TOR is a free and open source browser that allows users to browse the web and the dark web safely and anonymously. There is no other browser that comes even remotely when it comes to providing the level of privacy TOR offers. That is one of the reasons why it can be unsettling to find out that the TOR browser is not working on your computer.
Fix TOR browser not working
There are many other browsers that you can use, but they are not purpose built as TOR to route traffic through multiple servers. The closest you can get is VPNs, which we’ve covered in detail before at TechWiser, but TOR is still the king of privacy-focused browsers.
Let’s find out how we can fix TOR and get back to safe browsing real fast.
1. Common solutions
TOR has a short guide on troubleshooting TOR connection which we recommend that you check once before proceeding to other solutions. I’ll quickly list them here:
- Make sure your computer’s clock is set to the correct date and time.
- Only one instance of TOR can be running at a time, so check if TOR is already running. If you are not sure, restart the computer.
- Did the system wake up from hibernation or sleep mode? Restart the TOR browser or restart the computer.
2. Kill Firefox
In his heart, the TOR browser has Firefox DNA. If you don’t want to read the entire article, the short answer is that you may need 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, let us suggest a Firefox alternative that is just as good and privacy-focused, if not more so, than Firefox: the Brave browser. Also has Built-in TOR featurehowever, it works in a limited way. Add VPN to the mix with DuckDuckGo as your search engine and you’ve got a pretty solid system in place until you fix the TOR browser not working issue.
4. Blocked by ISP
ISPs collect data and monitor the traffic entering and leaving their system for various reasons. The TOR browser doesn’t allow that, leading to the possibility that your ISP has blocked the TOR browser entirely. Note that you can still use TOR, but you would need to connect to a VPN first, but that would further affect your browsing speed, which is already slow on TOR. A simple phone call to your ISP should answer this.
5. Run and disable Antivirus and Malwarebytes
Run Microsoft Defender or your favorite third-party antivirus application once to make sure it is not a virus that is causing connection problems with the TOR browser. We also recommend install and run Malwarebytes (the 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 applications may incorrectly mark the TOR browser, preventing it from opening or working properly. If that’s the case, you will need to whitelist TOR in the application management section.
The same goes for firewall settings, so disable it temporarily as well.
6. Restart Windows Explorer.
Press the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on the keyboard to open the Task Manager. Look for Windows Explorer under the Processes tab. Right-click Windows Explorer and select Restart.
Note that all open applications will be closed and you will need to restart them, so be sure to save all open and pending work beforehand.
This is an old hack that can help you fix a number of app crashes or not working issues, including TOR.
7. Install TOR on a different partition
Maybe the drive where you installed TOR has been corrupted and the application crashed. A quick and easy way to test this theory is to download a fresh copy of TOR and install it on a different drive.
8. Delete the Parent.lock file
Open TOR browser folder and go to Browser> Tor Browser> Data> Browser> profile.default and erase 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 your ISP sent you. There may be some error with the IP address, which is why the TOR browser is not working. Fortunately, it is easy to check the IP address assigned by TOR and change it on the fly.
Visit check.torproject.org to check the currently assigned IP address and click the magic wand icon in the top right corner of the address bar to get a new one assigned on the fly.
Visit the URL linked above to make sure a new IP address has been assigned correctly. Check again if TOR browser works for you or not.
10. Clean Reinstall
If nothing else seems to have worked, then you have no choice but to reinstall the TOR browser. Us I recommend using Revo Uninstaller for a clean uninstall process. It will also remove any leftover files and registry entries that can cause the same problem to rebound when you reinstall an app.
Download the latest version of TOR browser and install it again but on a separate drive and check if it works now. If you do, one of the files may have been corrupted.
Summary: Does TOR browser work now?
Hope TOR is working fine on your computer now. While there is nothing that can beat TOR at the moment, we believe that the team behind the Brave browser made a smart move by integrating TOR services. Not only does that instill confidence in users, but it also says a lot about the direction they’re moving in. It’s by no means comparable to the standalone TOR browser app, but still, it’s a solid option and a good alternative until you’ve figured things out.