If you’re having network connectivity problems on your Windows desktop or laptop—and you’ve ruled out user error or a crappy wireless connection—there’s a small chance that Microsoft might be to blame. There’s a bug affecting users connecting with proxies or VPNs, and it’s serious enough to warrant Microsoft issuing an off-schedule update to patch the problem.
As Microsoft initially described:
Devices using a manual or auto-configured proxy, especially with a virtual private network (VPN), might show limited or no internet connection status in the Network Connectivity Status Indicator (NCSI) in the notification area. This might happen when connected or disconnected to a VPN or after changing state between the two. Devices with this issue, might also have issues reaching the internet using applications that use WinHTTP or WinInet. Examples of apps that might be affected on devices in this state are as follows but not limited to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Office, Office365, Outlook, Internet Explorer 11, and some version of Microsoft Edge.
Here’s the catch, though: Microsoft is leaving it up to you to decide if you need the emergency update or not. If your network connectivity issues sound like what Microsoft described, then you might want to consider installing the out-of-band update that fixes the problem. Here are all the different updates and the various versions of Windows they apply to:
To install an update, simply visit Microsoft’s Update Catalog and look for the correct update for your version of Windows (or click on one of those “KB” links and scroll to the bottom to find a link to the Update Catalog for that specific update, if you don’t want to search manually). Odds are good you’ll want the update for an x64 (64-bit) or x86 (32-bit) system, and you can check which one you have by clicking on your Start Menu and pulling up Settings > System > About:
Screenshot: David Murphy
If you don’t want to fiddle with a manual update, your best bet is to hang in there. I’m sure Microsoft will roll this fix into a larger Windows update soon enough, given its severity.