If you’re planning to completely delete all the files associated with your current VPN in order to upgrade to a superior one, this is the article for you.

A newly-installed VPN stores files in different locations on your PC and, in Windows PCs, it makes registry changes. In many cases, it also leaves your login details stored somewhere on the machine to be retrieved in the event that you later reinstall the VPN.

It has also been reported that some of the files left by a previous VPN after uninstallation may conflict with another VPN that is later installed. For instance, the new VPN may fail to connect as a result of conflicting TAP drivers. These are kernel devices that the virtual network uses to build a network bridge. To prevent such problems, it is important to completely delete all the files associated with the previous VPN whenever you install a new one.

Our VPN Base experts test numerous VPNs on a regular basis, so we’re familiar with these problems. In some cases, they’ve had to uninstall and reinstall a VPN to get it to work, only to later realize that they still had parts of the previous VPN hiding in the machine.

In addition to that, oftentimes newcomers test various VPN services by taking advantage of money-back guarantees and free trials. Beginners who don’t know that installing multiple VPNs on one machine can be problematic end up running into the inevitable issues of conflicting programs.

In this article, we offer a guide on how to completely remove a VPN from your device in order to allow a new VPN to work unhindered.

Completely removing a VPN from your device

Deleting a VPN from your PC shouldn’t be hard. After all, there is dedicated software for uninstalling applications specifically on Windows and Mac. These programs not only uninstall a program but also search for and delete all associated files. Therefore, they are far more effective than the native uninstaller, and are easy to use.

Uninstalling and deleting a VPN from Windows

If you’re using a Windows PC, our experts recommend using Revo Uninstaller. The free version of the software can do the job just fine. Compared to the native “Windows Add or Remove Programs” feature, the Revo Uninstaller is more effective and efficient. After the standard uninstall is complete, the free version of the uninstaller searches for remaining folders, files and registry entries. This is done with the aid of eight distinct cleaning tools (referred to as the ‘Hunter mode’). The paid version of the uninstaller offers more features, but if you’re only interested in uninstallation, the free version will do.

It’s easy to use the free version. Launch the Revo Uninstaller, choose the VPN you want to uninstall and click “Uninstall.” Once uninstallation is complete, it will prompt you to scan for leftover files. Agree and the uninstaller identifies any remaining files that require deleting. Complete the VPN removal by agreeing to delete the files identified by the scanning process.

Fully deleting a VPN from Windows manually

To remove a manually installed VPN, you also need to uninstall it manually. However, even if it was installed automatically, it might still be a good idea to uninstall it manually just to make sure that all the old connections remaining in your machine are removed. The steps are as follows:

  1. Go to “Network and Sharing Center”
  2. In the left pane, click “Change adapter settings”
  3. At this point, you’ll see the VPN connection and adapters. Right-click on the VPN you want to remove and choose “Delete”

Deleting old TAP drivers from your Windows PC

TAP drivers are among the reasons why installing more than one VPN on your Windows machine can cause problems. These drivers enable your VPN to work on Windows. But when multiple VPNs are installed on your machine, the TAP drivers from one VPN clash with another. As a result, a connection cannot be made.

Among all the reasons for VPN software conflicts, this one is the most common. Even after deleting your previous VPN, removing TAP drivers might still be necessary. When you use software such as the Revo Uninstaller to uninstall a VPN, the TAP drivers are also removed.

To remove the TAP drivers on your Windows machine after uninstalling a VPN, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Control Panel > System and Security > System > Device Manager
  2. Scroll to Network Adapters
  3. Right-click TAP drivers and select “Uninstall”
  4. Restart the computer
  5. Install the new VPN. The right TAP drivers will be installed

Mac OS X

If you’re a Mac OS X user, we recommend two software: AppCleaner, which is free, and CleanApp for Mac, which costs $14.99 but does an excellent job. Just like Revo Uninstaller, both of these apps are easy to understand and use. To uninstall a VPN, you only need to follow the outlined instructions. CleanApp is particularly effective because it scans for legacy files and deletes them.

The next step after deleting a VPN from your Mac is manually deleting all VPN connections. The steps are as follows:

  1. Navigate to “System preferences”
  2. Click “Profiles”
  3. Click the minus sign beside the VPN you want to remove
  4. Enter your admin password
  5. The VPN servers you currently use will then be deleted from your networks

It is important to remember that unlike the case with Windows, Mac OS X doesn’t require you to reinstall TAP drivers for the VPN to function as it should. So if this is a concern for you, you need not worry, especially not about removing old TAP drivers from a Windows computer.

Linux

If you use a packet manager (e.g. the Debian package management system in Ubuntu) to install a VPN on your Linux computer, then you need the same packet manager to completely remove the VPN. In most cases, this will be all that is needed to completely remove the previous VPN from your machine.

It is important to remember that uninstalling a Linux VPN using APT “remove” is not enough. In addition to the installed VPN packages, you also need to get rid of configuration files. To remove the configuration files, use the “purge” function, which is quite effective. Keep in mind that a “purge” may not remove files in the user’s home folder.

If you’re interested in applications for removing a VPN on Linux, two good ones include GCleaner and Stacer. Stacer ensures that you can use a single exercise to free up space. Additionally, it ensures that your performance will not be awkward, and that it will filter and manage daemons and services.

Android

You can delete a VPN from android the usual way to remove it from the device. But you also need to make sure that all the connection are removed from the device by doing the following.

  1. Go to “Settings”.
  2. Find “Connections” then “More connection settings”.
  3. Click “VPN” and go to “Set and manage Virtual Private Networks”.
  4. Long press the VPN you want to delete and click on “Delete Network”
  5. When all networks have been deleted, it should say “No VPNs”

iOS

You should delete the app on the phone as well as the individual connections as follows:

  1. Go to “Settings”.
  2. Tap “General”.
  3. Tap “Profile”.
  4. Tap the VPN profile you wish to delete.
  5. Tap “Delete Profile” and confirm by tapping “Delete” again.
  6. You have successfully deleted the VPN and all the associated files.

Data security and recovery of the hard disk

It is important to exercise caution when deleting or uninstalling a VPN from your computer or hard drive because your login credentials may still be recoverable before throwing it away or selling it.

This might pose a potential threat from cyber criminals who may recover these credentials and use your subscription to do crimes. Although this might seem highly unlikely, it opens you up to the danger of being suspected of crimes that other people committed.

It is therefore advisable to use any of the uninstallers recommended in this article in order to give your computer a clean slate and prevent someone else from recovering your data and the VPN.