I recently started using NordVPN and have noticed something strange.

Sometimes when I connect to the VPN service in my system tray it will show a wifi connection and other times an ethernet connection. In both cases I am connected to my home router by wifi.

In case 1) where it shows a wifi icon in the corner it will display

1) "My router name" on top and "Unidentified network no internet access".

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2) Then in the internet settings it shows this

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And it shows

3) this in the status for each connection:

enter image description here

When I check different websites ipleak etc. it shows my VPN ip and VPN DNS, I cannot see any leaks this way.

At other times the opposite will happen and instead of having a wifi icon showing it will display as an ethernet connection and the following will now happen:

1) "My router name internet access" is on the bottom and "unidentified network" now says "internet access" and is on top.

2) My network settings now displays this

enter image description here

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and my status for both connections now show this


enter image description here

Notice how it now says ipv4 connectivity as internet for the VPN connection (ethernet 2).

Also in this case websites such as ipleak show my ip/dns as the VPN ip and there appears to be no leaks.

In both cases the bytes are increasing for both connections.

I have had both cases (wifi icon and images 1-3/ethernet icon and images 4-6) happen fairly regularly and even change whilst I am on the VPN. I have had no disconnects or anything like that.

I have a few questions:

A. Is this normal for a VPN to do this? (What is causing this behaviour)

B. Am I safe in both cases (as I cannot detect any leaks from ipleak and other similar sites even in the first case when it says no internet access for the VPN connection in its status menu) or should I be concerned for security/privacy?

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


This is not a VPN thing, it's a Windows & Microsoft thing.

Windows periodically probes the network connections looking for a particular Microsoft server (I forget which one). If it finds it, it changes the status to "Internet". Until Windows finds the Microsoft server it insists it has no network access, which is not necessarily true it just has no Microsoft server contact.

Your VPN appears to be functioning fine and you made, and should continue to verify, the apparent IP and DNS as you should so The VPN connection should be fine.

The more general question of "concern" is a much bigger question above and beyond that of the VPN transport.

  • Hi, I have never heard of Microsoft doing this before. Can you give me a little more information as to what this is called so I can do some of my own research into it? With regards to the security concern I just meant that the icon changing isn't going to have an influence on my vpn and how that works. As in the symbol/icon in the system tray makes no difference to the traffic going through the vpn, is this correct?
    – Ryan S
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 18:14
  • 1
    I have personally monitored this so I had to do a little googling to find you a reference. blog.superuser.com/2011/05/16/windows-7-network-awareness Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 21:43
  • 1
    The ICON will have no VPN impact. Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 21:47
  • Okay thanks so much for the help. I am not sure I understand why it would change though is this right? Basically I have two connections my normal one and my vpn. My normal one is working and this is the one that gets checked by ms. Every so often it will try and check the other vpn connection when this happens it will recognise that connection as being active and for some reason change the icon. If if doesn't check the internet then the icon will remain on wifi. In either case the vpn will be running as intended (assuming there is no disconnects etc) sorry I'm not the most technical!!!!
    – Ryan S
    Commented Jan 13, 2019 at 22:36
  • I think the link explaining this is.... learn.microsoft.com/en-us/troubleshoot/windows-client/…
    – NixCraft
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 12:09

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