PIA_manager/PIA_tray_files missing/unreadable

Trying to get PIA set up on my laptop after doing so on my desktop but I continue to get topic error. Installed again to no avail. Can't find an uninstaller and am hesitant to just delete the folder then install to see if that works but I'll give it a try if there's not something else I could do. 


  • Thank you for contacting us. here are detailed instructions for un/reinstalling the application, and all services and files associated with it, via the process outlined below:

    1. Make sure the VPN software is not running:

      1. If you see our app running in your system tray, right-click on it, and choose Disconnect (Info: The system tray is the list of icons on the bottom right of your screen on the left of the clock. You may need to click on the little arrow to show more icons.)
      2. Right click on the PIA icon again, and click 'Exit'
    2. Delete the C:\Program Files\pia_manager folder.

      1. Press and hold the Windows key, followed by R on your keyboard. This will open the "Run" dialog window.
      2. Type in %PROGRAMFILES% and press OK or hit the Enter key on your keyboard.
      3. Right click the pia_manager folder
      4. Click Delete(Important: Do not touch any other folder in this directory. This could seriously damage your system.(
    3. Uninstall the TAP driver from the device manager

      1. Press and hold the Windows key, followed by R on your keyboard. This will open the "Run" dialog window.
      2. Type in devmgmt.msc and press OK or hit the Enter key on your keyboard. The device manager window should appear after a few seconds.
      3. Click on the > arrow next to the Network Adapters section.
      4. Right click on the adapter listed as TAP-Windows Adapter V9 #2
      5. Click Uninstall
      6. Check the box for Delete the driver software for this device
      7. Click OK
        Note: If there are any other "TAP" Adapters listed here please uninstall them in the same manner - Ex. TAP-Win32 Adapter .If you do not see any "TAP" Adapters listed here, look into the Other Devices or Unknown Devices sections in case any TAP adapters are there. If you cannot see any TAP adapter in any sections of this window, it is safe to assume you do not have the TAP adapter installed and you can safely continue to the next section.
    4. Power off the computer

      1. When the changes above are complete, power off your computer completely. DO NOT USE RESTART
      2. Wait at least 30 seconds, then power your computer back up.
    5. Reinstall the PIA VPN App from the following link: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/installer/download_installer_win

      1. Make sure to follow the instructions on the page.
  • The above currently isn't an option because some aspect of PIA seems to be running on my PC despite not being in my startup programs and not open in the system tray. The PIA_manager process continues to open in my task manager and cause the error to come up. Forcing end task does not allow me to delete the folder however, and it pops up again after a few moments. 
  • Posts: 1,018
    @studentcouncil You may need to find the correct process to exit it. PIA starts two pia_manager.exe processes, one that runs everything and one whose only job is to monitor the main process and restart it if it dies for any reason. It seems like you're trying to close the wrong one so I would suggest just finding the other one in task manager and killing that one instead.

    If that doesn't work, another option would be to reboot into safe mode (which will prevent the app and drivers from starting at all) to delete the folder and then reboot back into normal mode again to finish the job.
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