Have you ever tried to use your VPN app only to be slapped by an error message saying error 1168 element not found? It is not only annoying but frustrating.
As an avid VPN user, it is normal to encounter one of these errors because VPNs are not as fail-proof as one might think.
But you are in the right place if you have experienced this error, so read till the end to know how to clear VPN error 1168 element not found for good.
What is the element not found error?
The element not found error is usually a network connection problem that appears on Windows versions 7 and 8.
Oftentimes, this error message pops up when launching your VPN app.
However, it can also happen with apps like File Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Command Prompt, or even the Settings app in Windows.
It usually appears either as a result of a bad Windows update, corrupt drivers, or interference from third-party applications.
How to fix VPN error 1168 element not found?
Below are some fixes you can try:
- Install pending Windows updates
- Reload Explorer.exe
- Uninstall any recently installed apps
- Run the DSM tool
- Reset your PC
- Use a modern VPN
1. Install pending updates
This error may occur if one of your computer’s software components is outdated.
Therefore, ensure that you update your software to the latest version. Follow the steps below to achieve this:
- Open Windows settings.
- Click Update and Security.
- Click Check for updates.
Your PC will search the internet for any relevant updates. Click the Update button to download and install any available updates.
2. Reload Explorer.exe
If you get the element not found error whenever you start up your VPN, you may need to reload your File Explorer. Here is how to do that:
- Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard to launch the Task Manager.
- Click on the Details tab.
- Right-click Explorer.exe and select End Task. This will close all Windows Explorer processes so you can reload it.
- Click on File and select Create new task.
- Type explorer.exe into the text box.
- Tick the Create this task with administrative privileges box and click OK.
Doing this refreshes your computer so that the Windows Explorer process can start afresh.
3. Uninstall any recently installed apps
If you started getting the error message after installing an app, then it’s only logical to uninstall it and check if it fixes the issue.
This is because the new app may have installed a driver that doesn’t support the VPN application. This has worked in many cases, so you should try it if you have any recently installed apps.
To uninstall apps on your computer, follow these steps:
- Press the Windows + R keys on your keyboard.
- Type Control Panel and press Enter to launch the Control Panel.
- Click on Programs.
- Click on Uninstall a program.
- Search for the recently installed app, right-click on it, and click Uninstall.
Now check to see if your VPN works properly.
Alternatively, some windows updates can cause this error to happen. Therefore, you may need to uninstall recent updates. The process is similar to the one above. However, instead of clicking on Uninstall a program,
- Click on View installed updates.
- Then right-click on the affected updates and click Uninstall.
Check back to see if the error message is now clear.
4. Run the DISM tool
Running the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool is another fix for the element not found error.
The purpose of the tool is to scan your PC for problems that can lead to errors and repair them for you.
To run this tool:
- Search for Command Prompt from your Start Menu.
- Right-click on its icon and select Run as administrator. After this, a black rectangular window will pop up, asking for a command.
- Type in the following command: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth and press the Enter key.
- After the scan is complete, type this second command: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth and press Enter to run it.
This fix requires a little bit of patience if there are serious or multiple issues with your configuration.
The good news is that it can get rid of a lot of errors and there’s not a lot of work on your end, you just have to make sure you enter the correct commands.
5. Reset Your PC
Resetting your PC should be the last fix to try if you have tried fixes 1- 4 and none worked. Although intense, performing a full reset on your PC is definitely going to clear this error from your computer.
Follow these steps to reset your PC:
- Open Computer Settings and click Update and Security.
- Click Recovery.
- Then click on Get Started below the Reset PC menu.
- Select an option from the menu that appears and follow the instructions to reset your PC.
Resetting your PC returns the Windows OS to its original condition – as it was when you first installed it without all the installed programs so it is important to back up your personal files.
6. Use a modern VPN
This element not found error is most pronounced on VPNs with old tunneling protocols, especially L2TP and PPTP.
Therefore, switching to a provider with modern protocols such as OpenVPN and Wireguard is a sure way to fix the issue permanently.
If you want an error-free experience and very fast connections, consider ExpressVPN.
The tool is frequently updated to avoid errors. On top of that, as you can see in the screenshot, it gives you the possibility to pick from multiple VPN protocols.
We must also mention that the VPN has a large network of 3000+ servers located in 94 countries. This is great for anyone who uses VPNs for a better connection or to bypass geo-blocking.
ExpressVPNUse this up-to-date VPN to prevent any errors and enjoy all the benefits of private browsing!
We tested all the fixes in this article. Therefore, we hope that one of them works for you and helps you get rid of the VPN error 1168 element not found on your PC.