Windows 11 may soon show a system tray indicator notifying when your computer is connected to a VPN, allowing users who want to browse anonymously to make sure they’re connected.
With your online data treated like a commodity, many users have started using VPN services to hide their identity while browsing the web, streaming movies, or downloading files.
When you’re connected to a VPN server, your internet connections will go through the service’s IP addresses, preventing your personal IP address from being seen by the website or online service you’re using.
However, if you’re using a VPN to download a file or browse a site, and it suddenly disconnects, you may continue browsing the web without realizing it, exposing your personal IP address.
VPN Status in Windows 11 System Tray
As first reported by Neowintwitter user PhantomOcean3 discovered that Windows 11 ‘Dev’ build 25247 includes a new hidden feature that, when enabled, displays a small shield icon overlaying the network system tray icon when connected to a vpn.
The image below above has been enlarged and the shield is relatively small in practice, so if this goes into production we should expect the shield to be more prominent.
The images above have been enlarged and the shield is relatively small in practice, so if this goes into production we should expect the shield to be more prominent.
Unfortunately, there are some limitations to the new feature, as it only works when connecting to VPNs configured using the built-in Windows 11 client and does not work over WiFi.
“This *seems* to only work if you connect to a VPN from the quick setting or the Network & Internet > VPN page in Settings,” PhantomOcean3 tweeted about the new feature.
Also, the feature does not work when connected to commercial VPN services using their apps.
In BleepingComputer’s tests using both NordVPN and ProtonVPN, when connected to a VPN, the indicator is not currently showing.
However, since this is a feature in development and not announced, it is unfinished and in its early stages.
Also, while this is a very handy feature, Microsoft has previously revealed that features found in a Windows Insider build may never make it to production.
How to Enable VPN Flag in Windows 11
If you want to try out the new Windows 11 VPN indicator, you can join the Windows Insider program and install the current version of Windows 11 (build 25247) or later.
To get this build, you will need to join the “Dev” channel of the Windows Insider program.
Once the latest insider version of Windows 11 is installed, please follow these steps to activate the new Task Manager:
- Download Vive Toolwhich enables hidden developer features in Windows 10 and Windows 11. Once downloaded, extract the zip file.
- Open a Elevated command prompt and navigate to the folder you extracted ViveTool.
- Now type and enter each of these commands. Not all are necessary, but all are part of this new feature.
vivetool /enable /id:38113452
After entering the command, ViveTool will respond with “Feature configuration set successfully”.
After testing is complete, you can disable hidden functionality by running the following ViveTool commands from an elevated command prompt.
vivetool /disable /id:38113452
When using ViveTool to enable hidden features, it is recommended to test on a virtual machine with snapshots that you can roll back to if some
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