Brave browser installing VPN services on Windows

I updated Brave browser on Windows, and just like other users I quickly saw a popup saying “Brave VPN Service installed” + found a new icon next to clock named “Brave VPN”. When looking into it a bit more I found two services (using services.msc from command prompt) that I did not see before:

Brave VPN Service
Brave VPN Wireguard Service

Both services had to be manually started (so they are not running by default), but just to be sure I set them to inactive. Perhaps this could/should be added to the guide for Brave browser?

I also have not really found any proper information on this myself on Brave (looked at latest release notes), however on Reddit there is a thread Reddit - Dive into anything and also on their community some kind of comments Brave has become Malware - Browser Feedback - Brave Community

If anyone has any info (link or so) from Brave team that would be appreciated - I’m now reconsidering if I should stay on Brave or move to some other browser.


Out of all the privacy tools I use, I feel like Brave is the most likely one to go down a path I will not be comfortable with. This is one example of that. Unfortunately, I do not think there exists a good chromium-based browser as an alternative. I am open to suggestions if anyone has any.


@Unperson, why do you require a chromium browser for desktop? These days a gecko-based browser like Firefox does everything chromium-based browsers do. Plus you have a lot of added customization on Firefox that you won’t get on Brave.


Not the person you quoted, but I’ll chime in to say that I use Firefox for 99% of my desktop browsing, but every now and again I encounter something that doesn’t play well with Gecko. Mostly local government websites and things like that. That’s when I reach for Brave.

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That would have to do with your configuration of the browser then. There shouldn’t be any breakage due to Gecko alone

I have Mullvad Browser for general browsing and since there are no cookie exceptions on Mullvad, I use Brave for websites where I need to stay logged in. Sometimes websites would not be compatible with the security level I have set on Mullvad. In that case, I find it easier to open that webpage on Brave instead of changing my security level and forgetting to set it back.

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Have you looked at Thorium, as a chromium alternative?

Alex also has a pretty decent Firefox fork.

I was looking at Thorium the other day, but if you look at their releases they’re consistently far behind. The current release is 117 from a week ago, despite 118 being released to stable 2 weeks ago and 117 being released to stable a month ago.

This is quite bad because it means it received the major WebP vulnerability fix nearly a month late for example.


That is another advantage of brave, they are quite fast

Cannot confirm this on my 3 Windows instances

The services are on my computer, but the Brave VPN has been there since I first installed the browser months ago. I’ve had it for quite a while now.

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This post was mentioned on this article.

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Looks like the ”dock icon” only appeared also on one of my Windows machines. However Brave VPN services I found on other Windows also.

I did not check if Brave VPN Windows services where installed before: I noticed the dock icon + found the reddit thread implying the Brave VPN Windows services are installed as part of recent update.

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Lol I can confrim that it sets its vpn service to autostart on windows. That’s a joke
As I posted some new steps for the brave browser and disabled the VPN, I thought it’s probably a bug that the browser crashes when VPN is disabled. But apparently they wanted it that way, so no one disables their VPN flag.

Looks like there is an official explanation about this: Reddit - Dive into anything

And even a bug opened: Windows should not install VPN services until VPN is purchased/enabled · Issue #33726 · brave/brave-browser · GitHub

Might be going back to Brave browser myself - but good to stay aware.


looks like brave is pushing its services too hard.

It’s no longer the case, now vpn services are not installed until purchase.