExpressVPN account dashboard.

Signing In to ExpressVPN Website

3. Go to Set Up Other Devices > Manual Configuration > OpenVPN. Note your OpenVPN username and password. Download your chosen VPN server's OVPN files.

ExpressVPN OpenVPN Files

4. Next, download OpenVPN Connect and install it on your Windows PC.

5. Open OpenVPN Connect and select the "File" tab. Add your OVPN file.

OpenVPN Connect for Winows Interface

6. Provide your OpenVPN username and password (not your ExpressVPN credentials).

OpenVPN Connect for Windows OVPN File Import

7. You can connect to your newly added server by flipping its switch. That's it!

OpenVPN Connect Window

How to Use ExpressVPN on Windows?

ExpressVPN provides an incredibly simple application, suitable even for first-time users. So, let's walk you through connecting and disconnecting from servers and optimizing the VPN app for privacy and speed. Here are the steps you need to take:

1. To connect to the closest server, press the ON/OFF button on ExpressVPN's home screen.

Connecting to ExpressVPN Server

2. To disconnect, press the ON/OFF button again and wait a couple of moments.

3. To connect to a different server, click the "Selected Location" button. Pick a country or an individual server, and then double-click on its name. 

Choosing Different ExpressVPN Server
Connected to ExpressVPN Server

4. To dive into ExpressVPN's settings, click the hamburger button in the top-left corner.

ExpressVPN Options Menu

5. Pick "Options" and select the "Protocol" tab. You can now switch to another VPN protocol (each protocol handles your data differently).

ExpressVPN Protocol Tab

6. Then, pick the "General" tab. This is where you can set ExpressVPN to launch on Windows startup. That's it!

ExpressVPN General Tab

How to Uninstall ExpressVPN from Windows?

Removing ExpressVPN from Windows is an incredibly simple process. It won't take more than 10 seconds of your time. Here's what you need to do:

1. Launch the Start Menu and pick "Settings."

2. Navigate to Apps > Apps & Features.

3. Find "ExpressVPN" and click "Uninstall." Confirm your decision - and that's it!

Uninstalling ExpressVPN from Windows

ExpressVPN Not Working on Windows?

If you have a hard time making ExpressVPN work on Windows, there are several troubleshooting steps you can try. Find more about those just below.

  • Download the Latest Version of ExpressVPN: It's imperative to have the latest version of the VPN app installed, as ExpressVPN brings frequent updates that resolve technical issues. So, use the steps found above to re-install ExpressVPN using the latest version available.
  • Connect to a Different VPN Location: ExpressVPN is a hugely popular VPN service, which means you might sometimes encounter overcrowded servers. Our recommendation is to pick a server closer to your physical location, helping you reach faster speeds.
  • Switch to Another VPN Protocol: Aside from Lightway, which is ExpressVPN's default protocol, you can also try OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and IKEv2. Each of those works differently, so try them one by one to see which one works best on our specific network.
  • Ensure There Are No Software Conflicts: If you use cybersecurity software on your Windows PC, your antivirus or firewall might block ExpressVPN from working properly. So, visit your antivirus and change its security level from "High" to "Medium." If you can whitelist ExpressVPN, make sure to set that exception in your cybersecurity protection.
  • Contact ExpressVPN's Support Team: Lastly, don't forget that ExpressVPN offers 24/7-available support, which is always the fastest way to resolve any issue. So, go to ExpressVPN's website, where you can chat with its agents live.

We offer additional guides related to resolving specific issues with ExpressVPN. That said, here's what to do when ExpressVPN connects but doesn't work. Also, here's what to do if ExpressVPN doesn't work with Netflix or other streaming apps.

Final Thoughts

We firmly believe that ExpressVPN is the best choice for any Windows user. It's not only hugely powerful and easy to use; it's also really easy to install ExpressVPN on any Windows PC. That means it's suitable for both beginners and advanced users alike.

Of course, you'll want to make sure all your devices are covered. So, turn to our central guide on how to set up ExpressVPN, with over 60 different devices covered.

Lastly, if you'd like to explore more options, check our guide to the best VPN for Windows.

That would be all on how to download, install, and use ExpressVPN on Windows. If you have any questions, please post your comment below. Thanks for reading!

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