Gnome Network Manager VPN Tab Disabled ( Greyed out )

I‘ve the NetworkManager service is installed and started under Linux desktop. The applet is running. The NetworkManager can display available network hardware and wireless networks. But, I’m unable to add VPN support as the Add tab is greyed out. I need to use both PPTP and Cisco vpn clients. How do I fix this problem under Debian or Ubuntu Linux?

The Gnome NetworkManager has pluggable support for VPN software, including Cisco compatible VPNs (using vpnc), openvpn, and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). You need to simply install the NetworkManager VPN plugin and configure the user’s machines with the VPN’s settings. The first time they connect, the user will be asked for their passwords.

Fig.01: Gnome Network Manager Cisco PPTP VPN Connections

The Add tab is greyed out when required plugins are not installed for Gnome NetworkManager. The following plugins should be installed under Debian / Ubuntu Linux:


  1. network-manager-openvpn and network-manager-openvpn-gnome – network management framework OpenVPN plugin GNOME GUI
  2. network-manager-pptp and network-manager-pptp-gnome – network management framework PPTP plugin GNOME GUI
  3. network-manager-strongswan – network management framework strongSwan ipsec vpn plugin
  4. network-manager-vpnc and network-manager-vpnc-gnome – network management framework (VPNC plugin GNOME GUI)

To install all of the above plugins use the apt-get command as follows:
$ sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-vpnc
The following plugins should be installed under RHEL / Fedora / CentOS / Scientific Linux / Red Hat Enterprise Linux desktop systems:

  1. NetworkManager-openvpn : NetworkManager VPN plugin for OpenVPN
  2. NetworkManager-pptp : NetworkManager VPN plugin for pptp
  3. NetworkManager-vpnc : NetworkManager VPN plugin for vpnc

To install all of the above plugins use the yum command as follows:
# yum install NetworkManager-vpnc NetworkManager-pptp NetworkManager-openvpn
Now, you can add vpn connection to your system using NetworkManager itself. You may need to restart the NetworkManager as follows:
# /etc/init.d/network-manager restart

Fig.02: Linux Gnome Desktop Cisco PPTP VPN Client Support Added

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23 comments… add one
  • Al. Jun 9, 2011 @ 8:52

    The full command line for Debian / Ubuntu should actually be:

    $ sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-pptp-gnome network-manager-vpnc

    The Gnome PPTP GUI plugin was missing ;-)

    • Mike E Dec 28, 2011 @ 16:31

      Thanks Al

    • mH~ Apr 7, 2014 @ 17:16


  • Marcio Sep 16, 2011 @ 15:22

    Tks man.

    It works fine on debian squeeze.

  • satyam Oct 7, 2011 @ 8:20

    i have followed your steps for centos6 but the button is still inactive.

  • Seba Nov 28, 2011 @ 8:02

    sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-pptp-gnome network-manager-vpnc-gnome

    The Gnome VPNC GUI plugin was missing to :)

  • Gerardo Jan 20, 2012 @ 7:31

    Thank you very much works great!. How did you find out that it needed some extra packages?

  • guang Mar 16, 2012 @ 10:31

    Thanks, this is really helpful.

    I found NetworkManager-openvpn package from EPEL repository:

  • HD Oct 29, 2012 @ 14:33

    Hello, thanks fot howto, but I followed all steps and the “Apply” button is styl grey :( using fresh install Ubuntu 12.10

  • Christoforo Nov 9, 2012 @ 8:36

    On Debian 7 (wheezy) don’t work.

    • Morteza Jan 25, 2013 @ 15:53

      I tested openvpn + pptp , that works correctly!

  • Upload Mar 16, 2013 @ 18:24

    On Debian 7 (wheezy) you must install: sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn-gnome

    • data888 Dec 1, 2013 @ 16:04

      Thanks – worked for me – Wheezy!

  • Seth May 19, 2013 @ 10:14

    I’ve installed ever package on this site, including sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn-gnome and I still can’t get my VPN to turn on in Debian Wheezy. I can set everything up. But it won’t click on.

  • Tristen Jun 16, 2013 @ 1:47

    I’m having the same issue on Debian 7 (wheezy). vpnc works fine via the command line. I’m presuming the issue to be network-manager-vpnc.

  • dox3r Jun 23, 2013 @ 14:42

    Ive done all the installs on this page… nothing seems to work. any other ideals?

  • dox3r Jun 23, 2013 @ 14:44

    my issue is the grayed-out “add” under the VPN tab.

  • uhi Jul 18, 2013 @ 2:52

    same problem with wheezy .. a bug?

    • uhi Jul 18, 2013 @ 2:56

      Aactually with
      $ sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-pptp-gnome network-manager-vpnc

      it worked on wheezy after a restart:
      $ /etc/init.d/network-manager restart

  • Fábio Sep 16, 2013 @ 22:00

    I got working on wheezy after a restart too!

    aptitude install network-manager-openvpn network-manager-pptp network-manager-pptp-gnome network-manager-vpnc-gnome


    /etc/init.d/network-manager restart

  • Stephen Oct 20, 2013 @ 22:39

    My sysadmin told me not to use the Network Manager, as it creates more troubles than it solves. If I wanted to connect to a VPN, I would try to find how to use the underlying tools.

    • Galip Ermis Jan 16, 2014 @ 4:04

      NetworkManager will rewrite all network-configuration files if you will enable it.

      If your using OpenVPN for access, then you could ask your sysadmin to supply a config-file, like a *.ovpn file. Thus you can setup your VPN via command-line.
      Like for example: # sudo openvpn –config client.ovp.

      You can also download and install a third-party tool.

  • Wellington Torrejais da Silva Jul 3, 2014 @ 15:48


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