Getting Started With Viscosity (Windows)
Welcome to the Viscosity for Windows Quick Start Guide. This guide is designed to get you started using Viscosity in the fastest way possible. If you require more detailed instructions, walkthroughs, or troubleshooting information please refer to other Knowledge Base articles.
Installing & Running Viscosity
Before you can use Viscosity it must first be installed using the instructions below. You must have administration rights on your computer to be able to install Viscosity.
- Run Viscosity Installer.exe file, usually located in your Downloads folder, by double-clicking it, or by clicking Run once you have finished downloading it.
- You may see a User Access Control window asking "Do you want to allow the following program to make changes to this computer?". If so, click Yes
- When you are greeted with the "Welcome to the Viscosity Setup Wizard" window, click Next.
- After reading the License Agreement, you can select "I accept the agreement" and click Next.
- Select where you would like Viscosity to be installed, then click Next. We highly recommend you use the default install location that the installer selects for you.
- Select where you would like Viscosity to be located in your Start Menu then click Next. We highly recommend you use the default location the installer selects for you.
- Tick the "Create a desktop icon" checkbox if you would like a shortcut to Viscosity to be located on your desktop. If you do not, you can always start Viscosity from the Start menu.
- At the next window, click Install. Any missing requirement will be automatically downloaded and installed.
- During installation, you may be asked if you wish to install a Viscosity Device driver. Allow this by clicking "Install" on Windows 8.1 or earlier.
- Once installation has completed, click Finish. You can untick the displayed checkbox if you do not wish Viscosity to run straight away.
- Viscosity can be launched from your Start menu by going to Start->All Programs->Viscosity->Viscosity (if you selected the default location), or if you selected to have a desktop icon during install, you will see the Viscosity Icon on your desktop.
Your VPN Provider
Viscosity allows you to connect to any VPN server that supports the OpenVPN protocol. Viscosity is only one end of the VPN connection: your VPN provider provides the other end of the connection (the server you wish to connect to). Your VPN Provider is the person or company who controls this server.
Typically your VPN provider falls into one of the following categories:
- Workplace: Your workplace may provide a VPN server so you can remotely and securely access the work network and Internet. In most cases the person to contact for more information or connection details would be your IT/System Administrator.
- VPN Service: Many third party companies specialize in offering both free and paid VPN services to users. There are a number of reasons why you may want to subscribe to a VPN Service, including protecting your privacy and security while on public networks, accessing location restricted websites, and accessing blocked content due to restrictive censorship. Most VPN Service providers provide a webpage or support site where you can obtain connection details. A list of VPN providers with Viscosity setup guides can be on our VPN Service Providers page.
- Personal: If you are familiar with VPNs you may have setup your own OpenVPN server so you can access your home network, and/or to have the same benefits as using a VPN Service Provider.
It is important to identify who your VPN provider is and obtain the details you need to setup your connection. Your VPN provider may provide you with the settings and files you need to manually enter into Viscosity, or a configuration file Viscosity can automatically import (see below).
In addition many workplaces and VPN Service providers provide customized versions of Viscosity that already contain all of your connections, allowing you to skip the steps below. You may like to check with your VPN Provider to see if they offer this.
Creating Your First Connection
You can create a connection in Viscosity by manually configuring a connection, or by importing a connection from a bundle or OpenVPN configuration file.
Importing A Connection
You can import a connection into Viscosity by double clicking on a Viscosity connection bundle or OpenVPN configuration file, or by following the steps below:
Open Viscosity, right click the Viscosity menu and select “Preferences…”.The preferences window should appear.
Make sure the “Connections” toolbar item is selected, and then click the “+” button in the bottom left hand corner of the window. Highlight "Import Connection" then select "From File..." from the menu that appears.
Select the connection bundle (.visc) or OpenVPN configuration file (.ovpn or .conf) supplied by your server administrator. Click the Open button.
Your connection will now appear in the Viscosity menu. To connect, select your connection from the menu. The menu icon will update to let you know when your new connection has connected.
Manually Creating A Connection
You can manually create a new connection in Viscosity using the instructions below. You'll need to obtain the necessary settings and any certificates/keys from your VPN provider.
Open Viscosity, go to the Viscosity menu and select “Preferences…”. The preferences window should appear.
Make sure the “Connections” toolbar item is selected, and then click the “+” button in the bottom left hand corner of the window. Select “New Connection” from the menu that appears.
Give your connection a name, which can be anything you want. In the Address field enter the address of the OpenVPN server. Change the port if the server doesn’t used the default value. Select the protocol and device that matches the OpenVPN server’s settings.
Click on the “Authentication” tab. From the Authentication Type menu select the authentication type your OpenVPN server requires. Different options will be displayed depending on the type. To use multiple authentication types, simply select each type in turn from the menu and configure it. Most fields require you to select a certificate or key file. Your server administrator should have provided you with these if required. To specify a file, click the “Select…” button, locate the file, and click Open.
Use the tab bar to configure the remaining sections (Options, Networking, Proxy, and Advanced) as required. In most cases the default settings will work. If your server requires you to enter a username and password to connect, make sure you tick the “Use Username/Password Authentication” checkbox under the Options tab. Click the Save button when finished.
Your connection will now appear in the Viscosity menu. To connect, select your connect from the menu. The menu icon will update to let you know when your new connection has connected.
The following sections provide a brief overview of Viscosity's interface and options.
The Viscosity Menu
The Viscosity menu is the main way of interacting with Viscosity and your connections. The Viscosity menu can be found in your system tray, usually down the bottom right hand corner of your screen (near the clock). Left or right clicking on the icon once will bring up the menu.
The Viscosity menu allows you to connect or disconnect a connection by selecting it from the menu, open Viscosity's Preferences window, open Viscosity's Details window, and to quit Viscosity. Your connections will be automatically disconnected when Viscosity quits.
The Details Window
The Details window allows you to monitor your VPN connections. If you wish to check the status of a connection, experience trouble connecting, you should first check the details window for information. The Details window has three main sections, as outlined below. You can switch between these sections by clicking on the relevant buttons near the middle of the window.
- Traffic Graph: The traffic graph will graph network traffic. It will automatically scale to match the maximum traffic rate. The vertical axis on the left will list the range of data rates, while the In/Out values list the current data rate of traffic passing through the VPN connection.
- Traffic: The traffic section lists total data amounts that have passed through the VPN network adapter. These values are reset each time the connection is re-established.
- Log: The log section displays the OpenVPN log output. The log will contain important information if you are having trouble connecting.
The Preferences Window
Viscosity's Preferences window allows you to access and edit your VPN connections, as well as change Viscosity's overall settings. The toolbar at the top of the window can be used to navigate between the following sections.
- Connections: The Connections area allows you to manage your VPN connections. Use the "+" button to add new connections, the "-" button to remove a selected connection, and the "Edit" button to edit a selected connection.
- General: The General area allows you to modify general global preferences, including automatic update settings.
- Appearance: The Appearance area allows you to change the look and feel of Viscosity, including the menu bar icons and the behaviour of the Details window.
- Advanced: Settings in the Advanced area should only be changed by advanced users. This area allows you to change the OpenVPN version Viscosity uses, as well as options to aid troubleshooting.
For full information regarding the options available please see the Using Viscosity and Connection Settings articles.