The Default gateway is not available error is one of a host of connection issues that plague Windows 10. Many users have narrated how they started getting the bug after a Windows 10 update. If you’re reading this guide, it’s likely because you’re one of them.
The error manifests itself as a yellow exclamation mark when you run the Windows Network Diagnostics tool. An X also appears on the network connection icon on your taskbar, indicating that the network is unavailable even though your router is connected and other devices are using it without issues.
Sometimes, the issue is briefly resolved after running the network troubleshooter, only to reappear in a few minutes. Losing an internet connection all the time is doubtless annoying. That is why we have compiled this guide to help out Windows 10 users affected by the bug.
Why Does “Default Gateway Is Not Available” Error Keep Happening?
To fix the Default gateway is not available issue in Windows 10, some knowledge of its possible causes is desirable. Simply put, the problem has to do with the non-availability of the network gateway through which packets from your network are sent to other networks across the web.
The bug is mostly attributed to corrupt or damaged network adapter drivers. The drivers can also be rendered obsolete by a Windows update, and thus they won’t work without an upgrade of their own as well. Various forms of malware have also been noted to trigger connection issues by corrupting network files. Certain software programs, such as the McAfee security suite, are also known to cause the inability to make a stable connection on Windows 10.
A thorough investigation has also unearthed incorrect network settings and ISP or router configurations as culprits of the Default gateway is not available bug.
Luckily, this problem can be fixed on your own and you don’t need to carry the machine to a repair centre.
How to Fix “The Default Gateway Is Not Available” in Windows 10
The Default gateway is not available error has a stop-start nature. Running the Internet Troubleshooter might make it go away for a few minutes, whereupon it returns with a vengeance. Needless to say, continuously having your connection interrupted is not acceptable. Hence, below we’ve offered several fixes you can apply to resolve the Default gateway is not available error.
First things first: perform a simple reboot and see what happens. To finally vanish, whatever is ailing the machine could just need a memory clearance. Also, do a security scan to eliminate virus infection as the culprit. Lastly, use Auslogics BoostSpeed to clean up junk files, corrupted registry keys and similar items that might be impeding network performance.
You can work your way through the suggestions in any order you desire. Hopefully, you should be able to get rid of the problem without too much sweat.
1. Temporarily Disable the Security Software
Losing a network connection might occur due to your antivirus’ persistent efforts to scrutinize everything on your system. Disable it for a few moments and see what happens. Depending on your particular software, you can do so by opening the system tray, right-clicking the icon of the antivirus, and selecting Disable/Disable Protection.
If no such icon is available, you can go into the program to disable either the protection or firewall function or both. Once you’ve done that, check whether a network connection has been restored.
If you’re able to use the internet once again, now you know what the cause is. If the antivirus is worth keeping, search for an update, install it and see whether that stops the program from interrupting your connection. Alternatively, uninstall it from your computer and use another security tool.
Luckily for you, the latter option shouldn’t be an issue given the abundance of competent security suites. We personally recommend Auslogics Anti-Malware for real-time protection. The tool is constantly updated with the latest definitions and doesn’t drain system resources by using too much memory or taking up a lot of space.
2. Remove McAfee from Your Computer
The evidence that McAfee’s malware removal tool somehow contributes to the Default gateway is not available issue in Windows 10 is mounting by the day. Many users told how the problem had simply vanished upon clearing McAfee from their system.
We are not quite certain how or why McAfee in particular seems to cause connection issues. However, since it seems to be a problem for a lot of users, it might be for you as well. It is not just the antivirus but the whole suite of McAfee products that seems to be affected by this.
Meanwhile, to uninstall McAfee, open the Control Panel through the Start Menu or just right-click the Start Menu icon and select it from the list. Change the View by mode to Category so that the Uninstall a program link will be easily accessible under Programs. Click that link and the Programs and Features window will be displayed.
You will see a list of your installed programs. Scroll down until you get to McAfee. Right-click the entry and select Uninstall. Follow the onscreen instructions to eliminate the program from the system.
Once that’s done, return to the Program and Features window and remove any other McAfee products in sight.
Next, check whether the internet connection is restored. If the issue is fixed, install a replacement antivirus from another brand. Don’t worry if the error persists. You can always reinstall McAfee once again. But it’s best to wait until you’ve solved the error through other means. You don’t have to worry about protection as long as Windows Defender is active and up to date.
