How to set up and use ExpressVPN on Windows 7, 8 or 10

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This tutorial guide will walk you through how to set up ExpressVPN Version 6.x for Windows on your PC or laptop.

Please note that this app requires Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10.

Prefer manual setupSee the instructions for manual setup on Windows 10 and Windows 7 and 8.


Jump to section

Download the app
Get your activation code
Install the app
Set up ExpressVPN
Connect to a VPN server location
Disconnect from the VPN server location
Choose a different VPN server location
Switch to a different VPN protocol
Launch and connect ExpressVPN on startup
Use the VPN Speed Test
Use Connection Per App (split tunneling)
Use IPv6 Leak protection
Use the ExpressVPN browser extension
Uninstall the app


Download the app

Open the Welcome Email you received when you signed up for ExpressVPN. Click the link in the email.

ExpressVPN welcome email with Set Up ExpressVPN button highlighted.

If you cannot find the link, sign in to your account here.

ExpressVPN Sign in page with Sign In button highlighted.

Once you have clicked the link in the welcome email or signed in to the website, click on Download for Windows. This will start the download for your app.

ExpressVPN setup screen with Download for Windows button highlighted.

Do not close the window! You will need it for the next step.

ExpressVPN for Windows setup page with Download button highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Get your activation code

In order to use ExpressVPN on your Windows computer, you will need your activation code. Let’s copy it to your clipboard.

To copy your activation code to the clipboard, click the copy code icon in the top right corner of the box containing the code. You will be asked to provide it later.

ExpressVPN setup page showing activation code, with Click to Copy button highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Install the app

Locate and double-click on the download file on your computer.

Windows Downloads folder showing the ExpressVPN app.

The setup process will begin with this Welcome screen. Click Install.

Windows installer screen with Install button highlighted.

A pop-up dialogue may ask you, “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?” Click Yes.

Windows User Account Control window with Yes button highlighted.

Please wait while the app is being installed on your PC. During installation, you may be asked to close any running instances of ExpressVPN. Click OK to close ExpressVPN and proceed with the installation.

You will also need to install the ExpressVPN TAP driver as part of the app installation process. When you see Windows Security screen for ExpressVPN Network adapters, click Install.

Windows Security window with Install button highlighted.

You will be notified when the installation is complete. The app will then launch automatically.

Click Close to exit the Setup Wizard and launch ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN installer window showing completion, with Close button highlighted.

You can also launch ExpressVPN by locating the ExpressVPN shortcut on your desktop. Double-click the app icon to launch ExpressVPN.

Windows desktop with ExpressVPN shortcut highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Set up ExpressVPN

To begin the setup process, click Sign In.

ExpressVPN Sign-in screen with Sign In button highlighted.

On the ExpressVPN Setup screen, paste your activation code. This is the code you found earlier. You can paste it by pressing Ctrl + V, or right-clicking the rectangular field and clicking Paste. Then click Sign In.

ExpressVPN screen showing Activation Code field with Sign In button highlighted.

You have the option of launching ExpressVPN on startup. To launch ExpressVPN when you start Windows, click Allow.

ExpressVPN Launch on Startup screen with Allow button highlighted.

You can also choose to anonymously share analytics about your VPN connections to help improve ExpressVPN. To share analytics, click Allow. ExpressVPN does not collect your private data and anonymizes it before it reaches ExpressVPN servers.

ExpressVPN diagnostics sharing request screen with Allow button highlighted.

Congratulations! You are now ready to access ExpressVPN’s vast network of server locations.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Connect to a VPN server location

To connect to a VPN server location, click the ON Button. By default, ExpressVPN will suggest the location that provides the optimal experience for you, called Smart Location.

ExpressVPN home screen with ON Button highlighted.

Once you see the VPN is ON message on the app screen, you can begin surfing with freedom and security!

ExpressVPN home screen showing VPN is ON.

Note: A single ExpressVPN subscription can be used simultaneously on three devices, regardless of platform. If you try to use more than three devices simultaneously on one subscription, you will see the below screen:

ExpressVPN screen warning Too Many Connections.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Disconnect from the VPN server location

To disconnect from the VPN server location, click the ON Button while the VPN is on.

ExpressVPN home screen with ON Button highlighted.

You will know you are disconnected when you see the “VPN is OFF” message.

ExpressVPN home screen showing VPN is OFF.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Choose a different VPN server location

To choose a different VPN server location, click on CHOOSE LOCATION to access the list of VPN locations.

ExpressVPN home screen with Choose Location button highlighted.

To connect to a server location, click on it, then click the ON Button. Alternatively, you can connect by double-clicking the location.

The list of VPN locations features three tabs: Recommended, All, and Favorites.

The Recommended tab shows you ExpressVPN’s top picks for you to connect to.

ExpressVPN VPN Locations menu showing Recommended locations.

The All tab lists the VPN server locations by region. You can expand and collapse the lists by tapping the triangular arrowheads.

ExpressVPN Locations screen showing All locations.

The Favorites tab has two sections. “Recently Connected” shows the three most recent locations you connected to. “Favorites” shows the locations you have saved as favorites by clicking the star icon next to their names.

ExpressVPN locations menu showing Favorites.

You can also search for your desired server location by using the search bar. To launch the search bar, press Ctrl + F.

Inside the search bar, type the name of your desired server location and then double-click the server location in the search results to connect to it.
ExpressVPN Locations menu with search field highlighted.

