What are TAP-Windows adapters and why does your VPN require this Driver

This post talks about TAP-Windows adapters, what they are, why VPNs require them and where you can download the TAP Drivers. We will also show you how to install, update or uninstall the TAP driver.

If you open the Windows 10 Settings, you will see a program called TAP-Windows installed.

Windows 10/8/7/Vista users will see it in the Control Panel.

Tap-Windows adapters

If your open Devices Manager and expand Adapters, you will also see it there.

What are TAP-Windows adapters

TAP-Windows provides virtual TAP device functionality on the Windows OS. It is installed in the C:\Program Files\TAP-Windows folder and is required by your VPN software to function.

TAP devices are virtual network kernel devices supported entirely in software – and not backed up by hardware network adapters. TAP drivers are used for TAP devices to work and they are designed with low-level kernel support for Ethernet tunneling.

You don’t need to install TAP-windows separately, as your VPN installers include it and install it automatically along with the VPN software.

The TAP-Windows driver comes in two types:

  1. NDIS 6 (TAP-windows6, version 9.21.x) for Windows 10/8/7/Vista.
  2. NDIS 5 driver (TAP-windows, version 9.9.x) for Windows XP.

At times, you may face issues caused by this driver. Let us take a look at some of them.

TAP-Windows adapters on this system are currently in use

If you see this message or if your VPN software is facing problems starting, you may restart the TAP Adapter and see if it helps. To do so, open Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center > Click on Change Adapter Settings to open Network Connections.

You will see that one of the local area connections will have an under name TAP-Windows Adapter. Right-click on it and select Disable. After a few seconds again right-click on it and select Enable. Now try to connect again and see if it works.

If you face other issues in running your VPN software, I suggest you open the Control panel and from there, either Repair, or Uninstall and reinstall your VPN software and see. During Repair/Installation, it will install the TAP drivers.

If you wish to uninstall, disable or update TAP-Windows, from the Windows 10 WinX Menu, open Devices Manager, and expand Adapters, you will see TAP-Windows Adapter v9.

Tap-Windows adapters driver

Right-click on it and you will be offered the options to update, disable or uninstall the driver.

There are no TAP-Windows adapters on this system

If your VPN software doesn’t find this driver installed on your computer, you may receive a There are no TAP-Windows adapters on this system error message.  You will then have to download its setup and install the driver.

TAP-Windows adapter driver download

To download TAP-Windows driver file, visit openvpn.net. Scroll down, and you will see their download links.

TAP-Windows driver

Run its installer. Once the driver installation is completed, restart your computer and check.

If your Internet Connection stops working, then you might want to uninstall this adapter and see if that helps you. If it does not, perhaps you need to uninstall and reinstall the latest version of this driver afresh.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.