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Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

nibert
Tutor

Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

I purchased this router (AC1900) R7000 Nighthawk. I installed it last night, it is running through the DSL router from the internet company here in Bahrain. When I download the latest firmware for the router from expressvpn it says it is not compatible and gives me error -2. I spoke with someone last night who was not helpful at expressvpn. \The only reason I bought this router was for express vpn. I recently updated to the newest version of the firmware. I haven't tried to roll back to an older version to see what is going on but this is super frustrating.

Model: R7000|AC1900 Smart WIFI Router
Message 1 of 43

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

What firmware version do you have on the R7000 device?

 

A number is more useful than "the latest" or "newest". (It may not be by the time people read this.) There can also be newer versions, or "hot fixes", that do not show up if you check for new firmware in the browser interface.

 


@nibert wrote:

it is running through the DSL router from the internet company here in Bahrain.

 


What is this device? It should be a modem, not a router. If it is a combined modem/router that complicates things.

 

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V
Message 2 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

The version that came installed was V1.0.9.42_10.2.44 and then it upgraded it to 1.0.9.60.

 

The device it is connected to is a Huawei DSL modem with built in wifi etc echolife HG8245Q. I haven't disabled the wifi or anything on it yet but I am not sure why the router is giving me the following error message: The firmware is not compatiable with your router. Error code -2.

 

I have tried to use the expressvpn-netgear-r7000-v1.3.1.chk and expressvpn-netgear-r7000-v1.3.6.chk and they both give the error message on both of the listed netgear firmware's as well. I have rebooted the router and the pc.

 

 

Message 3 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

I just tried to upload it R7000-V1.0.9.12_1.2.23 and it was downloaded from netgear and is giving me the same error. Def something going on with this thing.

 

Message 4 of 43

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade


@nibert wrote:

Def something going on with this thing.

 


It looks like you have a modem/router. This can cause issues.

 

Two routers on your network can cause headaches. For example, you can end up with competing DHCP servers and local address conflicts. Among other things, this can mean that trying to get at addresses like routerlogin.net or the usual IP address for a router, 192.168.1.1, gets misdirected by the other router.

Unless you have specific reasons for using two routers – to create two separate networks for example – it is often easier to use just one router and then to set up the second router as a wifi access point. Netgear advises this, as does just about every site you will visit.

Sometimes it is possible to put the modem/router into modem only (bridge) mode and then to use the second device as the router. But some Internet service providers, such as BT in the UK, supply customers with a modem/router that just won't work in bridge mode. There may be ways to get the device to cooperate, but sometimes it is just easier to put the second router in AP mode. But that has its own drawbacks:

Disabled Features on the Router when set to AP Mode | Answer | NETGEAR Support

 

I have no idea if this will affect your VPN problem, but I doubt if it is likely to help. I would sort this out.

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V
Message 5 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

Right now my concern is not only that it will not take the expressvpn firmware but it will not take older versions from netgear either. I just did a factory reset and set this up as an access point.

Message 6 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

Ok so I have it set up as an access point only. It does not take any of the older versions of the netgear firmware and does not take either version of the expressvpn firmware. I get the same error

 

The firmware is not compatiable with your router. Error code -2.
 
Message 7 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

I am in Bahrain and deployed here. I am connected to that router because it is how I get the internet. I need to increase my privacy and have paid for expressvpn through September of htis year. I can disable the wifi on the router etc and run this as an access point (still doesnt work). I have my region as US but I am in Bahrain. I am just running out of ideas before I return this thing. I am a competent individual in this realm and I cannot figure out why it will not go backwards on the firmware. Multiple threads say it is possible.

 

Message 8 of 43

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade


@nibert wrote:

Ok so I have it set up as an access point only.

 

This removes a lot of the features on your router, including VPN support.

 

Disabled Features on the Router when set to AP Mode | Answer | NETGEAR Support

 


I can disable the wifi on the router etc and run this as an access point (still doesnt work).