After disconnecting from a server location you selected, you can return to your Smart Location (the location recommended for the smoothest experience) by clicking SMART LOCATION.

ExpressVPN home screen with Smart Location button highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Switch to a different VPN protocol

VPN protocols are the methods by which your device connects to a VPN server. Switching to a different protocol can help you achieve faster connection speeds.

To switch to a different protocol, click on the hamburger menu (≡), then click Options. Make sure you are not connected to the VPN when doing this.

ExpressVPN hamburger menu with Options highlighted.

In the Protocol tab, select the protocol you want to use, then click OK.

Note: PPTP and L2TP-IPsec provide weak security benefits and should only be used for anonymization or for changing locations.

ExpressVPN Protocol tab.

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Launch and connect ExpressVPN on startup

To launch and connect ExpressVPN when starting up Windows:

  1. In the ExpressVPN app, go to OptionsGeneral.
  2. Under Startup, check the boxes for launching ExpressVPN on startup and connecting to your last used VPN location.

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Use the VPN Speed Test

To use the VPN Speed Test, you must be disconnected from the VPN.

Start by clicking on the hamburger menu (≡) and then Speed Test.

ExpressVPN hamburger menu with Speed Test highlighted.

On the Speed Test screen, click Run Test and wait for the tests to complete.

ExpressVPN Speed Test screen with Run Test button highlighted.

After results are displayed, select a location using the following criteria:

  • Speed Index: the higher the better
  • Latency: the lower the better
  • Download Speed: the higher the better

ExpressVPN Speed Test screen with Speed Index, Latency and Download Speed highlighted.

If you are simply looking for the fastest speeds, select a location according to the Speed Index. However, if you are looking for the best server location within a country, select the highest speed index available within the country of your choice.

ExpressVPN Speed Test page with Fastest and Fastest for U.S. content highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Use Connection Per App (split tunneling)

This feature allows you to decide which apps use the VPN and which apps do not use the VPN when you are connected to ExpressVPN.

Important: You must be disconnected from the VPN to change your split-tunneling settings.

To change your “Connection Per App” settings, click the hamburger menu (≡) and go to Options.

Under the General tab, tick the box in the Connection Per App section and click Settings.

ExpressVPN Connection Per App menu with Settings button highlighted.

From there, you can decide which of your apps will use the VPN and which ones will not use the VPN when you are connected to ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN Manage Settings menu with All apps use the VPN selected.

If you select the latter two options, you can specify which apps will (not) use VPN. Click on the plus sign (+) to select the apps.

ExpressVPN Manage Settings menu with Do not allow selected apps to use the VPN selected and plus button highlighted.

Check the box next to all the apps you want to select. If your desired app is not shown, click Add Another App to search for it.

ExpressVPN Manage Apps menu with Microsoft Edge checked.

Click OK to apply your changes.

IN DEPTH: Learn more about the split-tunneling feature

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Use IPv6 Leak protection

By default, the ExpressVPN app will block IPv6 connections to protect against IPv6 leaks.

If you encounter issues with devices that only use IPv6 connections, go to OptionsAdvanced, and uncheck the box under IPv6 Leak Protection.

ExpressVPN Options menu with unchecked IPv6 Leak Protection box highlighted.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Use the ExpressVPN browser extension

If you’re using Version 6.2 (or later) of the ExpressVPN app, you can download and use the ExpressVPN browser extension to remotely control the ExpressVPN app from your browser. The extension is available for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

From your app, click the hamburger menu (≡), select Options, then go to the Browsers tab.

ExpressVPN Options menu showing Browsers tab.

Under “Google Chrome” and “Mozilla Firefox,” click Get Extension and follow the on-page instructions.

Important: To use the ExpressVPN browser extension, you need to have the ExpressVPN Windows app (Version 6.2 or newer) downloaded and activated. You cannot use the ExpressVPN browser extension without the ExpressVPN app.

Learn more about the ExpressVPN browser extension here.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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Uninstall the app

Note: The below instructions are for Windows 10. If you are using Windows 7 or 8, please see the instructions for uninstalling programs on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

To uninstall the ExpressVPN app, right-click on the Start button and select Programs and Features.

Windows Start menu with Programs and Features highlighted.

If Programs and Features is not directly available by right-clicking the Start button, access it by first clicking on Control Panel and then selecting Programs and Features.

Windows Start menu with Control Panel highlighted.

Windows Control Panel with Programs and Features icon highlighted.

Scroll through the list of programs until you locate ExpressVPN. Select ExpressVPN and then click Uninstall.

Windows Programs and Features menu with Uninstall button highlighted.

In the Setup Wizard, click Uninstall.

ExpressVPN Setup wizard with Uninstall button highlighted.

You will be notified when ExpressVPN is successfully uninstalled. Click Close to exit the Setup Wizard.

ExpressVPN Setup Wizard showing uninstallation complete with Close button highlighted.

If you see that ExpressVPN is still listed as an available VPN connection after uninstalling:

  1. Click the Start button, and then click Run… (only for Windows XP and Vista) or press Windows key + R (for any other Windows OS) to launch the run command.
  2. Type ncpa.cpl on the run command and then press Enter to go to your Network Connections window.
  3. On your Network Connections window, right-click on the WAN Miniport labeled ExpressVPN.
  4. Click Delete.
  5. From your Windows desktop, go to Settings Network & Internet > VPN.
  6. If you see ExpressVPN as an available connection, delete it.

Need help? Contact the ExpressVPN Support Team for immediate assistance.

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