VPN Users Beware: Windows 11 Security Update Might Break Your Connection

Microsoft says it's working on a resolution for a future release. Here's what you can do in the meantime.

Attila Tomaschek
Attila is a Staff Writer for CNET, covering software, apps and services with a focus on virtual private networks. He is an advocate for digital privacy and has been quoted in online publications like Computer Weekly, The Guardian, BBC News, HuffPost, Wired and TechRepublic. When not tapping away on his laptop, Attila enjoys spending time with his family, reading and collecting guitars.
Expertise Attila has nearly a decade's worth of experience with VPNs and has been covering them for CNET since 2021. As CNET's VPN expert, Attila rigorously tests VPNs and offers readers advice on how they can use the technology to protect their privacy online.
Attila Tomaschek
2 min read
VPNs for online safety and device protection
James Martin/CNET

Microsoft confirmed this week that its latest Windows security update might cause VPN connections to fail. The company acknowledged on its health dashboard that Windows devices with the KB5036893 update, released on April 9, or the April 2024 nonsecurity preview update, "might face VPN connection failures," adding that it's working on a fix, which will be rolled out in a future release.

The issue affects various Windows 11 and Windows 10 versions, specifically Windows 11 version 23H2, Windows 11 version 22H2, Windows 11 version 21H2, Windows 10 version 22H2 and Windows 10 version 21H2, according to Microsoft.

Watch this: Windows 11 Tips and Hidden Features

The company did not provide additional information regarding the cause of the VPN connection issue or its potential scope. However, if you’re a VPN user and have the update installed on your Windows device running one of the affected software versions, you should assume that your VPN connections could be at risk. 

In this case, you can attempt to uninstall the Windows update. But keep in mind that security updates are rolled out for a reason. Uninstalling a security update could put you at even more risk by leaving your device vulnerable to security gaps that were patched by the latest update. You should only uninstall the update if it's rendering your VPN unusable and you’re aware of the risks associated with uninstalling a security update.

The other option is to make sure that your VPN’s kill switch is enabled and working properly. A kill switch cuts your internet if your VPN connection drops for any reason, ensuring that none of your online traffic is exposed outside of the encrypted VPN tunnel. A kill switch is an essential VPN privacy feature that all of CNET’s recommended VPNs include, and can help protect your data in case the latest Windows update is affecting the stability of your VPN connection.