Are you having trouble accessing the internet from your Windows 10 computer? If so, one of the common error codes you might see when you try to use Windows Network Diagnostics to automatically troubleshoot your connection is the “default gateway is not available” error.
Below, we look at what this error means, why it happens, and what you can do at home to troubleshoot your computer and get rid of the default gateway error on your Windows 10 computer.
What is the default gateway?
First off, the default gateway is a node within the hardware of your computer that is responsible for connecting different networks. In other words, it serves as a host for sending signals from one computer to one that is using another network.
This gateway is referred to as the default gateway because this node is the default gateway on a computer. A good example of the default gateway in action is when your computer is looking to get onto a website. Before it can access the page, it must send requests through the default gateway node, where the request is then sent through to the internet.
Additionally, default gateways can be used to route requests to the correct location, regardless of network protocols being used between the sender and receiver. The sender’s computer sends a request for access to the receiver. When no router is specified, that’s when the request goes through the computer’s default gateway.
What will you see if you have the error?
If the network communication process is interrupted in some way, you will see the “default gateway is not available” error when you try to use Windows 10’s built-in network troubleshooter to reconnect to the internet.
Here’s how to see if your computer is showing this error:
- Right-click on the Wi-Fi icon on your computer.
- Select “Troubleshoot problems.”
- Windows 10 will try to automatically troubleshoot your connection.
If your computer is experiencing a default gateway error, then you will see an image like the one below once Windows has completed the operation:
Why does the “default gateway is not available” error happen?
There are a few reasons as to why this particular error may be showing up on your Windows 10 computer:
- You’re using software that interferes with the gateway.
- Your network’s adapter is faulty or corrupt.
- Your network’s adapter is incompatible or outdated.
- The auto-login feature is interfering with the network’s settings.
- You need to change your wireless router channel.
- Your wireless router’s frequency needs adjusting.
Though there are other reasons why your computer could be displaying this error, these are the most common reasons. In the following section, we will show you how you can troubleshoot many of these possible issues.
How to fix the “default gateway is not available” error
Without further delay, let’s get into what you can do to fix the “default gateway is not available” error on your Windows 10 computer.
1. Reset your computer’s Wi-Fi or Ethernet adapter
A potential first solution that can fix your default gateway error is by easily resetting the Wi-Fi or Ethernet adapter on your computer.
Here’s how to reset it:
- Right-click on the network icon. (Alternatively, you can search for “Network connections” in the search bar.)
- Choose “Open network & Internet settings.”
- Under the “Advanced network settings” section, choose the “Change adapter options” category.
- Right-click on the “Wi-Fi” as seen below, and then Disconnect.
- Wait a few seconds before reconnecting to see if that successfully solves the gateway error.
2. Uninstall McAfee software
McAfee, as well as various other antivirus software programs, is known to cause conflictions in Windows 10 computers, leading to the default gateway error. To see if this is what’s causing your issue, try uninstalling McAfee, restarting your computer, and then trying to access your network.
Here are the steps for uninstalling McAfee from Windows 10:
- First, go to your Windows search box and search for “Settings.”
- From there, select the “apps” category.
- Search for “McAfee” in the given search box.
- Double-click on each of the McAfee files and select “Uninstall/Change” to remove them.
- Windows 10 will ask you to confirm the removal of the software, in which you will select “Uninstall” to confirm.
- Close the window to the Settings and then reboot to see if this solves the default gateway error.
3. Reinstall your network adapter
If your network adapter has developed inconsistencies that have made it incompatible with your computer’s software, sometimes all you need to do is simply reinstall the adapter to see if that fixes the problem.
Here’s how to reinstall your network adapter:
- Go to your Windows icon and right-click on it.
- Choose the “Device Manager” option to access the Device Manager application.
- Find “Network adapters,” and then click the icon that expands the “Network adapters” tab.
- Right-click on the network adapter that your computer uses to connect to the internet.
- Select the “Uninstall” option.
- Confirm that you want to uninstall the device.
- Once you’ve uninstalled the device, restart your computer.
When you restart, Windows should automatically try to find the driver and install it. After your computer has reinstalled the network adapter, reboot one last time. If your computer is still showing this error when you try to use the internet, continue on to the next solution.
4. Update your network adapter
If reinstalling your network adapter doesn’t do the trick, or if Windows 10 does not successfully install the driver after you’ve uninstalled it in the previous solution, then it’s possible that your network adapter needs to be updated.
A corrupt network adapter can make the default gateway error appear on your computer. This is because your computer’s default gateway is unable to host connections if your network is unavailable due to faulty adapters.
It’s important to note that even if you reinstalled an old network adapter using the steps listed in the previous solution, this adapter software might still be outdated.
Here’s how to update your network driver on Windows 10:
- First, go back to the “Device Manager” window in the taskbar.
- Click on the “Network adapter” category.
- Right-click on the adapter that you’d like to update.
- At this point, you can select “Update Driver” to see if Windows 10 updates it automatically.
- Reboot your computer to see if the update is effective.
5. Check your auto-login features
In some Windows 10 devices, auto-login interferes with the network’s settings, preventing your device from connecting to external networks.
To see if this is causing the default gateway error, simply uninstall “auto-login,” following the same steps you used to uninstall McAfee. Instead of searching for McAfee in the search box, search “auto-login,” and then uninstall. Reboot to see if this is the method that gets rid of the gateway error.
6. Installing a new network adapter
If updating your network adapter still didn’t work to get rid of the error, then we recommend manually selecting and downloading a new adapter software for your computer.
Here’s how to install a new network adapter to your Windows 10 computer:
- First, you will need to find a compatible, new network driver. Follow the information found on the manufacturer’s website for your computer to choose a driver that will work for your computer’s specifications.
- Once you’ve acquired a new driver, download it to your computer.
- Next, go back to the “Network Adapter” category of your “Device Manager” window.
- Right-click on “Update driver.”
- When the window appears, presenting you with options to either “search automatically for updated driver software” or “browse my computer for driver software,” choose the latter.
- Select the new software to install it onto your computer.
- Reboot to see if this solves your default gateway error.
7. Change your wireless router’s bandwidth channel
Another potential solution that involves the router is changing frequency of your router by changing its channel. Some older router adapters have a harder time working with 5GHz frequencies. What you can do is change the frequency to a lower setting of 2.4GHz.
Here’s how to change your wireless router’s bandwidth frequency settings on Windows 10:
- Go back to the “Device Manager” window.
- Click on “Network Adapters,” and then find the wireless device.
- Right-click it, and select the Properties menu option.
- Select the “Advanced” tab.
- There, you will see a section for bands labelled “Preferred band”. Here, you will be able to manually input new values to change the automatic router channel.
Once you have done this, your computer will use the newly selected frequency band to try connecting to your router. This might solve the default gateway error on your computer.
What if my computer is still showing the error?
We hope this guide provided you with the solutions to your computer’s connectivity issues, but if for some reason your computer is still showing this frustrating error, you might be wondering now what?
If your computer is still displaying the “default gateway is not available” error and won’t connect to the internet, then you might need to take it into a professional to have them look at underlying issues within your computer.