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What is Tap Windows Adapter and How to Manage it? V9


If you have ever used a Windows VPN to protect and secure yourself online, you may know about the Tap Windows Adapter. Simply put, it is a virtual network interface makes it possible for VPN programs to establish a VPN connection.

Surprisingly, there have been a lot of users that have faced issues while Tap Windows is enabled. If you are one of those users having difficulties because of said issues, then you are in the right place. Here, you will not only find out more about Tap Windows but also how you can remove it and reinstall it all over again.

Tap Windows Adapter – Overview

A majority of VPN programs install Tap Windows, which is essentially a network driver. The driver can be found in the Device Manager after a VPN program has been installed. The reason why it is used by VPN providers is that it easily establishes internet connections privately.

Now, there are two different types of Tap Windows, and they differ based on the version of Windows you have on your PC. They are as follows:

  • NDIS 5 Driver (Version 9.9.x) for Windows XP
  • NDIS 6 Driver (Version 9.21.x) for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 & Windows 10

Managing Tap Windows Adapter – Why Remove or Reinstall?

If while using a VPN you end up facing connectivity issues, there is a possibility you may be dealing with a corrupted driver. If this is the case, you will need to reinstall the Tap Windows Adapter. But if you had a VPN program before, but not anymore, then it is possible the Tap Windows Adapter is causing problems with your internet connection, in which case you will need to remove it permanently.

It is worth noting though if you remove the driver, and you still have a VPN program, the driver will be reinstalled automatically. You may get the following error: All Tap-Windows adapters on this system are currently in use, to fix it you will need to restart the Tap Windows adapter.

Now that you know what needs to be done in each scenario, let’s look into how you can actually restart, reinstall and remove the adapter as per your needs and requirements.

Restarting the Tap Windows Driver

If you have an error like the one mentioned above, restarting the driver should do the trick. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Control Panel > Network and Internet > Change Adapter Options
  2. Right-click on the Local Area Connection with Tap Windows, click Disable
  3. After a few moments, right-click the same icon, click Enable
  4. Establish a VPN connection to verify whether the VPN program is working or not.

Reinstalling the Tap Windows Driver

For problems associated with establishing a VPN connection, you will first need to check whether the Tap Windows driver was installed properly. If you think the driver is corrupted, then you will need to reinstall the driver by following these steps:

  1. First and foremost, you will need to disconnect your VPN connection and then exit the VPN program.
  2. Press Windows Key + R for Run, then type devmgmt.msc. Click OK to access the Device Manager.
  3. Upon accessing Device Manager, look for Network Adapters. Expand the list by clicking the forward-pointing arrow.
  4. Locate the Tap Windows Adapter driver, right-click it and click Uninstall Device.
  5. Once the driver has been uninstalled, you can now access your VPN program. Now, depending on the VPN program you are using, it will either install the missing driver automatically, or it will ask for your permission to do so.

Note: If you get a missing driver error after uninstalling Tap Windows from the Device Manager, you will need to reinstall your VPN program. The reason for doing so is because the Tap Windows driver is usually bundled with the VPN program installation package.

  1. Return to the Device Manager to check if the error has been rectified. If the error still remains, then you will need to contact your VPN’s customer support team for further assistance.

Removing the Tap Windows Driver

When it comes to removing the Tap Windows driver, you would expect it to be as easy as removing it and/or uninstalling it and reinstalling it again. But the problem is whenever you boot your PC, the adapter will pop up again in the Device Manager. But then again, this can vary depending on the VPN you are using.

The reason why this happens is that some VPN programs automatically check for missing drivers and install them if need be. To remove the driver, this simple guide will allow you to make that happen:

  1. Access Program Files, look for Tap Windows.
  2. Double-click the executable file and follow the instructions provided to remove the driver.

Note: To prevent the Tap Windows driver from reappearing after rebooting your PC or accessing a VPN program, you will need to get rid of the program that actually requires it.

  1. Press the Windows key + R for Run.
  2. Type appwiz.cpl, and click OK to access Programs and Features.
  3. Locate your VPN program from the list and uninstall it.
  4. If you have used multiple VPNs before, uninstall all of them to prevent the installation of the Tap Windows driver.

Hopefully, the information provided above will have cleared the air about Tap Windows, and how you can manage it. These problems can arise, and if they do, you should not panic. If you do not know what to do or where to begin, you should start by contacting your respective VPN provider’s customer support team. If your VPN provider does not have a customer support team, then perhaps you do not have the best VPN out there.

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