3. Disable Auto Logon
The auto logon feature introduced with Windows 8 was a game changer. It allowed the operating system to load straight into desktop mode without stopping at the login screen. This feature enabled users to quickly get into the user account that was active at the time of the last shutdown.
Weirdly, this feature has been fingered as being somehow connected with the loss of a network connection. Don’t ask us why; we are as befuddled as you are. Windows, lest you forget, works in mysterious ways.
Be that as it may, if you’re using the feature, stop it and see if that has any effect. Since auto logon works for accounts without password protection, simply adding a password will prevent the system from automatically logging you into an account.
Once you’ve entered the password yourself, check whether the connection has appeared once more. If the gambit is successful, just keep your account with the password and create simple passwords for other user accounts as well.
4. Reset TCP/IP with the Netshell Command
TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and IP (Internet Protocol) are required for a successful connection to the net. Without them, using the web is impossible. If they happen to be corrupted or the settings have been adjusted incorrectly, you might have problems with the network.
Restoring your system’s internet protocol is very simple. You just need to enter a couple of commands in an elevated Command Prompt and you’re done.
- Open a Command Prompt with administrative privileges. Right-click the Start Menu icon at the bottom left of the screen and select Command Prompt (Admin).
- In the elevated Command Prompt, run the following command by copy-pasting it and hitting the Enter key:
netsh int ip reset
- Next, run the following command if you’re using IPv4:
netsh int ipv4 reset
- If you’re using IPv6, run the following command instead:
- netsh int ipv6 reset
If you don’t know what version of IP you’re running, there is no need to worry. Just run both commands.
What you’ve just done essentially removes and reinstalls TCP on your system. After doing this, your network should work with the reset configuration.
5. Reinstall the Network Adapter Driver
In many cases, an update to Windows 10 messes up the network adapter drivers. In particular, during the update, some files might get skipped or installed improperly. It is also possible that the required files that make the OS compatible with the network driver are missing or have become corrupted.
If the driver cannot work with the operating system, a stable internet connection becomes a mirage. To fix the Default gateway is not available issue in Windows 10, removing the network adapter driver has been offered as a working solution.
In case you feel trepidation about uninstalling such a useful driver, put your mind at ease. You’re only doing this so Windows can reinstall the driver automatically. Doing so replaces any corrupted driver files with fresh versions that the OS can hopefully work well with.
You need to use the Device Manager for this. Search for Device Manager and select the top result or open the Run box (Win Key+R), type “devmgr.msc” and hit the Enter key.
When the Device Manager window is displayed, find the Network Adapters node and expand it by clicking it once. Now look for the network adapter which is getting the error and right-click it. Select Uninstall from the context menu. You will be prompted to confirm the uninstallation. Click OK and reboot the system.
When the computer starts up once again, Windows will automatically reinstall the driver for you. You can confirm this by checking your network. It should be working fine now. If the problem persists, it could be that the driver wasn’t reinstalled automatically after all. Don’t worry even then. You can give Windows a nudge in the right direction.
Return to the Device Manager window, click the Action tab at the top and select the Scan for Hardware Changes option. Windows should automatically reinstall the network drivers this time.
If that doesn’t work, you can take a digital trip to the network adapter manufacturer’s website to download the relevant drivers, which you can install manually.
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6. Update the Network Adapter Driver
In lieu of an automatic driver reinstallation, the solution might actually be to update your network adapter driver. Corruption of the driver isn’t the only reason an update might be your best bet. Your driver might simply have become out of date. Sometimes, this is triggered by a recent Windows update which renders a perfectly fine driver incompatible with the updated OS.
As reverting to the previous version of Windows just because of a driver issue seems far-fetched, bringing the driver up to date is the best solution. It will eliminate any number of network and connection errors, including the annoying Default gateway is not available error.
So, if you took the previous suggestion to reinstall the network driver but that didn’t work, you might have better luck with updating the driver. You can do that right from the Device Manager or employ Auslogics Driver Updater to do it for you automatically.
- Update with Device Manager
This is a very simple procedure and not much different from reinstalling the driver. Simply go to the Device Manager window like you did previously and find your network adapter as usual. Upon right-clicking the entry, select Update Driver Software.
In the next window, you’re given two options. When asked how you want to search for drivers, select the “Search automatically for updated driver software” option and Windows will do your bidding right away. Do note that you need to be using a working connection for this since Windows need to download the updated driver from the web.
