Unable to connect to a VPN on a Windows PC? 7 ways to fix it

A VPN connection is useful for surfing the web anonymously or accessing blocked websites, apps, and software in your geographic location. Not connecting to a VPN can be frustrating. Not being able to activate the VPN means that your privacy will be compromised and you will not be able to access restricted content.

More often than not, the operating system is to blame, but there are times when the VPN provider is to blame. Below are the fixes you should try if you are also having trouble connecting your VPN on a Windows computer.

Preliminary checks

Before beginning the troubleshooting process, perform the following general checks:

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

If you find no issues during the checks above, start implementing the fixes listed below.

1. Eliminate VPN-Specific Problems

You should begin troubleshooting by ruling out the possibility that a problem is with your VPN provider. The easiest way to do this is to download a free version of another VPN program and connect it to your computer. If the connection is successful, your operating system is not the culprit, it’s your VPN provider.


To ensure that there are no temporary issues interrupting the connection, 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 bug report page to see if other users are having the same problem and report it there.

You can also check reported downtime on sites like downdetector. You can relax if the problem is with your service provider as it will resolve itself. But if the other VPN also fails to connect, you should start troubleshooting the operating system.

2. Whitelist Desktop VPN Client in Firewall

It is likely that the Microsoft Defender firewall sees the VPN desktop client as a threat and blocks it from making changes to your network settings.

Thus, you must first whitelist the VPN desktop client in the Microsoft Defender firewall when troubleshooting operating system issues. You can read our in-depth guide on how you can allow an app through Microsoft Defender’s firewall.

If whitelisting the desktop VPN client does not resolve the issue, update your network driver.

3. Update Network Card Drivers

Outdated network drivers can be another reason why you can’t connect to a VPN. Therefore, you need to update them in Device Manager.

In Device Manager, you will find several network adapter drivers for different protocols. Unless you know which protocol your VPN provider offers, you should update them all.

To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on Windows To start up button and select Device Manager.
  2. Expand category for Network adapters.
  3. Right-click on the affected driver and press the Update driver.

If updating the driver does not fix the problem, you can reinstall it. See our article explaining the main VPN protocols to learn more about these protocols.

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

4. Make sure the TAP-Windows V9 adapter is installed

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

Therefore, it is imperative to ensure that it is installed in Device Manager, and you should update it if it is already installed. Here’s how:

  1. Right click on Windows To start up button and go to Device Manager.
  2. Expand category for Network adapters.

You may find multiple drivers with the same name, so locate the one related to your VPN, such as TAP-ProtonVPN V9 Windows Adapter, as shown below. Right click on the driver and select it Update driver.

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

5. Run Windows Built-in Troubleshooters

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

Follow the steps below to locate these convenience stores:

  1. Right click on Windows To start up button and go to Settings.
  2. Go to Update and security.
  3. Click on Troubleshoot in the left sidebar.
  4. Click on Additional convenience stores.

Run three troubleshooters here namely Internet connections, Incoming connectionsand Network adapter. To run any of them, click on the troubleshooter, then click on Run the troubleshooter.

Follow the on-screen instructions for each troubleshooter and see if they identify and resolve issues. If not, continue implementing the fixes below.

6. Disable Internet Protocol IPv6

If your VPN doesn’t support IPv6, you’ll likely have connection problems because this protocol is enabled. Even ExpressVPN recommends that you disable this protocol for better VPN protection.

You will need to disable this internet protocol to exclude this possibility. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Control Panel app by typing “Control Panel” in the Windows search bar.
  2. Navigate to the Network and Internet settings.
  3. Go to the Network and Sharing Center.
  4. Click on Change adaptation settings.
  5. Right-click on your network device and navigate to its Properties.
  6. Locate it Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and uncheck the box to its left.
  7. Hit OKAY.

After disabling IPv6, make sure IInternet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) is authorized. If it’s not enabled, enable 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’s bothering you and they’ll probably be able to help you.

Reconnect the VPN to keep your browsing private

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

What 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 famous names that you should avoid.

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