Microsoft is adding a handy VPN indicator to the Windows 11 taskbar

Touching VPN logo

There have been complaints recently about Microsoft using the Start menu to promote its own OneDrive service as well as suggesting websites, but another upcoming addition to Windows 11 is likely be rather better received.

Hidden among the numerous new features of Windows 11 build 25247, is an update to the network connectivity icon that appears in the notification area of the taskbar. It provides at-a-glance information about whether your VPN is active.

See also:

  • Microsoft acknowledges Kerberos authentication issues caused by November updates
  • Microsoft lifts printer-related safeguard hold blocking some Windows 11 upgrades
  • Microsoft releases emergency patches to fix Kerberos authentication issues on multiple versions of Windows

As noted by Neowin, it is easy to see why Microsoft has not yet advertised this feature; while useful, it is still not a finished product. At the moment -- and it is not clear if this will always be the case -- the VPN indicator only works with wired connections. Additionally, the tool is not currently able to determine the status of your VPN if you are using a third-party VPN.

Details of the feature were shared on Twitter:

Another neat hidden change in 25247, a minor one - when you are connected using a VPN, there will soon be a small 'shield' overlay on the network icon to indicate that. (also, it respects your accent color!)

Left: enabled Right: disabled

vivetool /enable /id:38113452

— PhantomOcean3 💙💛 (@PhantomOfEarth) November 20, 2022

If you want to enable the feature right now, you can do so with ViveTool. This is what you need to do:

  1. Start by downloading the tool from GitHub
  2. Extract the contents of the zip file to, for example, C:\ViVeTool
  3. Open the Command Prompt with administrator privileges
  4. Type cd C:\ViVeTool and press Enter (changing the path if necessary)
  5. To enable the feature, type vivetool /enable /id:38113452 and press Enter
  6. Restart Windows
  7. To disable the feature, type vivetool /disable /id:38113452 and press Enter
  8. Restart Windows

Image credit: ra2studio / depositphotos