Hotspot Shield is one of the most popular VPN services in the world, with more than 650 million active users. In this article, we’ll give you advice on what to do when you find Hotspot Shield not working.

Being a user of a popular VPN is great because when something goes wrong, there will be plenty of others experiencing the same issue. The main reason why users turn to each other is that Hotspot Shield’s Free version lacks priority 24/7 live chat support, meaning that sometimes the only way to solve an issue right away is by looking for an answer on the web.

Recently there has been a surge in reports from users getting a “something went wrong” error when trying to use Hotspot Shield. In this article, we will try to help everyone solve this issue by stating the best ways to fix your VPN connection for Windows and Mac devices.

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)

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

The official solution from Hotspot Shield (Mac)

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

Restart your computer

If all else fails, the good-old computer reboot might just do the trick. In fact, 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

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

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 with 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)

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.

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. Also, feel free to drop us a comment below – who knows, maybe some of our readers had the same issue as yours?

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