There are still a lot of Windows 8 users out there. Some are too scared of the security problems in Windows 10, while others have just never bothered upgrading. Whatever your reason for having Windows 8, you shouldn't feel like you are missing out because it's still a relatively good operating system. You can even set it up to run through a VPN to make sure that your web browsing is secure.
At first Windows 8 might have been difficult to adjust to because to the way that it balanced its touch screen and traditional desktop modes. Sure, Windows has its problems, but so do all of the operating systems. Mac is simple, but difficult to customise. Linux is super versatile, but hard to use if you aren't technologically inclined. Windows 8 strikes somewhere in the middle, in a way that some might view as the best of both worlds. Others may find that it doesn't suite their needs at all.
Most VPN providers will come with their own ready-made client for Windows 8. If yours doesn't, there is information further down the page on how to get an open source OpenVPN client for free. These clients are usually pretty good and offer great functionality and an easy way to adjust your settings. As with everything, some are better than others. Some will offer greater customisability, while others will focus more on usability. Try to find the one that is right for you.
How to Set Up OpenVPN in Windows 8
If your VPN provider doesn’t provide you with a ready-made client for Windows 8, you will generally want to use OpenVPN. This is considered the standard protocol for those who want to be secure. The other VPN protocols are known to be vulnerable. They should only be used if security isn't a huge concern and you are willing to sacrifice the extra encryption for higher speeds.
Step 1: Install a VPN Client
If you haven't done so already, you will need to subscribe to a VPN provider. There are many great options, but we personally recommend ExpressVPN. Many VPN providers will have a ready-made client for Windows 8, but if yours doesn't you will need to download one from OpenVPN.net.
Step 2: Click the OpenVPN icon in the Modern screen
Click on Open File location in the Action Bar.
Step 3: Go to the OpenVPN GUI icon and right-click on it
Then left click on Properties.
Step 4: In the Compatibility tab, check the Run this program as an administrator box
Step 5: Download the OpenVPN configuration files
You can get these from your VPN provider. Extract the files into the OpenVPN install directory's config folder. You will be able to find it in C:\ProgramFiles\OpenVPN\config or C:\ProgramFiles(x86)\OpenVPN\config.
Step 6: Go back to the OpenVPN GUI icon and double click on it
A red icon will come up in the Task Bar.
Step 7: Go to the red icon and right-click on it
Choose whichever server you would like to connect to, then click Connect. If you have done this properly, the icon will turn green and you will be connected through your VPN.
How to Set Up PPTP in Windows 8
Again, only use PPTP if you are willing to sacrifice your security for greater speeds. PPTP was made by Microsoft, so it is the easiest way to set up a VPN in Windows 8.
Step 1: In either of the home screens, hover over the bottom left corner for the change screen icon
Right-click on it so that it takes you to the Control Panel
Step 2: Select View Network Status and tasks
Once you are in the Network and Sharing Centre, select Set up a new connection or network.
Step 3: Click on Connect to a workplace
Then select Next.
Step 4: Select Use my Internet connection (VPN)
Input the Internet Address that was given to you by your VPN provider. Name it whatever you want. You will also need to check the Remember my credentials box. This will save you hassle in the future. Then click Create.
You are now ready to go. When you want to connect to your VPN, select the Network icon from the task bar. Click on your new connection, then enter your name and password.
How to Set Up L2TP/IPSec in Windows 8
Once more, you should only use a protocol other than OpenVPN if you prioritise speed over security. To save you from a whole lot of extra reading, do everything in the setup exactly the same as for PPTP. Once you have created the connection, follow these extra steps.
Extra Step 1: When you are ready to connect, select the Network icon in the task bar
Extra Step 2: Right-click on the connection that you have created
Click on View Connection Properties
Extra Step 3: Select the Security tab
Go to the Type of VPN menu, then click on Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol with Ipsec (L2TP/IPSec). Select Advanced Settings.
Extra Step 4: Click on Use preshared key for authentication
Type in your VPN provider's key, then click OK.
Extra Step 5: Make sure that your settings in the Security tab match those from your VPN provider
Extra Step 6: In the Networking tab, it will ask you to disable everything except Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)
It might also ask you to disable File and Printer Sharing. Click on OK.
Extra Step 7: Go back to Networks form the task bar
Hit Connect, then enter your username and password.
It is a little bit more work than PPTP, but these extra steps should have it connected properly. Now you can feel more confident in your internet security.