 

Disabling the wifi on the R7000 does not turn it into an access point. It just disables the wifi. You will still be left with router-to-router clashes.

 

You might do better to work out how to put the modem/router into bridge (modem only) mode. Or see how to get the modem/router to handle the VPN.

 



 
The firmware is not compatiable with your router. Error code -2.
 

 

I have  no idea what you are doing that would throw up that error.

 

 

 

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V
Message 9 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

That error is just trying to downgrade the firmware or upload the express vpn firmware

Message 10 of 43
antinode
Guru

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

> [...] When I download the latest firmware for the router from
> expressvpn it says it is not compatible and gives me error -2. [...]

   What, exactly, did you download from ExpressVPN, and what, exactly,
did you do with it?

> [...]  I recently updated to the newest version of the firmware. [...]

   Whose "the firmware", Netgear's or ExpressVPN's?  As always, an
actual version number would be more useful than your opinion of what's
"the newest" today.

> The version that came installed was V1.0.9.42_10.2.44 and then it
> upgraded it to 1.0.9.60.

   Based on complaints in these forums, I'd probably go back to
V1.0.9.42, but are you saying that you have successfully loaded an R7000
Netgear firmware image into the router?  And now you can't do that?  I'm
confused.

> The device it is connected to is a Huawei DSL modem with built in wifi
> etc echolife HG8245Q. [...]

   DSL?  I don't know how well ExpressVPN will work with a second
router between it and your ISP.

> [...] I am not sure why the router is giving me the following error
> message: The firmware is not compatiable with your router. Error code
> -2.

   Which "the router" is this, the HG8245Q or the R7000?  When doing a
firmware update, I'd disconnect the R7000 from everything except (power
and) the computer where the firmware kit resides.


> [...] Two routers on your network can cause headaches. [...]

   True.

> [...] For example, you can end up with competing DHCP servers and
> local address conflicts. [...]

   "competing"?  "conflicts"?  Not really.


   At this point, trying to switch the R7000 into an AP mode seems more
likely to cause problems than to help anything.


> Right now my concern is not only that it will not take the expressvpn
> firmware but it will not take older versions from netgear either.
> [...]

   That's what I'd worry about.

> [...] I just did a factory reset and set this up as an access point.

   I'd reset it again, and leave it as a router, at least for now.  I
know nothing about the ExpressVPN firmware, but I doubt that it would
make any sense for a wireless access point.

> [...] I get the same error
> The firmware is not compatiable with your router. Error code -2.

   What, exactly, are you doing to get this error?

   Do you really have an R7000?  Not an R7000P, or some other model?
What does the router's web-browser interface say that its current
firmware version is?

   If you really do have an R7000, and its firmware has become corrupt,
and you can't use its normal firmware-update procedure, then you may be
able to use the TFTP recovery scheme to load almost anything into it,
but I'd make very sure that you have the proper file to load before
trying that.

      https://community.netgear.com/t5/x/x/m-p/1622096

Message 11 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

Latest Update:

 

I spoke with chat on netgear...made no progress....they had not ever seen this error before. I tried it from my other laptop. I disabled wifi on the other router so it is just hardwired in to the nighthawk. I did a factory reset and ran it as a router. I tried to downgrade and it failed. I tried to install the expressvpn chk file and it failed. It will allow for me to upgrade the firmware. I am going to try that and then try express vpn and then downgrade as well....then I may try the manual update. The files I have from netgear are from netgear's site.

 

Message 12 of 43
IrvSp
Master

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

Interesting, I Googled the error, "netgear "firmware is not compatible with your router. Error code -2"" and the only hit is this thread? Odd it hasn't been seen by anyone else.

