Fix “Your Connection is Not Private” Error in Google Chrome

Mar 12, 2016 - 4 Comments

Fix your connection is not private error in Chrome

Having used a relatives computers recently I discovered their Google Chrome web browser was constantly throwing a “Your connection is not private” error message on many web pages, thereby preventing the page from loading unless they chose to ignore and reload the ‘not private’ page. The “not private” message can be a little disconcerting, so it’s no wonder it can alarm some users. Interestingly, this error was turning up both on their Mac OS X Chrome browser, as well as a separate Windows computer that was also using the Chrome web browser, and they were convinced they had been the victim of some elaborate hack.

Well, rest assured there was no hack. It turns out this is a remarkably simple error message to fix in Google Chrome, and so if you experience the “your connection not private” error message on any computer, you can quickly resolve it regardless of the error being encountered on a Mac or Windows PC.

Fixing “Your Connection is not private” Error in Chrome by Correcting the System Clock

The primary reason you may encounter this error message is due to the computer system clock being set incorrectly. This can happen by accident, by power loss, when a computer is turned off for an extended amount of time, by the onboard battery dying, by time travel (just kidding, maybe), or by simply erroneously setting the clock to the wrong time. This is so easy to fix that it really doesn’t matter how it happened, here’s how to do on Mac and Windows:

Fixing the Error in Chrome for Mac OS X by Correcting Clock Date:

  1. Quit Chrome
  2. GO to the  Apple menu and choose “System Preferences” then click on “Date & Time”
  3. Under the Date & Time tab, choose “Set date and time automatically” and be sure it is checked, configured to the appropriate time zone for your location
  4. Relaunch Chrome and revisit the website in question, the error message should be gone

Set the clock

If this keeps happening after a Mac has been turned off for a while or has rebooted, it may be because the onboard CMOS battery is dying or is dead, this can be particularly true with older Macs. The easiest solution would be to either take it to Apple for repair, or simply to be sure the Mac is connected to the internet regularly so it can pull the new accurate date and time from the remote server to set it correctly.

Fixing the Error in Chrome for Windows by Correcting the Clock:

  1. Exit the Chrome browser
  2. Right-click on the system clock in the Start bar, located in the bottom right corner of the screen
  3. Choose to change the date and time settings, then set the date to be accurate (or better yet, if the version of Windows supports it, set it to configure this automatically by syncing to a time server* so you don’t have to mess with it again)
  4. When the clock has been set to the proper date and time (todays date, this moment in time), relaunch Chrome and visit the web page(s) again, the error message should be gone

* Windows time server syncing can be enabled in Control Panel > Clock > Date and Time > Internet Time > and choosing “Synchronize with an Internet time server”, choosing Update Now, then clicking OK

Sync Internet Time Server in Windows

As mentioned, if the error message keeps coming back after the Windows PC has been rebooted or shut down, it’s almost certainly because the onboard battery is dead or dying. This can be replaced by a local tech, but another solution is to just be sure the Windows computer is connecting to the internet on boot where it can accurately set the time and date, and having that process complete before attempting to use the web.

RECOMMENDED: Update Chrome to the Latest Version

When possible, update the Google Chrome browser to the latest version available at http://chrome.com. This may not be possible with older hardware that is stuck on an older system software release or an older version of the browser, but new versions better explain this error message and make it a bit more obvious it’s a system clock issue, as the error message will often say “Your clock is behind” or “Your clock is ahead”, with a “Net::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID” blurb to go along with it. That’s pretty straight forward, but sometimes you’ll see the “”Your connection is not private” message or Net:ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID or Net:ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID instead, particularly on earlier versions of Chrome, or depending on how far in the past or future the clock is set.

Chrome

That’s all it took to troubleshoot the “connection not private” message on a household of computers (for those wondering, in this case it likely happened on both the Mac and Windows PC because they had both been turned off and unplugged for several months in storage), so if you encounter this message yourself, fix the date, update Chrome, and you’ll almost certainly be back browsing again, trouble free.

For what it’s worth, incorrect dates on a computer or device can cause all sorts of other havoc too, from being unable to install OS X due to verification errors, Mac App Store apps not launching, to bricking an iPhone with the 1970 date bug, thus, being sure the date is set correctly and accurately is often a vital troubleshooting solution for many various software issues, whether it’s on a Mac, Windows PC, or iPhone.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Troubleshooting

4 Comments

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  1. John Andrew Davis says:

    I get similar tech support requests from frantic relatives with the “”Aw, Snap!” error in Google Chrome, which for anyone who is tech savvy knows means the page crashed, but for the majority of ‘normals’ out there they have no idea what this stuff means and they think there is some serious problem, or a hack, or who knows what else.

    The tech industry needs to stop being cute and start being descriptive. The date and time error is one example of that improving, from some arcane error code to a minor hint at a clock issue, to a direct message about the system time being wrong. Now if Google can do the same with Aw Snap I think I would get 1/10th less phone calls from relatives.

    And let’s not pretend Apple doesn’t do the same kind of junk, the relentless iCloud and Apple ID pop-ups with no explanation, the endless iCloud errors, the endless storage unavailable error messages, the Apple experience is just as user hostile if not more so in some ways.

    How ironic is it that Microsoft is the most user friendly operating system experience in this day and age? Apple needs to step it up, as Google already has and is improving their messages, Apple is the one standing out like a sore thumb.

  2. I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, and these two corrections don’t correct this device. I need to know know how to make this correction for my tablet. Thanks for your help in advance, Frieda Arleyn Kocher @ “kocherfrieda@gmail.com”.

  3. Dean Elliott says:

    As a admin at a school district, I’ve also encountered this with Chromebook management. Also with ipads and macbooks using the iTunes store or system updates and it is usually a date and time issue. Easy fix.

  4. belmin says:

    nece mi internet pise mi private

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