How To Fix “Default Gateway Is Not Available” Error In Windows

The “Default Gateway Is Not Available” error can occur due to multiple reasons. It can be installed software, a malfunctioning network adapter, a faulty driver, or a mismanaged router. Learn how to fix all possible issues in this article.

Default Gateway is not available Windows 10 11

Your network’s gateway configuration is important for your computer to be able to communicate with the internet. However, regardless if you are using an ethernet cable or wi-fi, you can encounter the “Default gateway is not available” error.

When this error appears, you will no longer be able to access your network, let alone surf the internet. Therefore, it is important to fix this issue on priority.

In this article, we are going to show you several quick fixes that will surely resolve the “Default gateway is not available” issue and resume things to normal again.

What is Default Gateway

A gateway is an IP address that defines the node in your network setup through which the traffic leaves and enters the network.

In a home setup, the gateway will be the IP address designated to your router.

Every device connected to a network maintains a routing table that includes information like the default gateway, MAC addresses, its own networking details, etc. When the stored gateway IP address is unreachable or incorrect, the Windows OS will display an error “Default gateway is not available.”

Let us now continue to see how to fix the issue.

Fix “Default Gateway Is Not Available” Error

Perform the following solutions in the given chronological order, starting from less aggressive to more aggressive remedies.

Restart Router

If you have been in the tech industry long, you would know that most minor issues are resolved by simply restarting the devices.

Try restarting your router. You will find a power button on the back of your router. Use it to switch off the router and leave it for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, turn the router back on and wait for it to boot up properly. Once all lights are on and steady, check if you experience the same issue on your PC.

Restart Network Adapter

The network adapters can occasionally malfunction after running for several hours or having their configuration changed frequently. This can also cause them to not be able to function properly but is usually fixable with a simple restart.

Restart the problematic network adapter (Wi-Fi or ethernet) using these steps on a Windows PC:

  1. Open the Network Connections applet.

    ncpa
    Open Network Connections applet

    Type in ncpa.cpl in the Run Command box.

  2. Disable the network adapter.

    Note: If you are remotely connected to another computer, then disabling the adapter will lose the RDC connection.

    Disable network adapter
    Disable network adapter

    Right-click on the adapter and then click Disable from the context menu.

  3. Re-enable the network adapter.

    Enable the network adapter
    Enable the network adapter

    Right-click the adapter and click Enable from the context menu.

When it reboots, check on your computer if the error message is gone and you can connect to the internet.

Run Network Troubleshooter

Both Windows 10 and 11 come with built-in troubleshooters that automatically scan and apply fixes to different Windows components. You can run the network troubleshooter and attempt to repair any issues. Here is how:

  1. Navigate to:

    Settings app >> System >> Troubleshoot >> Other troubleshooters
  2. Run the “Network Adapters” troubleshooter.

    Run Network Adapter troubleshooter
    Run Network Adapter troubleshooter

    Click Run in front of “Network Adapter.”

  3. Select the adapter to troubleshoot and click Next.

    Select adapter to troubleshoot
    Select adapter to troubleshoot

    The troubleshooting wizard will then scan and apply any possible fixes.

  4. Close the wizard.

If any fixes have been applied, then check if you still see the “Default gateway is not available” error message.

Uninstall McAfee Antivirus

Several users have reported that the McAfee antivirus on their computers is causing the “Default gateway is not available.” They have been beating around the bush for far too long to resolve the issue, and finally discovered that McAfee was the culprit.

If you are experiencing a similar issue and have McAfee installed, we recommend that you remove it immediately.

  1. Open the Programs & Features applet by typing in “appwiz.cpl” in the Run Command box.

    appwiz
    Open Programs & Features applet
  2. Right-click on the McAfee antivirus from the list and click Uninstall.

    The uninstallation wizard will now launch.

  3. Go through with the on-screen instructions and remove McAfee.

  4. Restart your computer.

Alternatively, you can download McAfee’s Consumer Product Removal tool and use it to uninstall McAfee products from your PC.

When the antivirus has been removed and the computer reboots, check to see if the issue has been resolved.

Disable Third-Party Antivirus

Third-party antivirus software can block internet connections that they think are malicious. Occasionally, they only block some of the IP addresses, but since the Windows OS cannot reach them, it displays the “Default gateway is not available” error message.

In such an instance, you need to disable this antivirus software and check if it fixes the issue. If it does, then you need to change your antivirus.

Learn how to disable Windows Defender (Windows Security).

Disable Auto-login

The Windows OS has a feature where you are not required to put in your user account’s credentials and it will log you in automatically. Although it is a nifty, time-saving feature, it sometimes disrupts the smooth working of the OS.

Disable this feature using the following steps in an attempt to get your network up again:

Note: This process requires making manual changes to the Windows Registry. Misconfiguration of critical values in the system’s registry could be fatal for your operating system. Therefore, we insist that you create a system restore point before proceeding forward with the process.

You can also use our top selection of disk imaging and backup software so you never lose your data or operating system again.

  1. Open the Registry Editor by typing in “regedit” in the Run Command box.

    regedit
    Open the Registry Editor
  2. Paste the following in the navigation bar for quick navigation:

    Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon
    Open WinLogon key
    Open WinLogon key
  3. Double-click the “AutoAdminLogon” value.

    Configure AutoAdminLogon Registry value
    Configure AutoAdminLogon Registry value
  4. Set its Value Data to “0”.

    Set Value Data
    Set Value Data
  5. Restart the computer for the changes to take effect.

