6 Ways to Fix the “NordVPN Background Process Is Not Running” Error

By Novak Bozovic / July 22, 2021

The "NordVPN background process is not running" error message typically appears on Windows, where NordVPN runs as an individual service. Unless its background process initializes successfully, this creates a series of issues that prevent NordVPN from launching or operating.

With that said, know that there’s nothing to worry about, as you have 6 possible ways to fix the "NordVPN background process is not running" error, as explained just below.


To make this article as helpful as possible, we'll focus on a group of solutions to restart NordVPN’s background process. However, if you’d like to expand your set of options, here’s our central VPN troubleshooting guide, with 25 solutions to common VPN issues. And in case you see any more error messages, here’s how to fix VPN error codes.

1. Use the 'Start Process' Button

The "NordVPN background process is not running" error message typically appears along with a button that lets you initialize NordVPN’s background process manually. With that said, your first action should be to press the 'Start Process' button, located just under the error message. 

Know that it might take several tries to initialize NordVPN’s background process. So, we recommend pressing the button a couple of times. However, make sure not to do that at once. Instead, make sure to wait around 10 seconds between each attempt. If that doesn’t fix the error, proceed to our other troubleshooting tips.

2. Quit NordVPN Using the Task Manager

Next, you can try closing NordVPN manually. However, don't just close it by pressing the "X" button. Instead, quit the VPN app along with its associated processes via the Task Manager in the following way: 

  1. Press the CTRL + ALT + DEL key combination. 
  2. Select 'Task Manager' if presented with a list of options. 
  3. Make sure the 'Processes' tab is active in Task Manager. 
  4. Look for two active processes – 'nordvpn-service.exe' and 'NordVPN.exe.'
  5. Select each of those processes and use the 'End Task' button. 
  6. Finally, open NordVPN again and see whether its home screen will show.

3. Clear NordVPN’s Cache Data

If the method above doesn’t work in your case, you can go one step further to fix the "NordVPN background process is not running" error. With that said, let’s show you how to clear NordVPN’s cache data from your Windows PC: 

  1. First, quit NordVPN using the Task Manager (as explained just above). 
  2. Open the 'Run' prompt by using the Windows Key + R shortcut. 
  3. You now see a tiny window on your screen, asking for a navigation path.
  4. Type in %localappdata% and click on 'OK.'
  5. At this moment, you should see a large list of individual folders. 
  6. Find 'NordVPN' and delete that folder. 
  7. Re-launch NordVPN and check whether the VPN app works properly. 

4. Reinstall & Update NordVPN

NordVPN’s team releases updates for its VPN app every couple of weeks, further improving its performance. So, in case you haven't updated NordVPN in a while (or even if you did), you should re-installing the VPN app in the following way: 

  1. Navigate to using any Web browser. 
  2. Provide your credentials and access your Nord Dashboard. 
  3. Using the left-placed sidebar, select 'Downloads.'
  4. Download the latest version of NordVPN available. 
  5. Reinstall the app by opening the installation file. 

As you can see, we haven’t instructed you to remove NordVPN first. That’s because once you run its installation file, you will be asked to repair your installation. So, you might want to try that first. In case repairing NordVPN doesn’t do the trick, you can remove it from your Windows PC and install it from scratch. 

5. Optimize Your UAC (User Access Control) Settings

NordVPN requires administrator rights to run. So, depending on your computer’s UAC settings, the application might be blocked from running, failing to initialize its background process. With that said, here’s how to optimize your UAC settings on your Windows PC:

  1. Launch the Start Menu and type in 'Control Panel.'
  2. Open the Control Panel and click on 'User Accounts and Family Safety.'
  3. Then, proceed to select the 'User Accounts' feature. 
  4. Select 'Change User Accounts Control Settings,' which comes as a link. 
  5. Take a look at the slider on the left-hand side.
  6. Depending on the required level of security, move the slider up or down
  7. Know that dragging to slider to 'Never Notify' will disable UAC. 
  8. Select 'OK' once done and confirm your decision if asked. 
  9. Try running NordVPN again. 

6. Remove Other VPN Client Apps

As a final option to fix the "NordVPN background process is not running" error message, we recommend removing other VPN clients from your Windows PC. That’s because running multiple VPNs can cause software conflict, preventing them from working. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Select 'Start' (in the bottom-left corner of your screen). 
  2. Pick 'Settings' and navigate to Apps > Apps & Features
  3. Select the app(s) you'd like to remove and pick 'Uninstall.'
  4. If needed, follow the on-screen prompts to finalize the procedure. 

If none of the previously mentioned tips were of help, that might be an indication that a more comprehensive approach is needed. In other words, we recommend contacting NordVPN’s support team for further assistant. More precisely, use NordVPN’s live chat functionality, available on its website’s homepage. 

There you have it – the 6 most effective ways to fix the "NordVPN background process is not running" error. If you have any questions for us, post them via the comments section below. And lastly, thank you for reading!

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