Microsoft VPN Client for Windows Review 2023: What’s the Point?

The Microsoft VPN for Windows 10 and 11 doesn’t function like your typical VPN app, which makes it hard to use for anyone other than advanced users.
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The Microsoft VPN client isn’t likely what you want in a VPN for Windows 10 or 11. You can’t use it to unblock regional streaming content or mask your IP address. And you miss out on features such as a kill switch and split tunneling.

It’s possible that you can use the Microsoft VPN client in other ways, such as accessing files on a local network. But even doing that might be easier using a different strategy because the Microsoft VPN client can be difficult to use if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Let’s explore how the Microsoft VPN client works and see how your traditional VPN apps, like NordVPN and Surfshark, might make more sense to use in most scenarios.

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In this article
Windows built-in VPN overview
Who is the Windows VPN best for?
Windows VPN client features
How to set up Windows VPN client on your PC
Windows VPN client compatibility
Windows VPN client customer support
How to get Windows VPN client
Windows VPN client FAQs
Bottom line: Is the Windows VPN client good?

Windows built-in VPN overview

Price Included in Windows 10 and 11 (around $100-$200 if you need a new license)
VPN protocol PPTP, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2

Who is the Windows VPN best for?

  • Recommended for people who have Windows OS technical knowledge and can navigate how to make different VPN connections using the Windows VPN client. This isn’t for the average VPN user.

The Windows VPN client isn’t a virtual private network (VPN) like most people think of a VPN. You might be able to use it to access files from a local network or something similar.

But you likely won’t be able to watch Netflix with the built-in Windows VPN or hide your IP address and online activities from your internet service provider (ISP). So for unblocking streaming services and online privacy, there are better VPN options.

Windows VPN pros and cons

  • Included with Windows 10 and Windows 11
  • Can be useful if you know what you’re doing
  • Not user-friendly
  • Typically needs a third-party VPN service to work
  • Doesn’t have many features

Windows VPN client features

The Windows VPN client doesn’t have many features. In most cases, you’re likely using it to connect to a VPN service that does typically provide more features. But because you’re using the Windows VPN client, you lose access to any features available on the VPN provider’s app.

That could include using a kill switch to automatically disconnect your internet if you lose connection to your VPN server. This is an important feature found on many VPN apps that can help prevent any information leaks if you’re having connectivity issues.

You would also miss out on a split tunneling feature, which can allow you to bypass the VPN connection with certain apps or programs.

For example, you might want to play an online game without the VPN connection eating up your bandwidth. But you also want to stream foreign content with your VPN at the same time. So you can use split tunneling to unblock streaming content with your VPN, while only bypassing the VPN connection for your game.

Something you do have some measure of control over with the Windows VPN client is choosing the type of VPN protocol you want to use.

VPN protocol

The Windows VPN supports these protocols:

  • IKEv2
  • L2TP/IPsec
  • Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
  • Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP)

IKEv2 and L2TP/IPsec are generally considered to be secure protocols. PPTP isn’t a secure protocol and SSTP might be secure, but could have some backdoors that compromise its security.

Note that the Windows VPN client doesn’t support some popular protocols, such as OpenVPN and WireGuard. You would have to use a VPN service that supports these protocols if you want to use them.


IKEv2 is a fast and secure protocol that’s commonly used on mobile devices but can work on some other platforms as well. Native support is available on Windows PC, iOS, and macOS. But you can still get IKEv2 working on Android and Linux devices.


L2TP doesn’t provide any encryption alone, but it can be paired with other services (IPSec) to keep your connection secure. This includes being able to use AES-256 encryption, which is one of the best encryptions available. L2TP/IPSec has decent internet connection speeds but isn’t the fastest protocol available.


SSTP is generally seen as secure, but it’s primarily used on Windows devices because it’s owned by Microsoft. The ownership presents some potential issues because Microsoft has worked with government agencies in the past to provide user information.

So if SSTP has any backdoors, anyone using this protocol could eventually have their information compromised.


PPTP is fast but doesn’t provide high levels of security. Since it’s insecure, it’s only recommended for advanced VPN users that know what they’re doing.

How to set up Windows VPN client on your PC

You need to create a VPN profile before you can connect to a VPN using Windows 10 or Windows 11. The steps to create a profile are basically the same in either Windows version:

1. Select the Start button on your desktop, then select or search “Settings” and choose Network & Internet > VPN > Add a VPN connection.

