TOR is a free and open-source browser that allows users to browse the web and dark web safely and anonymously. There is no other browser that comes even remotely close when it comes to providing the level of privacy that TOR offers. That’s one reason why it can be unsettling when you find out that TOR browser is not working on your computer.
Fix TOR Browser Not Working
There are plenty of other browsers that you can use but they are not purpose-built like TOR to route traffic through multiple servers. The closest you can get is VPNs which we have covered in detail before at TechWiser, but TOR still remains the king of privacy-centric browsers.
Let’s find out how we can fix TOR and get back to safe browsing real quick.
1. Common Solutions
TOR has a short guide on troubleshooting TOR connection issues that we recommend you check out once before moving on with other solutions. I will quickly list them here:
- Make sure your computer’s clock is set to correct date and time.
- Only one instance of TOR can run at a time so check if TOR is already running. If unsure, reboot the computer.
- System woke up from hibernation or sleep mode? Relaunch TOR browser or reboot computer.
2. Kill Firefox
At its heart, the TOR browser has Firefox DNA. If you don’t want to read the full article, the short answer is that you may have to close Firefox before TOR can run on your computer. If you are a regular Firefox user, this is not good news.
3. Use Brave+VPN
Continuing from the last point, allow us to suggest an alternative to Firefox that’s equally good and privacy-focused, if not more, than Firefox – Brave browser. It also has TOR feature baked in, however, works in a limited fashion. Add VPN to the mix with DuckDuckGo as your search engine and you have a pretty solid system in place until you fix TOR browser not working issue.
4. Blocked by ISP
ISPs collect data and monitor traffic that moves in and out of your system for various reasons. TOR browser disallows that leading to the possibility that your ISP might have blocked TOR browser altogether. Note that you can still use TOR but would need to connect to a VPN first but that would further impact the browsing speed which is already slow in TOR. A simple phone call to your ISP should answer this.
5. Run and Disable Antivirus and Malwarebytes
Run Microsoft Defender or your favorite 3rd-party antivirus app once to make sure it’s not a virus that’s causing TOR browser connection issues. We also recommend installing and running Malwarebytes (free version is good enough) as viruses and malware are two separate things.
The other part of the solution is to disable antivirus and Malwarebytes on your computer temporarily before running TOR. Some antivirus apps may flag TOR browser wrongly, blocking it from opening or working correctly. If that’s the case, you will need to whitelist TOR in the app management section.
The same goes for firewall settings so disable that temporarily too.
6. Restart Windows Explorer
Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc keys on the keyboard to open the Task Manager. Find Windows Explorer under the Processes tab. Right-click on Windows Explorer and select Restart.
Note that all open apps would close and you will need to relaunch them, so make sure to save all open and pending work beforehand.
This is an old hack that can help fix a number of app crashing or not working issues including TOR.
7. Install TOR in Different Partition
Maybe the drive where you have installed TOR has gotten corrupt leading to app failure. A quick and simple way to test this theory is to download a fresh copy of TOR and install it on a different drive.
8. Delete Parent.lock File
Open the TOR browser folder and go to Browser > Tor Browser > Data > Browser > profile.default and delete parent.lock file here.
9. Issue New Identity
Every time you use TOR, it issues you a new IP address that is separate from the one that was issued to you by your ISP. It is possible that there is some error with the IP address which is why TOR browser is not working. Fortunately, it is easy to check IP address assigned by TOR and change it on the fly.
Visit check.torproject.org to check the currently assigned IP address and click on the magic wand icon in the top right corner of the address bar to get a new one assigned on the fly.
Visit the linked URL above to make sure a new IP address was successfully assigned. Check again if TOR browser is working for you or not.
10. Clean Reinstall
If nothing else seemed to have worked then you have no other option but to reinstall TOR browser. We recommend using Revo Uninstaller for a clean uninstallation process. It will also remove any leftover files and registry entries that may cause the same issue to bounce back when you reinstall an app.
Download the latest version of TOR browser and install it again but in a separate drive and check if it works now. If it does, one of the files may have gotten corrupt.
Wrap Up: Is TOR Browser Working Now
I hope TOR is working fine on your computer now. While there is nothing that can beat TOR at the moment, we feel the team behind Brave browser made a smart move by integrating TOR services. That not only instills confidence in users but also speaks volumes about the direction they are moving in. By no means it is comparable to the standalone TOR browser app, but still, a solid choice and a good alternative until you have figured things out.