When the computer restarts, log into your account and then check if the “Default gateway is not available” error has gone away.

Reset TCP/IP Stack

If the TCP/IP protocol stack is not working correctly, you will have issues with your Internet connection, like the one we are discussing in this post. A relatively less aggressive way to fix this problem is to clear the TCP/IP stack and start fresh.

Follow these steps to reset the stack, which also includes resetting Winsock:

  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt.

  2. Run these commands one by one:

    These commands will release the IP assigned by the DHCP server, flush the DNS cache, reset the network components, and then re-fetch the IP address from the DHCP server.

    ipconfig /release
    ipconfig /flushdns
    netsh winsock reset
    netsh int ip reset
    ipconfig /renew
    Clear TCPIP stack
    Clear TCP/IP stack
  3. Restart the computer.

If this does not fix the issue either, continue down to perform other mitigation methods.

Update/ Reinstall Network Driver

Outdated or corrupted network drivers are often the cause of a faulty and unstable internet connection. It may be possible that you have either an old or a corrupted network driver installed which needs to be replaced to rectify the issue.

First, try to update your network driver to a newer, better version. However, if the latest version is already installed, then you must reinstall it. Here is how:

  1. Open the Device Manager.

    devmgmt
    Open Device Manager

    Type in devmgmt.msc in the Run Command box.

  2. Expand “Network adapters”.

  3. Right-click on the network adapter and then click “Update driver” from the context menu.

    Update network driver
    Update network driver
  4. Click “Search automatically for drivers.”

    Choose how to update network driver
    Choose how to update the network driver

    This will automatically download and install the latest network drivers available.

Alternatively, you can click “Browse my computer for drivers” to manually update the driver if you have already downloaded a standalone driver for your network adapter from the manufacturer’s website.

Once the driver is updated, continue to check if it resolved the problem. However, if the latest driver was already installed and your problem remains, try reinstalling the driver.

Prevent Windows from Turning Off Network Adapter

Although your network adapter may not be turning off, it may have entered the low-power state not allowing it to function properly.

Perform the following steps to disallow the network adapter from entering the low-power state:

  1. Open the Device Manager by typing in “devmgmt.msc” in the Run Command box.

    devmgmt
    Open the Device Manager
  2. Expand “Network Adapters.”

    Expand Network Adapters
    Expand Network Adapters
  3. Right-click on the adapter you are using and click “Properties” from the context menu.

    Open network adapter proeprties
    Open network adapter properties
  4. Switch to the Power Management tab.

    Open Power Management settings
    Open Power Management settings
  5. Uncheck the box next to “Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power” and click Ok.

    Disallow computer from turning off network adapter
    Disallow computer from turning off the network adapter

Now that the network adapter will always be operating in its full state, check to see if the Default gateway is not available” error message has gone away.

Assign Gateway Manually

When a computer is connected to a router with DHCP enabled, it automatically fills in the routing table. However, since the issue has not yet been fixed, maybe manually assigning the gateway will change that.

Before we begin to assign the gateway manually, we must first know the following details regarding the router, as well as your own device:

  • Device’s IP address
  • Subnet mask
  • The gateway IP address

Follow these steps to find this information, and then use the exact info to assign them manually:

  1. Run the following command in Command Prompt:

    ipconfig /all
    Run ipconfig in Command Prompt
    Run ipconfig in Command Prompt
  2. Note down the IPv4 address, subnet mask, and default gateway values for the network adapter you are using.

    Note down the network IP configuration
    Note down the network IP configuration
  3. Now open the Network Connections applet by typing in “ncpa.cpl” in the Run Command box.

    ncpa
    Open network Connection applet
  4. Right-click the network adapter and then click “Properties” from the context menu.

    Open network adapter proeprties2
    Open network adapter properties
  5. Double-click “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).”

    Open IPv4 settings
    Open IPv4 settings
  6. Select “Use the following IP addresses” and then input the IPv4 address, subnet mask, and the default gateway values as noted in step 2 above. Also, add “8.8.8.8” and “8.8.4.4” as the preferred and alternate DNS servers.

    Enter default gateway and IP details manually
    Enter default gateway and IP details manually
  7. Click Ok on all windows to save the configuration and close them.

When done, wait for a few seconds and then check to see if the “Default gateway is not available” issue has been mitigated.

If the problem still persists and the error has not gone away, then the only thing left for you to do is reset the router.

Reset the Router

You can reset a router by using the tiny button on its back. Press and hold the reset button for 10 seconds while it is powered on.

In some older routers, the reset button is not on the outside. Instead, you need to use a pin or a needle and insert it into a small hole on the back side of the router to push the reset button. The duration for pressing the reset button is the same.

Note that resetting a router undo all configurations – even the ones done by your ISP to establish the internet connection. Therefore, you might have to get it set up again.

This should surely fix the “Default gateway is not available” issue and get your internet working again.

Final Thoughts

If you see the “Default gateway is not available” error message on your PC, your first go-to should be towards restarting both the devices – the router as well as your network adapter or PC. If that doesn’t fix it, disable all antivirus installed on your PC and check your P configuration.

W understand that troubleshooting this error can be tiresome, but you cannot access the internet or your network without resolving it first.

We hope that the solutions given in this post helped you resolve the error promptly.

Also see:

Subhan Zafar is an established IT professional with interests in Windows and Server infrastructure testing and research, and is currently working with Itechtics as a research consultant. He has studied Electrical Engineering and is also certified by Huawei (HCNA & HCNP Routing and Switching).

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