Resuscitating iPass when the client service fails to load

I’m on the train this morning, and Virgin Trains Wi-Fi works with the iPass service that my company uses for roaming Wi-Fi connectivity.  Unfortunately, iPass didn’t want to play this morning – but I found a fix…

The error message displayed said something like “An important service (client service) failed to load. Please contact your administrator”.  So I opened the Services console (services.msc), sorted by startup type and looked for Automatic services that were not showing as “Started”. Sure enough, one of these was iPlatformService (described as the iPass iPlatform Service and components”).

With the iPlatformService started, I could successfully connect to the on-train Wi-Fi. I still can’t get a VPN connection but that’s not related to iPass.  So it looks like I’ll have to drive to the office to empty my Outbox (and please don’t get me started on how Outlook Anywhere has been available since 2003 and using a VPN for email is outdated…).

Fixing iPass and Virgin Trains Wi-Fi authentication issues

Connected to Virgin Trains Wi-Fi using iPassAlthough I travel on Virgin Trains pretty frequently, it’s usually only from Milton Keynes to London Euston and not worth getting my laptop out of my bag. Now, I’m finding myself travelling to Manchester more often and working on the train is a major advantage over driving.

Virgin has Wi-Fi on its trains, which is complementary in first class but chargable (at the usual extortionate rates) for those of us in the cheap seats. The company I work for provides me with an iPass client though, so I can use that to connect without hefty credit card fees and expense claims (at least on Windows I can, it wasn’t working for me on iOS last time I tried).

Lately though, I’ve found that the iPass client would connect to the VirginTrainsWiFi network and then present a pop-up asking me to pay for access.  That didn’t seem right, so I logged a call with our IT helpdesk… I’ll spare readers the details of that particular experience but I also spoke to Virgin’s Wi-Fi support team, who suggested I download an updated “phonebook” for the iPass client.  The client version that I’m using (2.3, I think) doesn’t have an option for a phonebook download but, with the help of some of the guys in our IT department, I found that the phonebook can get corrupted sometimes and the resolution is to remove and re-install the iPass client.

We don’t have a huge sample but I’m now told my fix (I’m connected on iPass, on the train right now) makes it a 100% success rate from 3 people with the problem.  Maybe it will help someone else out there on the ‘net too…