Updated · Feb 07, 2023
The ‘Windows could not detect proxy settings’ error is common in Windows 10. You may encounter it in:
- the system tray
- or at the end of the troubleshooting window
Fortunately, there are several ways to get your connection back on track, so here’s what to know:
What’s a Proxy Server?
A proxy server is an intermediary between your PC and your internet traffic. Windows 10 lets you connect to the internet using a proxy automatically, via a script, or manually by entering its IP address and port.
Like other anonymizers, the proxy acts as a gateway when you browse the web or otherwise process internet data. It masks the connection and changes your geolocation to promote online anonymity. For example, when you open a website in your browser, the site sees the proxy server as the requester, not you. Unlike a proxy browser, it does not require any software to do this. But you will need access to a proxy server, its IP, and DNS.
This extra layer between your computer and the internet can help protect it from threats like malware and viruses. It can also be used to get access to websites that restrict users’ visits or to control bandwidth.
When Windows 10 can’t detect proxy settings, there is either an issue with:
- the proxy server
- the way you’ve configured it
- your network hardware
- or the operating system
If you receive this error, you’re likely unable to connect to the internet, it’s slower than usual, or you can only connect directly without the benefits of the proxy.
How to Fix Windows Can’t Detect Proxy Settings?
The reasons why Windows can’t detect proxy can vary from minor to more serious ones. You may have simply entered the wrong information if the error occurs right after a new configuration. The info could also have been changed without your knowing by malicious programs or malware.
The error could also be due to overzealous antivirus software, corrupt system files, or outdated network drivers.
Whatever’s causing your ‘Windows could not detect proxy settings’ error; the following fixes will help you get to the bottom of it.
Check Proxy Settings
Before proceeding with other solutions, it is always wise to double check the proxy settings Windows is using. You may have inadvertently flipped between auto detection, script, or manual settings without realizing it. Moreover, the manual settings themselves may have been reset or altered.
To check this, hit the Windows Start icon, go to Network & Internet, and locate the Properties of your network device.
Alternatively, press the Windows Key + R to open the Run Window, then type inetcpl.cpl.
You should now be in the Internet Properties.
Click the Connections tab and LAN Settings button. This will display your proxy settings and you can check if they are correct.
If nothing else works or you need to access the internet urgently, you can always uncheck ‘Use a Proxy Server’ temporarily and connect directly to the internet.
If all else is well, try rebooting your computer. New software or hardware often requires a reboot to function correctly.
Occasionally something goes wrong in the system’s memory or caching process that can disrupt your proxy connection. A simple system reboot may fix this.
It can also be worth rebooting after trying out other fixes to ensure that your system has completed the process.
Proxies can be set up at the router level. Once that’s done, you rarely need to worry about connecting to the server.
However, when Windows cannot automatically detect proxy settings, it means the settings it’s receiving from the router or network may be incorrect or are getting disrupted for some reason. This could be because the router itself has temporarily malfunctioned.
The quickest and most common way to fix this is to reset the router. You can do this by:
- turning it off
- waiting a few minutes
- and turning it back on
You won’t lose your proxy settings doing this, and Windows will have a fresh chance at detecting them once you get the green light.
If you are still receiving the Windows could not automatically detect proxy error, a factory reset of the router might solve the issue. Note that if you manually configured the proxy settings on your router, doing this may completely wipe the information. Therefore, you will need to re-enter it before Windows can auto-detect the settings.
Reset Your Network
The issue might also be down to one or more of your network adapters. These are the wireless dongles or built-in cards that facilitate your network and connections. If they get stuck relaying information, a reset might be in order.
From Settings, choose Network & Internet, scroll down to Advanced Network Settings, and click Network Reset.
Windows will forget all your connections, so you must re-enter any passwords and reconfigure the connection as if you’ve just plugged in the adapter for the first time.
Run the Network Adapter Troubleshooter
For simple errors, Windows’ set of inbuilt troubleshooters may be able to detect and guide you through a fix.
If you want to fix network adapters, in Settings, head to Update & Security and click Network Adapter. Then in the left pane select Troubleshoot and Run the Troubleshooter.
This will help you resolve issues related to your wireless or other network adapters without necessarily resetting them.
Auto Obtain DNS
Windows 10 network proxy settings include an option for the proxy’s DNS. While your proxy server’s IP address will usually stay the same, the DNS address may change.
If you have previously entered this information manually, switching to ‘Obtain DNS server address automatically’ can solve the Windows error.