Assuming everything goes as planned, after rebooting your system, everything should have returned to normal.
However, if you get the message that “Windows has determined the driver software for your device is up to date” but you still have connection issues, you should take the notification with a pinch of salt. It is not unheard of for the update tool to fail to install the latest available drivers, even for popular network adapter models.
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So, irrespective of the message, you should confirm things with your network adapter manufacturer. First, double-click your network adapter in Device Manager to reveal the driver details. Note them down and check whether a later version is available on the manufacturer’s driver download page. If your search bears fruit, download the driver and install it manually.
Now, reboot the system and see if the issue has been resolved.
- Update with Auslogics Driver Updater
Actually, you don’t need to go through all that trouble in pursuit of a mere driver. There are loads of driver updating software tools that will do that for you. We recommend Auslogics Driver Updater for this purpose. It is Microsoft-approved software that automatically finds the latest drivers for your system.
Unlike some similar programs, Auslogics Driver Updater installs only approved drivers for your hardware, which it automatically gets from the manufacturers. It chooses a version that perfectly matches your operating system in order to avoid compatibility issues. The tool allows you to update all the drivers on your system with a single click.
Once you’ve updated your driver with this program, reboot as usual. The good thing about Auslogics Driver Updater is it backs up each driver you update, giving you an easy way out if something goes amiss.
7. Use Another Network Adapter Driver
If reinstalling and updating the network card driver doesn’t work for you, try using another driver that is already on your computer and see what happens. Usually, your network hardware comes with companion drivers pre-installed. One of them is usually good enough to do all the things a driver needs to do, but there are others in reserve that can be used if your router requires it.
Chances are the network adapter drivers on your system actually come in a set, with each member distinguishable in the wireless network spectrum. Depending on the adapter, you may have a set of 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n drivers or a set of 802.11a, 802.11n, and 802.11ac drivers.
To change your driver, here’s what you need to do:
- Open the Device Manager as usual. Select it from the Windows Tools menu (Win Key+X).
- Expand your Network Adapter node and note the wireless network protocol of the problematic network adapter.
- Right-click the network adapter with connection issues and select Update Driver Software.
- In the next window, select the “Browse my computer for driver software” option.
- Next, select the “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer” option.
- A window appears prompting you to select the driver you want to install. Untick the “Show compatible hardware” checkbox on the left.
- Now, choose one of the listed drivers for your network adapter model. Choose one with a different wireless network protocol. For example, if the driver in the Device Manager is a Broadcom 802.11n driver, select the Broadcom 802.11a driver.
- Click Next.
- An Update Driver Warning confirmation window is displayed. Ignore the warning and click Yes.
Follow the rest of the steps and reboot your PC. If the issue persists even after this, simply retrace your steps and select another driver from the list. Whether your network card is Broadcom or Intel or another type, keep doing this until your issue is resolved.
If you have exhausted all the different listed drivers for your model yet nothing changes, select the original driver once more and try the next fix.
8. Temporarily Disable Firewall
There is a high likelihood that your Firewall is interfering with the connection, thereby causing the Default gateway is not available issue. Your firewall can be part of a security suite, or it may be a VPN or a proxy server at work or school premises.
Open your antivirus and disable the Firewall component. This is just a temporary measure. If this component happens to be the cause of your problem, use another firewall henceforth or simply uninstall the program entirely and use another security software program.
If you use a VPN, make sure to disable it and check if that resolves the issue. As usual, try another VPN provider if you have to or simply forgo it. If you simply have to use a proxy to jump over site restrictions, consider using browser extensions rather than systemwide proxies as those can hamstring the network.
And if you strongly suspect the issue comes from the LAN server, consider using your personal router for surfing on the premises.
9. Manually Enter the Gateway and IP Address
Sometimes, the TCP/IP command doesn’t have the intended effect and the Default gateway is not available issue persists on Windows 10, especially after an update. If other fixes have proved abortive, then the manual method of assigning the default gateway and IP address might prove effective.
For this, you require the IP address subnet mask and default gateway which your computer uses.
To find those, open an elevated Command Prompt and run the “ipconfig” command. You will see a bunch of codes on the screen. What you need are the details of those three parameters. Note down the values of your IP address, subnet mask and default gateway.
Now, you can close the CMD window and open the Control Panel:
- Press Win Key+X and select Control Panel.
- In the Control Panel window, change the View by mode to Category.
- Select Network and Internet.
