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OpenVPN GUI is a graphical frontend for OpenVPN running on Windows 7 / 8 / 10. It creates an icon in the notification area from which you can control OpenVPN to start/stop your VPN tunnels, view the log and do other useful things.

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OpenVPN GUI

TravisCI status AppVeyor status

Installation Instructions for OpenVPN GUI for Windows

OpenVPN-GUI has been bundled with OpenVPN installers for a long time, so there is rarely a need to install it separately. Bleeding-edge versions of OpenVPN-GUI are available in OpenVPN snapshot installers based on Git master branch. OpenVPN-GUI gets installed by default in all OpenVPN installers.

Installation using the official OpenVPN installers

  • Download an OpenVPN installer
  • If you have a previous version of OpenVPN GUI running, shut it down. Make sure it's closed by ALL logged on users.
  • Run the OpenVPN installer

Manual installation of OpenVPN GUI

  • First install OpenVPN using an official installer as described above.
  • Build your own version of OpenVPN GUI from source. See BUILD.rst for build instructions. From the build tree copy openvpn-gui.exe, libopenvpn_plap.dll, openvpn-plap-install.reg and openvpn-plap-uninstall.reg to OpenVPN's bin folder. Default is C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\bin\. You must put it in this folder because OpenVPN GUI depends on the OpenSSL DLLs installed in this folder by OpenVPN.

Configuring OpenVPN GUI to start on Windows logon

OpenVPN GUI can be configured to start automatically on logon to Windows from its setting menu. This is default behavior for all users if OpenVPN GUI was installed by an OpenVPN 2.4 installer using default installer options.

Adding an OpenVPN configuration file

To launch a VPN connections using OpenVPN GUI you need to add an OpenVPN configuration file with .ovpn suffix. Any text editor (e.g. notepad.exe) can be used to create a OpenVPN configuration files. Note that log and log-append options are ignored as OpenVPN GUI redirects the normal output to a log file itself. There are sample config files in the sample-config folder. Please refer to the OpenVPN How To for more information regarding creating the configuration file.

Once the configuration file is ready, you need to let OpenVPN GUI know about it. There are three ways to do this:

  • Place the file into the system-wide location, usually C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config\, or any of its immediate subdirectories. This VPN connection will be visible for all users of the system.
  • Place the file into C:\Users\username\OpenVPN\config\, or any of its immediate subdirectories. The configuration file is only visible for the user in question. If the user is not a member of the built-in "Administrators" group or "OpenVPN Administrators" group and tries to launch such a connection, OpenVPN GUI pops up a UAC, offering to create the latter group (if missing) and to add the user to it. This will only work if admin-level credentials are available.
  • Use the "Import file" function in OpenVPN GUI itself
  • See the section on Persistent or Pre-started connections for how to use OpenVPN GUI to conftrol configurations in C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config-auto\ that are started by the automatic service.

Using OpenVPN GUI

When OpenVPN GUI is started your OpenVPN config folders (C:\Users\username\OpenVPN\config and C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config) will be scanned for .ovpn files and the OpenVPN GUI icon will appear in the system tray. Each OpenVPN configuration file shows up as a separate menu item in the OpenVPN GUI tray, allowing you to selectively connect to and disconnect to your VPNs. The config dir will be re-scanned for new config files every time you open the OpenVPN GUI menu by right-clicking the icon.

When you choose to connect to a site OpenVPN GUI will launch openvpn with the specified config file. If you use a passphrase protected key you will be prompted for the passphrase.

If you want OpenVPN GUI to start a connection automatically when it's started, you can use the --connect cmd-line option. The extension of the config file may be optionally included. Example:

openvpn-gui --connect office.ovpn
OR
openvpn-gui --connect office

Starting version 11.34, any connections active when OpenVPN GUI exits or the user logs out are automatically reconnected when OpenVPN GUI is restarted.

To get help with OpenVPN GUI please use one of the official OpenVPN support channels.

Running OpenVPN GUI

Run OpenVPN-GUI as normal user by double clicking on the icon. No administrative privileges or runas-administrator options are required. It just works as limited user with the help of Interactive Service which is enabled by default.

Persistent or Pre-started connections

Starting release 2.5.8 (GUI version 11.30), OpenVPN GUI can control connections started by the "automatic service" (OpenVPNService) --- also referred to as persistent connections. OpenVPNService, if running, starts all connection profiles listed in the config-auto directory in the installation path.

By default, such connections are scanned for, and attempt is made to attach to their management interfaces if available. User can then view the status of these connections, and disconnect, reconnect, detach or re-attach them using the menu items.

It requires that such connections be started with --management 127.0.0.1 port [pw-file] option in their config file. pw-file containing a password is optional, but highly recommended. The password should be a single line of text, preferably shorter than 128 characters of plain ascii. Further, if --auth-user-pass or any such options requiring interactive user input are present, the config file must also contain --management-query-passwords.

This feature may be controlled by changing the Persistent Connections setting in the General tab of the Settings menu: choose auto for the default behaviour described above, manual to enumerate and list such connections but not auto-attach, or disable to not scan auto-started connection profiles.

Interactively starting connections before logon

Starting release 2.6 (GUI version 11.30), "Start Before Logon" aka Pre-Logon Access Provider is supported. This feature is not enabled by default. It may be enabled during installation or through the General Settings menu of the GUI via the Start Before Logon check mark.

