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Understanding Advanced Settings on the Desktop PIA Client Part 1 - Knowledgebase / Technical / Application Settings and Features / Application & Features - PIA Support Portal

Understanding Advanced Settings on the Desktop PIA Client Part 1

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The most commonly adjusted setting for most users is the region they are connecting to. To access a complete list of the region selections available to you, click on the VPN SERVER widget, shown circled in the image below.   




Clicking on the VPN SERVER selection shown above will present you with a full list of servers, as shown below. You can minimize or expand countries with the arrow next to a country's name. The latency shown next to each region is an indicator of the efficiency of the pathway between your device and the server. By default, the application is set to ‘Choose Automatically’ which is the option visible at the top of the server list; this option will connect to the server with the lowest latency. The heart next to each server can be used to indicate the region as a favorite. This will add the option to the QUICK CONNECT menu. Clicking on the left-pointing arrow at the top left of this interface will return you to the settings interface.  





The IP widget will display your actual IP, and when connected, will also display the IP you are being masked with. If you are using the Port Forwarding feature, the forwarded port will also be shown here.  




Returning to the DEFAULT DISPLAY, there is an arrow at the bottom that will open the EXPANDED DISPLAY. This is what you will use to customize the DEFAULT DISPLAY as well as change advanced settings.  




Clicking on this will display the EXPANDED DISPLAY which will look similar to the image shown below. We will systematically go over everything shown, starting with how to customize the DEFAULT DISPLAY. There is a switch that can be toggled in the top right of each widget, below the VPN SERVER and IP widgets are marked as favored, while QUICK CONNECT, PERFORMANCE, USAGE, QUICK SETTINGS, SUBSCRIPTION, and SNOOZE are not. If a widget is marked as favored, it will also be shown in the DEFAULT DISPLAY.  



The PERFORMANCE widget will show your history of data that flows through the application. Every five seconds the display will update, showing how much was downloaded over the past five seconds. The numeric display at the bottom of the widget shows live download and upload traffic, as well as the duration of the connection. Please be aware, this is the traffic that has and is occurring, not a speed test.  




The USAGE widget shows the total amount you have downloaded and uploaded since establishing the connection.  





The SUBSCRIPTION widget will display the status of the subscription logged into the app.  





The VPN SNOOZE widget allows you to specify a planned pause of the VPN connection, temporarily stopping the connection and starting it again after the duration specified. More details about the VPN Snooze feature are available here. 



In this section of the guide, we will go over each of the options available in the SETTINGS widget. This will cover all the extra features available in the new  PIA Client application.  





Desktop Notifications  

In the image below, the Desktop Notifications option is turned on. Desktop Notifications will provide pop-up text boxes in the corner of your screen to notify you of any changes to your connectivity, such as an unexpected disconnection.  





In the image below the MACE, the feature is turned on. MACE is a DNS-based ad blocker that blocks known advertising and malware domains. As it operates at the DNS level, it can only block entire domains and as such won't block ads that are served from the same domain as legitimate websites. Inversely, it can also in some situations end up blocking an entire website because it tried blocking an ad. A famous case of this is which is used by the sponsored links in Google searches. As a result, some users complain about not being able to access Google results.  More details about MACE are available here. 



Part 2