Is Hotspot Shield not working because something went wrong?

Karol Wojcik
Karol Wojcik | Senior Writer
Last updated: May 2, 2023
Hotspot Shield not working
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Hotspot Shield is one of the most popular VPN services in the world, with more than 650 million active users. Still, popularity doesn’t equate to a smooth experience, and you might find Hotspot Shield not working from time to time.

Being a user of a popular VPN is great because when something goes wrong, there will be plenty of others experiencing the same issue. In this article, we’ll try to help you solve the most popular “something went wrong” issue by stating the best ways to fix your Hotspot Shield VPN connection for Windows and Mac devices.

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The Hotspot Shield “Something went wrong” error

Customer support knows about this issue and has a step-by-step troubleshooting guide posted on the Hotspot Shield website. This error usually happens when trying to connect to a Hotspot Shield server. Below are the official solutions for Windows and Mac users.

The official solution from Hotspot Shield (Windows)

  1. Open Task Manager and click on the Details tab
  2. Find cmw_srv.exe in the Name column
  3. Right-click it and choose End task
  4. When the confirmation message pop-ups, click End process
  5. Check if Hotspot Shield is connected

What to do if you can’t find cmw_srv.exe on the list?

In that case, follow these steps to make sure Hotspot Shield is closed:

  1. Open Task Manager and click on the Process tab
  2. Find Hotspot Shield and right-click it to End task. If it’s not there, it means it’s closed already
  3. Click on the Services tab and sort the table by Name
  4. Search for a service named hshld
  5. Right-click on hshld and choose Stop. Then right-click again and choose Start.
  6. Check if the status column says Running
  7. Launch Hotspot Shield
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The official solution from Hotspot Shield (Mac)

While there’s no “Something went wrong” support article for Mac, we got a step-by-step guide from customer support.

  1. Quit the Hotspot Shield Application
  2. Go to Finder and open the Applications folder
  3. Look for the Utilities folder and open the Terminal
  4. Enter the command defaults delete com.anchorfree.hss-mac and hit Enter
  5. Open Hotspot Shield again. It will look like the first time you installed it
  6. Click on the X at the upper-right corner to bypass the 7-day trial
  7. Click on the upper right gear and select Account
  8. Enter your credentials and click Sign In

If these steps didn’t lead to a successful connection, you should contact support because chances are your issue is not that generic.

If these steps didn’t lead to a successful connection, you should contact support because chances are your issue is not that generic. And while you’re waiting for an answer, check these other possible solutions for the Hotspot Shield “Something went wrong” error.

Run Hotspot Shield Fix Me tool (Windows)

While this tool starts itself automatically whenever you run into a problem, sometimes it doesn’t start itself and needs a gentle nudge from you. To jumpstart the Hotspot Shield Fix Me tool, go to the location where the VPN is installed. For Windows users, it will be something like C:\Program Files (x86)\Hotspot Shield\bin. Run hssfixme.exe file – it should fix your connection and launch the VPN automatically.

Restart your computer

If all else fails, the good-old computer reboot might just do the trick. Sometimes trying this option first saves you the most time unless the issue is recurring. In the case of the Hotspot Shield “Something went wrong” error, restarting might actually give the same result as the first option.

Reinstall Hotspot Shield

Reinstalling the VPN may also do the trick. Yes, it takes time, but it still might be faster than getting a response from support, especially if you’re a Free user. This would be a good time also to check if you don’t have other VPNs installed that might cause a conflict between services.

Disable your firewall and anti-virus

In some cases, Hotspot Shield cannot start because there’s a firewall on your computer or your router. Then you should create a rule that allows Hotspot Shield to pass through. The same goes for your anti-virus software – if it doesn’t have your VPN whitelisted, most likely, it will be blocked as a preventive security measure.

Switch to Safari (Mac)

For some Mac users, Google and Firefox browsers might be causing connectivity issues. Switching to Safari apparently helped to solve the issue, so if you’re a Mac user and everything else fails, try the default Apple browser and hope for the best.

Switch to another VPN

Hotspot Shield isn’t the only good VPN out there, and you might have a better experience with another provider. We recommend trying such premium services as NordVPN. This VPN offers a top-notch security toolkit, along with the best speeds in the industry and versatile functionality. The cherry on top is that it rarely runs into issues, especially on such simple things as connecting to a VPN server.

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These tips should be enough to solve the Hotspot Shield “Something went wrong” error.  If you still cannot connect, we suggest you contact customer support if you haven’t done so already. Alternatively, you can look for a solution on the web by posting your problem on Reddit or some other platform.

The issue persists? Maybe it’s time to subscribe to a VPN that doesn’t cause a hassle whenever you’re trying to simply use it. Our top VPN service is NordVPN. The apps are easy to use and rarely, if ever, stop working. Furthermore, you benefit from some of the best security measures in the industry.

Know alternative ways how to fix Hotspot Shield not working? Share your advice below!

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  1. avatar
    Karol Wojcik Author

    Good evening, morningglory!

    China is one of the few countries that blocks all VPNs that are not state-approved. That’s why it wouldn’t be strange for China to attack Hotspot Shield more actively. If using the latest version doesn’t help, I’d recommend contacting support.

    Good luck!

  2. morningglory

    I heard that Hotspot Shield was blocked in China and is now having some issues in terms of service. Is this true?

  3. nicaras4

    Great article but none of these are helping me. I think I should contact the support team for their expertise soon.

  4. criticscrosshairs

    Super useful article! I’ve been having this problem for ages, and usually restarting my computer does the trick. but it’s really good to know there are some other alternatives if that doesn’t work. I’ve been looking at other alternatives just because it’s gotten so bad! But hopefully this article will help me out.

  5. Ryan H

    Thanks for the guide, I’ve been having problems with Hotspot Shield lately and I wasn’t sure what was going wrong. I think I’ll change my VPN anyway and switch to NordVPN.

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