Only persistent connection profiles described in the previous section will be listed on the login screen. Ensure that connections that may be interactively started from login screen are setup in the config-auto folder, OpenVPNService is running, and these connections are visible and controllable from the GUI.

Once those pre-requisites are satisfied, the login screen will display an icon for Pre-Logon Access Providers, clicking which will bring up a list of OpenVPN connection profiles available, and allow connecting or disconnecting them interactively.

Run Connect/Disconnect/Preconnect Scripts

There are three different scripts that OpenVPN GUI can execute to help with different tasks like mapping network drives.

Preconnect If a file named "xxx_pre.bat" exist in the config folder
where xxx is the same as your OpenVPN config file name, this will be executed BEFORE the OpenVPN tunnel is established.
Connect If a file named "xxx_up.bat" exist in the config folder
where xxx is the same as your OpenVPN config file name, this will be executed AFTER the OpenVPN tunnel is established.
Disconnect If a file named "xxx_down.bat" exist in the config folder
where xxx is the same as your OpenVPN config file name, this will be executed BEFORE the OpenVPN tunnel is closed.

The outputs of these scripts are redirected to "xxx_pre.log", "xxx_up.log" and "xxx_down.log" respectively. These log files are created in the log_dir and over-written during each evocation.

Send Commands to a Running Instance of OpenVPN GUI

When an instance of the GUI is running, certain commands may be sent to it using the command line interface using the following syntax:

openvpn-gui.exe --command *cmd* [*args*]

Currently supported cmds are

connect config-name
Connect the configuration named config-name (excluding the extension .ovpn). If already connected, show the status window.
disconnect config-name
Disconnect the configuration named config-name if connected.
reconnect config-name
Disconnect and then reconnect the configuration named config-name if connected.
disconnect_all
Disconnect all active connections.
silent_connection 0 | 1
Set the silent connection flag on (1) or off (0)
exit
Disconnect all active connections and terminate the GUI process
rescan
Rescan the config folders for changes
import path
Import the config file pointed to by path.

If no running instance of the GUI is found, these commands do nothing except for --command connect config-name which gets interpreted as --connect config-name

Registry Values affecting the OpenVPN GUI operation

Parameters taken from the global registry values in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\OpenVPN\ key

(Default)
The installation directory of openvpn (e.g., C:\Program Files\OpenVPN). This value must be present.
config_dir
The global configuration file directory. Defaults to C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\config
exe_path
path to openvpn.exe, defaults to C:\Program Files\OpenVPN\bin\openvpn.exe
priority

the windows priority class for each instantiated OpenVPN process, can be one of:

  • IDLE_PRIORITY_CLASS
  • BELOW_NORMAL_PRIORITY_CLASS
  • NORMAL_PRIORITY_CLASS (default)
  • ABOVE_NORMAL_PRIORITY_CLASS
  • HIGH_PRIORITY_CLASS
ovpn_admin_group
The windows group whose membership allows the user to start any configuration file in their profile (not just those installed by the administrator in the global config directory). Default: "OpenVPN Administrators".
disable_save_passwords
Set to a nonzero value to disable the password save feature. Default: 0
auto_config_dir
If persistent connection support is enabled and the so-called automatic service (OpenVPNService) is running, any config files in this folder are scanned and listed in the list of connection profiles.

User Preferences

All other OpenVPN GUI registry values are located below the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\OpenVPN-GUI\ key. In a fresh installation none of these values are present and are not required for the operation of the program. These keys are only used for persisting user's preferences, and the key names and their values are subject to change.

The user is not expected to edit any of these values directly. Instead, edit all preferences using the settings menu.

config_dir
The user-specific configuration file directory: defaults to C:\Users\username\OpenVPN\config. The GUI parses this directory for configuration files before parsing the global config_dir.
config_ext
file extension on configuration files, defaults to ovpn
connectscript_timeout
Time in seconds to wait for the connect script to finish. If set to 0 the exitcode of the script is not checked.
disconnectscript_timeout
Time in seconds to wait for the disconnect script to finish. Must be a value between 1-99.
preconnectscript_timeout
Time in seconds to wait for the preconnect script to finish. Must be a value between 1-99.
log_dir
log file directory, defaults to C:\Users\username\OpenVPN\log
log_append
if set to "0", the log file will be truncated every time you start a connection. If set to "1", the log will be appended to the log file.
silent_connection
If set to "1", the status window with the OpenVPN log output will not be shown while connecting. Warnings such as interactive service not started or multiple config files with same name are also suppressed.
show_balloon

0: Never show any connected balloon

1: Show balloon after initial connection is established

2: Show balloon even after re-connects

config_menu_view

0: Use a hierarchical (nested) display of config menu reflecting the directory sturcture of config files if the number of configs exceed 25, else use a flat display

1: Force flat menu

2: Force nested menu

disable_popup_messages
If set to 1 echo messages are ignored
popup_mute_interval
Amount of time in hours for which repeated echo messages are not displayed. Defaults to 24 hours.
management_port_offset
The management interface port is chosen as this offset plus a connection specific index. Allowed values: 1 to 61000, defaults to 25340.

All of these registry options are also available as cmd-line options. Use "openvpn-gui --help" for more info about cmd-line options.

Building OpenVPN GUI from source

See BUILD.rst for build instructions.

About

OpenVPN GUI is a graphical frontend for OpenVPN running on Windows 7 / 8 / 10. It creates an icon in the notification area from which you can control OpenVPN to start/stop your VPN tunnels, view the log and do other useful things.

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