Providing system information to our support team

If you recently contacted our support team about a technical issue or question, chances are that you have been asked several questions about your computer to which you may not know the answer. This article will guide you through all of the questions and how to easily find the answer.

Please note that if you still don't know the answer to a question, you can simply try to answer as best as you can or simply tell us that you don't know. It will be our pleasure to work it out with you as needed!

What operating system are you using?

Your operating system, also known as "OS", is the main software that your computer uses to run all of your other software. We need this information in order to give you instructions that matches what you see on your screen - and sometimes, install the correct software! Use the following bullet-point list to identify which one you are using:

  • If you are using a PC, whether it is a desktop or laptop computer, you are very likely running Microsoft Windows. In order to know which version you are using, you can press the Windows and Pause/Break keys on your keyboard at the same time. A window should open with the version information displayed there. If you are still unsure about which version of Windows you are running, you can use this list (Wikipedia) to visually identify which one you are using.
  • If you are using an Apple computer such as an iMac or MacBook, you are most certainly using Mac OS X (or newly known as macOS).

Are you connecting to the VPN using our VPN software, or did you use different set-up instructions?

If you simply downloaded and installed the software from your welcome E-Mail or see one of the screens below, you are using our VPN software.

If you are using our VPN software, can you confirm which version you're using?

In order to verify which exact version you are using, please follow the following instructions:

  1. Disconnect from the VPN
    1. Locate the PIA application icon in the tray area:
      • Windows: the icon is located in the bottom right corner of the screen. You may need to click on a upwards arrow to access it if you have multiple icons.
      • Mac OS X/macOS: the icon will be located in the top bar on the right.
      • Linux: depending on your desktop environment, it will be in a location similar to either the Windows or Mac version. On Gnome, it may also be in a tray in the bottom left corner.
    2. Click on the icon to open the menu
    3. Select Disconnect.
  2. Open the advanced settings window
    1. Click on the tray icon
    2. Select Settings. The PIA application window will open
    3. Click on the Advanced button.
  3. The version number should be displayed in the bottom left corner of the window:

Do you have any firewall or anti-virus software enabled on your system?

If you are unsure about this, you are probably using the default anti-virus or firewall provided by your operating system. These are popular anti-virus brands; if you have any of these on your computer, the answer to this question is yes! Make sure to let us know which one you have, and if you possible, which version of it.

  • Norton
  • Avast!
  • AVG
  • Bitdefender
  • Kaspersky
  • NOD32
  • Malwarebytes*
  • Windows Defender
  • ... and many more

* Malwarebytes is more of an anti-malware than an anti-virus, but for our support purposes this difference doesn't matter.

Are you connecting via Ethernet or WiFi?

Are you connecting via a wire, or through a wireless connection? If you are using a desktop, you are probably using an Ethernet connection. If you are using a laptop, you are probably using a WiFi connection. An Ethernet cable looks like a standard phone cable, but with a larger plug at the end and the wires are typically blue.

In order to avoid sending you back instructions you have already tried, which troubleshooting steps have you tried so far?

For this question, simply explain what you have already tried. For example: I tried restarting my computer, but I still cannot connect to the VPN. If you haven't tried anything or don't know, simply say that you don't know!

Please describe in as much detail as possible what you see.

Describe what you see: what you do, what happens when you do it, and what you'd expect to see instead.

For example, if you see this screen:

You would say something in the lines of "When I try to go to a website using Google Chrome, I see a "This website can't be reached" error message with a "ERR_QUIC_PROTOCOL_ERROR" code at the bottom. When this happens, the PIA icon is grey".


Have more questions? Submit a request