- Select Network and Sharing Center.
- Select Change Adapter Settings.
- If you’re on an Ethernet connection, select Local Area Network > Properties.
- If you’re using a wireless connection, select Wireless Network Connection > Properties.
There is a faster route to get to the Network Connections window in Windows 10. Open Settings via the Start Menu and go to Network and Internet. Select the correct connection in the left pane and click the “Change adapter options” link in the right pane. Now right-click your internet device and select Properties.
A list of items will be shown under “This connection uses the following items” in the Networking tab. Select either Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and click the Properties button.
In the Internet Protocol Version Properties window, tick the “Use the following IP address” checkbox and populate the three fields below it with the values you got with the ipconfig command. Make sure the values you enter for the IP address, subnet mask and default gateway respectively are correct.
Next, tick the “Use the following DNS server addresses” option and enter the following values:
- Preferred DNS server 126.96.36.199
- Alternate DNS server 188.8.131.52
After this, tick the “Validate settings upon exit” button in the bottom left corner and click OK.
10. Change How Windows Manages the Network Adapter
If the Default gateway is not available error persists despite your best efforts so far, it might be related to the adapter settings on Windows. Sometimes, the power management settings for the adapter don’t allow it to function as well as it could. Adjusting the right settings can thus fix the issue.
What you need to do here is two-pronged. First, you have to prevent Windows from turning off the device. You need to verify that the relevant setting isn’t active and disable it if it is:
- Open the Device Manager.
- Expand the Network adapters node and double-click the relevant adapter to display its features.
- Select the Power Management tab.
- Check whether the “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” option is enabled. If it is, untick it.
- Click the OK button to save your changes.
The next step is to tweak your power settings to allow maximum performance when the network adapter is in use:
- Open Control Panel. Ensure that the View by mode is set to Small Icons.
- Select Power Options.
- You need to change the settings of your current selected power plan. Click the “Change plan settings” link beside the selected plan.
- In the next window, click the “Change advanced power settings” link.
- A Power Options dialog pops up.
- In the scrollable list, select and double-click Wireless Adapter Settings to expand the option.
- Double-click Power Saving Mode to expand it as well.
- Set both the “On Battery” and “Plugged in” options to Maximum Performance.
- Click Apply.
- Click OK.
With these tweaks, the Default gateway is not available error should no longer bother you when trying to surf.
11. Change the Wireless Mode of Your Router
Adjusting the wireless mode of your router — from 802.11n to 802.11a and vice versa, for example — can help restore an internet connection to your system.
- Press the Windows and X keys on your keyboard at the same time and select Network Connections.
- Right-click your router and select Properties.
- In the Networking tab, click the Configure button.
- Go to the Advanced tab and select an alternative wireless mode from the dropdown menu.
- Click OK.
Open a browser and verify that you can surf the net once more.
12. Adjust Router Frequency
If the problem occurs with a new router, it might be due to incompatibility between the frequency of the router and the network adapter.
The older your network card is, the less likely it is to support newer frequencies. For example, many older network adapters cannot work with the 5GHZ frequency.
The obvious solution is to change the router’s frequency to match what the network card can support. Even if you lose some speed by doing this, at least your system gets to regain a network connection.
Instructions for matching frequencies vary according to the router in question. Generally, you will find what to do in the manual that came with the router.
13. Reset the Network
You have tried everything under the sun and even run the Windows Network Troubleshooter multiple times, as suggested in forums. Still, your connection remains as irregular as ever and the Default gateway is not available error simply goes away, only to reappear a few hours later. Luckily, there is still one more solution for Windows 10 users to try.
Systems running on Windows 10 1703 and later have a new feature from Microsoft that enables them to use a Network Reset button to restore all connection settings to their default state. Everything will go back to how it was when you first began to use the system on Windows 10. You can use this as a last resort if all else fails:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to Network & Internet.
- Select Status from the menu in the left pane.
- Click the Network Reset option at the bottom of the right pane.
- A Network Reset window will open. You will be informed that going ahead will remove and reinstall all your network adapters and set other networking components back to their original settings. Click the Reset Now button to continue. If you get a confirmation dialog, click Yes.
- When the process is done, reboot your system.
Network problems are, for many, the worst when it comes to bugs that affect Windows 10. Since most of us spend a large portion of our time online, constant connection interruptions simply will not do. This guide provides some remedies for one such bug — the Default gateway is not available error.