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:
- Quit Chrome
- GO to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences” then click on “Date & Time”
- 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
- Relaunch Chrome and revisit the website in question, the error message should be gone
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:
- Exit the Chrome browser
- Right-click on the system clock in the Start bar, located in the bottom right corner of the screen
- 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)
- 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
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 athttp://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.
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.