But what if you’ve exhausted the above methods and are sure your proxy information and hardware are correct and working properly? These advanced fixes are worth a try:
Update or Reinstall Network Driver
Drivers are essential for Windows to effectively communicate with your network adapters. However, over time they can become outdated or corrupted, causing the ‘Windows cannot detect proxy settings’ error.
To check for updates, go to the Windows search bar and find Device Manager. Scroll down to Network Adapters and click to see the entire list. Here, right-click on the relevant adapter and select Update Driver.
You can let Windows automatically search for updates or you can browse for any new driver you’ve downloaded from the manufacturer.
Alternatively, you can uninstall and reinstall the adapter using the current default driver. Right-click on the relevant adapter and click Uninstall device.
Restart your computer and Windows will automatically detect the device as new and reinstall it.
Roll Back Network Driver
Though it’s important to keep your drivers up to date, a new driver can also cause errors. In this case, you can roll back to the previous driver.
Follow the previous steps but after right-clicking the adapter, select Properties and then click the Driver tab. If Windows has updated the driver at any point, there will be an option to Roll Back Driver.
If it is grayed out, your driver has never been updated and does not need to be rolled back.
Reset Using Command Prompt
The Winsock Catalog is a type of programming interface Windows uses for inputting and outputting internet requests within applications. This can become corrupted during runtime, resulting in a Windows 10 can’t detect proxy settings glitch.
To reset Winsock, you must first open the Command Prompt, which you can find using the Windows search bar. Select the Run as Administrator option to initiate the command.
When the black window opens, simply type ‘netsh winsock reset catalog’ and press Return.
It will carry out a brief process. Once complete, restart your computer to see if it has fixed the error.
If not, you can also reset the entire IP stack with the following commands:
- netsh int ip reset and press ENTER.
- ipconfig /release and press ENTER.
- ipconfig /renew and press ENTER.
- ipconfig /flushdns and press ENTER.
If you manually enter your proxy’s IP address, you may need to re-enter it afterwards.
Scan for Malware
Malware and other threats that have found their way onto your computer can mess with proxy settings to prevent you from connecting to the web or to promote a malicious connection. This might not be apparent until you’ve done a thorough scan of your system.
If it’s been a while since your last scan, perform one now to see if your settings have been hijacked.
Review VPN/Firewall/Antivirus Settings
On the flip side, some antivirus software can be so overprotective that it wipes or blocks proxy settings because it believes the server might be malicious itself. A quick way to see if this is the case is to temporarily disable all protection and see if the error persists.
Other tools like firewalls or VPNs can inadvertently prevent your proxy from working as intended. Again, review any firewall or VPN settings, or disable them to see if they are causing your ‘Windows could not detect proxy settings’ issues.
Repair Windows Files
If corrupt Windows system files are the problem, you’ll soon know after carrying out a repair. Firstly, use the DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management) tool by searching Command Prompt and opening as admin.
Type the ‘DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth’ command and press ENTER. Now, wait for the process to be completed.
Secondly, use the SFC (System File Checker) by typing ‘sfc /scannow’ in the CMD window and completing the process.
Sometimes you simply don’t know what errant software, hardware, or setting is causing the error.
One solution is to do a system restore, which restores Windows to its exact state at a previous interval. This may work because it undoes whatever you might have done to create the error in the first place.
Of course, doing this will also undo anything else you’ve added to the system since then, so you might want to backup any important new data beforehand.
On Windows 10, System Restore is disabled by default. However, if you have previously enabled this feature, you can restore Windows to your chosen point by searching System Restore in the search bar and following the instructions.
An error stating ‘Windows could not identify network proxy settings’, might leave you confused. However, it can usually be fixed by rebooting or resetting the relevant hardware or manually changing some of the settings.
Sometimes this error can also be caused by drivers, malware, or interfering software.
Whatever’s the cause, we hope one of the above solutions proves helpful.
How do I reset my proxy settings on Windows 10?
To quickly reset your proxy settings in Windows 10, type cmd into the search bar and click OK. Then at the command prompt, type ‘netsh winhttp reset proxy’ and press ENTER.
Alternatively, open Network & Internet settings, click Proxy in the left pane, and manually delete the server information.
How do I automatically detect proxy settings?
To go from manual to automatic network proxy settings, Windows 10 lets you check a simple option under Network & Internet.
Why Windows cannot automatically detect proxy settings?
The reasons Windows cannot auto detect proxy settings may vary on a case-by-case basis. The obvious reason is because you’ve accidentally changed some of the settings yourself.
How do I fix Windows could not detect proxy settings?
If you’re faced with the dreaded ‘Windows could not detect proxy settings’ error, it’s not always clear what’s causing it. We advise you to work down our list of solutions one-by-one until you fix the problem.
A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.
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