Unable to Connect to a VPN on a Windows PC? 7 Ways to Fix It

A VPN connection is useful for anonymous surfing or accessing websites, apps and software that are blocked in your geographical location. Failing to connect to a VPN can be frustrating. Not being able to turn on a VPN means your privacy will be compromised and you won’t be able to access restricted content.

Usually it’s the operating system that causes the problem, but sometimes it’s the VPN provider that causes the problem. Here are the fixes you should try if you are also having trouble connecting your VPN on your Windows computer.

Preliminary examination

Before starting the troubleshooting process, perform these general checks:

  1. Check if your internet is working and fix any network problems if necessary.
  2. Make sure the date and time on your computer are set correctly.
  3. Make sure you haven’t connected another VPN to your computer in parallel.
  4. Make sure your router is VPN-friendly and that it’s not blocking your connection.
  5. Make sure it’s not a specific server issue by connecting to another server provided by the VPN provider.

If you do not find any issues while performing the above tests, start implementing the fixes listed below.

1. Eliminate VPN-specific problems

You should start troubleshooting by ruling out the possibility that the problem is coming from your VPN provider. The simplest way to achieve this is to download the free version of another VPN program and connect it to your computer. If the connection is successful, your operating system is not at fault — that’s your VPN provider.

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To make sure there are no temporary glitches stopping the connection, you should uninstall the desktop VPN client and install a fresh copy. If the problem persists after the reinstall, visit your VPN service provider’s official bug report page to see if other users are experiencing the same problem and report it at there.

You can also check reported downtime at sites like bug detectors. You can relax if the problem comes from your carrier as it will resolve itself. But if another VPN fails to connect as well, you should start troubleshooting the operating system.

2. Whitelist VPN Desktop Client in Firewall

Chances are that Microsoft Defender Firewall could treat the desktop VPN client as a threat and prevent it from making any changes to your network settings.

So you should whitelist the VPN client in Microsoft Defender Firewall first when troubleshooting operating system issues. You can read our detailed guide on how you can allow an application through Microsoft Defender Firewall.

If whitelisting the VPN client doesn’t solve the problem, update your network drivers.

3. Update network adapter driver

Outdated network drivers can be another reason why you can’t 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. Unless you know which protocols your VPN provider offers, you should keep all of them up to date.


To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Right click on Windows Start button and select Equipment management.
  2. Expanded catalog for Adapters.
  3. Right click on the relevant driver and press Update drivers.

If updating the driver doesn’t solve the problem, you can reinstall it. Check out our article explaining the main VPN protocols to know more about them.

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

4. Make sure that the TAP-Windows V9 Adapter is installed

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

It is therefore imperative to ensure that it is installed in the Device Manager and you should update it if it is already installed. Here’s how to do so:

  1. Right click on Windows Start button and go to Equipment management.
  2. Expanded catalog for Adapters.

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

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

5. Run the Windows Built-in Troubleshooter

The troubleshooter helps to solve unforeseen problems. When general fixes don’t work, they can help diagnose and resolve problems.

Follow the steps below to find these troubleshooters:

  1. Right click on Windows Start button and go to Setting.
  2. Go Update & Security.
  3. Click Troubleshoot in the left sidebar.
  4. Click Additional debugger.

Run three debuggers here, namely Network connections, Connect toand Adapters. To run any of them, click the troubleshooter and then Run the debugger.


Follow the on-screen instructions for each troubleshooter and see if the troubleshooter identifies and fixes any problems. If not, continue with the fixes below.

6. Disable IPv6 Internet Protocol

If your VPN does not support IPv6, you may have trouble connecting because the protocol is enabled. Even ExpressVPN recommends disabling this protocol for better VPN protection.

You will need to disable this internet protocol to rule out this possibility. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go Dashboard application by typing “Dashboard” in the Windows search bar.
  2. Navigate to Network and Internet Setting.
  3. Go network and sharing center.
  4. Click Change adapter configuration.
  5. Right click on your network device and go to Nature.
  6. Locate Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and uncheck the box on the left.
  7. Beaten ALRIGHT.

After disabling IPv6, make sure IInternet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) be activated. If it’s not already activated, enable it and you’re done. However, if this fix doesn’t work for you, contact customer support.

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

Reconnect 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.

Which VPN service do you use? If you don’t know, there are a lot of bad VPN services that you should avoid at all costs. HideMyAss, HotSpot Shield, and PureVPN are some of the well-known names that you should stay away from.


VPN illustration

8 Bad VPNs You Must Avoid To Protect Your Privacy

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About the author

https://www.makeuseof.com/windows-vpn-unable-to-connect-fixes/ Unable to Connect to a VPN on a Windows PC? 7 Ways to Fix It

Sarah Ridley

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