A screenshot of the built-in Windows VPN client settings

2. Fill in the required information to create your VPN profile:

  • VPN provider: Select “Windows (built-in).”
  • Connection name: Add a name for this VPN profile. It can be anything you want, such as “Nord” if you plan on using the NordVPN service.
  • Server name or address: Enter the server name or address.
  • VPN type: Choose the VPN protocol you want to use. If you’re connecting to a VPN service, that provider needs to support the protocol you choose.
  • Type of sign-in info: Select your sign-in info option. This could be a username and password if you’re connecting to a VPN service.

Windows 10

To connect to a VPN profile in Windows 10:

  1. Select the Network icon in your taskbar.
  2. Click on the VPN connection/profile you want to use and select the connect button.
  3. You might have to enter a username and password if you chose not to have them remembered when you created your VPN profile.

A screenshot of the Windows 10 VPN client connection shown in the taskbar.

Windows 11

To connect to a VPN profile in Windows 11:

  1. Go to Settings and select Network & Internet > VPN.
  2. Choose “Connect” next to the profile you want to use.
  3. Enter your username and password if required.

Windows VPN client compatibility

The Windows VPN client is available in Windows 10 and Windows 11. Note that this feature isn’t available in Windows 11 SE, which is a version of Windows 11 designed for students using school-provided laptops.

Need a VPN for school or college? Check out our guide on the best VPNs for school and college to see recommendations and tips.

Windows VPN client customer support

There’s no dedicated customer support team for the Windows VPN client, but you can check out the official Microsoft guide to connect to a VPN in Windows. You can also review the Windows VPN technical guide to see how Windows works with VPNs.

For other Windows security features, check out our guides on the Windows Defender antivirus and the Windows Security app.

How to get Windows VPN client

The Windows VPN client is included with a Windows 10 or Windows 11 operating system (OS). Many laptops and PCs already come with Windows 10 or 11 installed, which means the Windows VPN client is already there.

If you don’t have Windows 10 or 11, you would need to purchase either OS to access the Windows VPN client. Note that there are different versions of Windows 10 and 11, including Home and Pro.

In most cases, Windows Home (10 or 11) is sufficient for the everyday Windows user. You might only want Windows 10 or 11 Pro for increased business functionality and security.

A new Windows license could cost around $100 to $200, depending on the Windows OS version and the retailer selling the license. That’s a hefty price if you want to save money on a VPN. It likely makes more sense to simply pay for a cheap VPN service, some of which only cost around $2 per month:

Microsoft Windows OS cost

Plan Windows 10 Home Windows 10 Pro Windows 11 Home Windows 11 Pro
Price $139.99 $140 $139.99 $199.99
Details View at Best Buy View at Walmart View at Best Buy View at Best Buy
Prices as of 2/21/2023.

Keep in mind that Microsoft is pushing people to update to Windows 11, so it may be difficult to find Windows 10. We’ve personally seen many attempts by Microsoft to get us to upgrade to Windows 11 after our PC has finished with regularly scheduled updates.

Windows VPN client FAQs


Does Windows 10 have a built-in VPN?

Windows 10 has a built-in VPN client, but it doesn’t function like an actual VPN service. Rather, you can use the Windows VPN client to connect to third-party VPN services, such as NordVPN. For most VPN users, this presents an unnecessary step when you can just use the NordVPN Windows app or other app associated with your VPN.


What is the best free VPN for Windows 10?

We recommend Proton VPN and Windscribe for their fast and free subscription plans. You typically won’t have access to as many servers with these free VPNs and you might also see some speed restrictions. For more information, check out our page on the best free VPNs.


Is Windows 10 VPN good?

It can be useful if you have the technical knowledge to use it and if you don’t want to install third-party VPN software on your PC. But using the Windows 10 VPN client doesn’t make sense if you want all the features that come with a VPN service.

For example, the Windows apps from NordVPN, Surfshark, ExpressVPN, and Private Internet Access are more customizable and easier to use than the Windows 10 VPN client.

Bottom line: Is the Windows VPN client good?

No, we don’t think the Windows VPN client is good or makes any sense for most VPN users. Rather than act as an actual VPN service, it’s more of a way to connect to a VPN service you already subscribe to. So, really, you’re likely adding an overly complicated and unnecessary step to your process by using the Windows VPN client.

It might make sense to use the Windows VPN client if you have the technical knowledge to do so and it’s useful for you. This could be the case if you don’t want any third-party VPN apps on your system that hog space or resources. Or you might want to access a local network from a different location.

But if you already have a VPN subscription, it likely makes sense to simply use the Windows app offered by your VPN provider. This will typically provide you with a better user experience and more features over the built-in Windows VPN client.

For our top VPN recommendations, check out our list of the best VPN services.

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Author Details
Ben Walker is a writer at All About Cookies with a passion for all things internet and technology, whether it's using VPNs while away from home or organizing his life with password managers.