 

Also saw this thread on another site, https://www.myopenrouter.com/forum/firmware-not-compatible-your-router-error, It listed Error code -1, but reading further (and it is for an R8000 and fairly recent) it gets into some discussions of where the R8000 was produced and different label information as well as made in China or Viet Nam. I do know some Netgear routers have different 'model' Power supplies for the router model, and I've alway thought that was the reason for differences in the model label. Of more interest is the 'comment' that newer f/w restricts loading in backlevel FW? It starts at Thu, 08/09/2018 - 7:26pm, but next reply says the Board ID got corrupted and that is why, followed some posts on how to fix that. Not sure what is going on or even IF it relates to this problem, but that one is still active and not solved.

 

Did you get the .42 firmware from this page, https://kb.netgear.com/000060253/R7000-Firmware-Version-1-0-9-42? Wondering if there is a CHKSUM error? I'd get it again from this link and compare the .CHK files I guess to make sure?

Message 13 of 43
IrvSp
Master

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

By the way, here is another program that might help install the f/w.

 

https://github.com/jclehner/nmrpflash

 

I have never used it, but some users here have and it worked.

Message 14 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

Yeah, I am fairly concerned that whatever version of the R7000 I have just doesnt work with this or any version older than the .34 as that is all I could get installed on it. I am hardwired in to the netgear router and it isn't working. At this point I am looking at using a site that has it preinstalled or getting a linksys or something. This is super frustrating, I read through all hte install instructions and this was super easy so that is why I chose this one.

Message 15 of 43

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade


@nibert wrote:

Latest Update:

 

I spoke with chat on netgear...made no progress....

 


I am not surprised, if you told then what you have said here.  Too many unanswered questions, too many confusing messages.

 

Is there any reason why you don't want to tackle the "dual router" issue? Is the Huawei  locked down by the ISP so that you cannot change the mode?

 

You may have to find a Huawei expert to tell you how to get around this obstacle,

 

Did your research find this?

 

How to Set Up VPN on Huawei Router with L2TP | ExpressVPN

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V
Message 16 of 43
nibert
Tutor

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

What do you mean to many unanswered questions? I have put every detail I have went through on here. I put the Huawei model as well. The property managers here in Bahrain own the account and all the details. I can log in to the router and I disabled wifi but other than that I dont know what else to do to make it work. THe netgear router doesn't take the expressvpn firmware which is hte only reason I bought it. As I investigated it doesn't take any downgraded versions of the netgear firmware downloaded from netgears site prior to the 1.0.9.34 no matter what I do.

Message 17 of 43
antinode
Guru

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

> What do you mean to many unanswered questions? I have put every detail
> I have went through on here. [...]

   Not really.  A few examples:

> [...] The files I have from netgear are from netgear's site. [...]

   Do these files have names?  I can get very many different files "from
netgear's site."

> [...] I tried to downgrade and it failed. [...]

   As usual, showing actual actions with their actual results (error
messages, LED indicators, ...) can be more helpful than vague
descriptions or interpretations.  "tried" or "it failed" is not a useful
description of anything.

> [...] no matter what I do.

   That non-description conveys no useful information about what you
_did_ do, or what happened when you did it.

   Also, I doubt that everyone here understands that ExpressVPN supplies
replacement firmware for the R7000:

      https://www.expressvpn.com/support/vpn-setup/app-for-routers-netgear/

   I've lost track of which firmware you have on your R7000, and which

firmware you're trying to load onto the R7000.

>    Do you really have an R7000?  Not an R7000P, or some other model?
> What does the router's web-browser interface say that its current
> firmware version is?

   Still wondering.

   You claim to get some error message which no one else admits to
having seen, but with few details about how you got to it.

   You seem to have two problems.  First, loading new/different firmware
onto the R7000; and second, using a modified R7000 with ExpressVPN
firmware behind a Huawei HG8245Q (fiber?) gateway.

      https://support.huawei.com/enterprise/en/access-network/echolife-hg8245q-pid-20981216


   According to the (annoying) ExpressVPN movie, the second part should
be easy, once you get the ExpressVPN firmware installed onto the R7000.

Message 18 of 43
big_river
Aspirant

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

antinode - seems like you're trolling nibert a bit. It was pretty clear what he was asking. 

