If you care about privacy when traveling the internet, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must. It can keep prying eyes, at home and on the go, from snooping on your activities. But Windows doesn’t have a good status indicator to ensure you’re still protected. That might change soon, though.
A Virtual Private Network, in theory, helps you obscure what you’re doing on the internet. At home, that prevents your local ISP from seeing all of your activities, and on the go, it could prevent bad actors from grabbing all the details you could be broadcasting.
But among the many potential problems with VPNs (including how do you know yours is trustworthy), is a byproduct of Windows. Sometimes VPN connections are unstable, and you could drop off and back to a standard easy-to-track connection. On Android and iOS, it’s pretty obvious when that happens, as they use a specific indicator to let you know when you’re on a VPN.
But Windows doesn’t have an indicator like that—you need to dig into settings to see if you’re currently connected. If you don’t have settings open, you could lose your VPN connection without realizing it. But, as first reported by Neowin, Microsoft appears to working on correcting that oversight.
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!)
vivetool /enable /id:38113452 pic.twitter.com/smYqizgUOy
— PhantomOcean3 💙💛 (@PhantomOfEarth) November 20, 2022
Twitter user PhantomOcean3 discovered the latent feature in one of the latest Windows Insider builds, though it’s currently disabled. You can turn it on manually using ViveTools, but there’s always a risk when enabling unfinished features. PhantomOcean3 notes in follow up tweet that the feature itself isn’t working perfectly, especially on Wi-Fi. If you’re a Windows Insider, you may want to wait until the feature is fully read for testing.
And as with all Windows Insider features, the VPN status indicator may get scrapped before release. There are no guarantees. A Tabbed File Explorer was scrapped and then brought back to life again during the Windows Insider Cycle. Still, given the relative “simplicity” and need for the status indicator, one can be hopeful it’ll reach full release.