Can’t connect to a VPN on a Windows PC? 7 ways to fix the problem – MUO – MakeUseOf | Hot Mobile Press

A VPN connection is useful for surfing the web anonymously or accessing websites, apps, and software that are blocked in your geographic location. When you can’t connect to a VPN, it can be frustrating. If you can’t turn on the VPN, your privacy will be compromised and you won’t be able to access restricted content.

Most of the time, the operating system causes the problem, but sometimes the VPN provider is also to blame. Below are the solutions to try if you are also having trouble connecting your VPN on a Windows computer.


Before you begin troubleshooting, perform the following general checks:

  1. Check if your internet is working and troubleshoot network issues if necessary.
  2. Make sure the date and time are set correctly on your computer.
  3. Make sure you don’t have another VPN connected to your computer at the same time.
  4. Make sure your router is VPN friendly and not blocking your connection.
  5. Make sure it’s not a server-specific issue by connecting to a different server provided by the VPN provider.

If you don’t find any issues from the above checks, start implementing the fixes listed below.

1. Rule out VPN-specific issues

You should start troubleshooting by ruling out the possibility of an issue coming from your VPN provider. The easiest way to achieve this is to download a free version of another VPN program and connect it to your computer. If the connection is successful, the fault lies not with your operating system but with your VPN provider.

To ensure that the connection is not momentarily lost, you should uninstall the VPN desktop client and install a fresh copy. If the problem persists after reinstalling, visit your VPN service provider’s official error reporting page to see if other users are having the same issue and report it there.

You can also check the reported downtime on websites like downdetector. You can have peace of mind if the problem comes from your service provider as it will solve itself. But if the other VPN also fails to connect, you should start troubleshooting the OS issues.

2. Whitelist VPN desktop client in the firewall

There is a chance that the Microsoft Defender firewall sees the VPN desktop client as a threat and prevents it from making changes to your network settings.

Therefore, when troubleshooting OS issues, you should first whitelist the VPN desktop client in the Microsoft Defender firewall. Check out our in-depth guide on how to allow an app through the Microsoft Defender firewall.

If allowing the VPN desktop client does not solve the problem, update your network driver.

3. Update the network adapter drivers

Outdated network drivers could be another reason why you might not be able to connect to a VPN. Therefore, you should update them in Device Manager.

In Device Manager you will find several network adapter drivers for different protocols. If you don’t know what protocol your VPN provider offers, you should update them all.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click Windows beginning press and select device manager.
  2. Expand the category for network adapter.
  3. Right-click on the appropriate driver and press the update drivers.

If updating the driver doesn’t fix the problem, you can reinstall it. Read our article explaining the top VPN protocols to learn more about these protocols.

If updating or reinstalling the drivers doesn’t work, try the other solutions listed below.

4. Make sure the TAP Windows Adapter V9 is installed

When a VPN desktop client is installed from any vendor, it installs the TAP Windows Adapter V9 driver. All VPNs require it to work, and in most cases it is installed automatically during VPN client installation.

So it’s imperative to make sure it’s installed in Device Manager, and you should update it if it’s already installed. That’s how it’s done:

  1. Right click on the window beginning button and go to device manager.
  2. Expand the category for network adapter.

You may find multiple drivers with the same name, so you should find the one related to your VPN, e.g TAP-ProtonVPN Windows Adapter V9, as shown below. Right-click the driver and select the update drivers.

If this fix also fails, you should use the built-in Windows troubleshooter.

5. Run the built-in Windows troubleshooters

Troubleshooters help to fix unforeseen problems. If general fixes don’t work, they can help diagnose and solve the problem.

To find these fixes, follow these steps:

  1. Right click on the window beginning button and go to settings.
  2. Go to Updates & Security.
  3. Click on Troubleshooting in the left sidebar.
  4. Click on Additional bug fixes.

Perform three fixes here viz internet connections, Incoming Connectionsand network adapter. To run any of these, click the troubleshooter and then click Run the troubleshooter.

Follow the on-screen instructions for each troubleshooter and see if it identifies and fixes problems. If not, continue implementing the following fixes.

6. Disable IPv6 internet protocol

If your VPN does not support IPv6, you are likely experiencing connection issues because this protocol is enabled. Even ExpressVPN recommends disabling this protocol for better VPN protection.

You must disable this internet protocol to rule out this possibility. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Switchboard App by typing “Switchboard” in the Windows search bar.
  2. Navigate to network and internet the settings.
  3. Go to Network and sharing center.
  4. Click on Change adapter settings.
  5. Right click on your network device and go to it Characteristics.
  6. Find them Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and uncheck the box to the left of it.
  7. blow OK.

After disabling IPv6, make sure that IInternet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) activated. If it’s not checked, check it and you’re done. However, if this fix does not work in your favor, contact customer support.

As a last resort, contact your VPN provider’s customer support if none of the above solutions worked. Tell them what is bothering you and they will surely be able to help you.

Reconnect the VPN to keep your browsing private

Following the fixes above should help you get your VPN connection back. Your VPN service provider’s customer support will come to your aid if the general fixes don’t work.

Which VPN service do you use? If you don’t know, there are so many bad VPN services out there that you should avoid at all costs. HideMyAss, HotSpot Shield, and PureVPN are some famous names to stay away from.

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