 

nibert - I have the EXACT same problem. I've been chatting with ExpressVPN because I assumed they had deprecated firmware. After a couple of rounds with tech support they suggested replacing the router. So I swapped with another brand-new router and ended up with the exact same problem. Always error -2, able to downgrade Netgear firmware only up to a certain point, etc., etc. ExpressVPN next suggested uploading DD-WRT firmware. Same error. At this point I'm thinking it is time to try the "recovery scheme" approach. 

Message 19 of 43
antinode
Guru

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

> antinode - seems like you're trolling nibert a bit. It was pretty
> clear what he was asking.

   If it was clear to you, then you have my permission to jump right in
with your solution.  I'm simply unwilling to make many assumptions about
what was done, and what happened when it was.

Message 20 of 43

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade


@big_river wrote:

antinode - seems like you're trolling nibert a bit. It was pretty clear what he was asking. 

 

It was clear to you only because you have the same problem. The rest of us are shooting in the dark with incomplete information that the user seems reluctant to disclose.

 

Can you help on the modem front? I assume that your router sits behind a regular modem rather than a modem/router, something that @nibert glosses over.

 

Perhaps you can guide @nibert on that issue.

 

By the way, calling Netgear support for advice on ExpressVPN is a bit pointless. Netgear makes no claim to support alternative firmware, with the exception of its work with DumaOS on gaming routers. In that case, there are people from DumaOS who hang out in the relevant bit of the community. It would be good if ExpressVPN was similarly active.

 

If no one has tried it yet,. this might be helpful:

 

Search - NETGEAR Communities ExpressVPN

 

There are several Solved flags in there.

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V
Message 21 of 43
jkmonk
Initiate

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

I have not read through all of the messages, so I may be giving you something you have already tried.  

 

Connect the R7000 directly to your computer with an ethernet cable.  Do not go through the modem.  I just installed the ExpressVPN firmware on my R7000 and had no problem.  If you have any problems doing it this way, you may have to resort to using some other tools and procedures to get the firmware loaded.  I installed DD-WRT on the R7000 and found out it was too difficult to bypass VPN for selected devices.  I had a devil of time getting rid of DD-WRT so I know how to get into the guts of the router to clean it up.  

Model: R7000|Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Router
Message 22 of 43
strap
Initiate

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

I'm having the same problem. I just bought an R7000 for the purpose of loading the ExpressVPN firmware. First thing I did was update the Netgear firmware to V1.0.9.60_10.2.60. Then I tried to upload the ExpressVPN firmware (expressvpn-netgear-r7000-v1.3.6.chk), but it errors off with the message:

 

"The firmware is not compatiable with your router. Error code -1."

 

(That's an actual copy/paste, with "compatiable" misspelled, and I'm getting an error code -1 instead of a -2.)

 

Don't know what to do now...

Message 23 of 43

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade


@strap wrote:

Don't know what to do now...

 


Have you asked ExpressVPN if its firmware will load on top of an earlier version of the Netgear firmware?

 

The issue is really down to ExpressVPN to fix. Netgear makes no claims to support it that I can find.

 

That seems to be the official Netgear line:

 

Solved: Re: nighthawk r7000 router? - NETGEAR Communities

Just another user.

My network DM200 -> R7800 -> GS316 -> PL1000 -> Orbi RBR40 -> Orbi RBS50Y -> RBS40V
Message 24 of 43
strap
Initiate

Re: Nighthawk R7000 ExpressVPN Firmware Upgrade

Yeah, I realize it's not really Netgear's problem since ExpressVPN is a third-party product...unless there's something Netgear did in a recent firmware update accidentally (or on purpose) which is preventing ExpressVPN from loading. I doubt that's the case though. I was really just adding my voice to the two or three others in this thread that have run into a similar problem. If we're the only ones in the whole world that are having the problem, then maybe we're doing something wrong. But if more and more cases start popping up, maybe there's an issue with the firmware upgrade...or something.

Message 25 of 43
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