Windows 11 users report VPN issues after latest update — what we know so far

Man typing on Windows 11 laptop
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Microsoft recently issued an update to its Windows 11 software that provided a host of updates and patches. There's just one problem — some users say they're experiencing issues with their VPNs after applying the update.

A host of Windows 11 users have taken to Microsoft forums and Reddit, saying that the April 2024 Windows 11 update, which is called KB5036893, has broken VPN connections that use TPM-backed certificates. The users say that after applying the update and trying to use their VPNs, they see "a certificate could not be found" error pop up on their displays.

The Windows 11 April update was applied to all Windows 11 versions, along with the company's Windows Server installations. And while Microsoft has acknowledged the problem and said that it's investigating it, the software maker aalso said its only resolution for now is to uninstall the update and wait for an "upcoming release" that will apparently patch the problem.

Applying Windows updates has always been fraught with risk. While Microsoft spends time internally testing updates before providing the updates to its beta community to ensure no major problems will erupt in a wider public launch, there will inevitably be some users affected due to wonky coding problems no one could have anticipated. And in the vast majority of those cases, few users feel the effects.

However, the April update is decidedly different, and appears to affect anyone who applied the update and uses a TPM-backed VPN. Considering VPNs are used for a variety of purposes to enhance privacy and security both at home and in the office, it's a decidedly worrisome problem.

The issue also sheds light on best practices around updating software. While Microsoft and other operating system makers have long argued that users should update to new software as soon as possible, in practice, that's not always best. Indeed, it's often best, absent a zero-day exploit patch, to see how that update affects other users before jumping in. The same might be true for this April update.

So, if you've already installed the update and you're having problems with a VPN, consider either uninstalling the patch or wait until Microsoft launches a fix. And if you haven't updated the software yet, be sure to hold off if you're using a VPN.

For its part, Microsoft says a fix is coming. It hasn't, however, said how long it'll take for that fix to land.

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Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.