Winsock (Windows Socket) is the term used by Windows to describe the data on your PC that programs use to access a network. If you're having problems connecting to the web, you can use the Command Prompt to reset Winsock with the netsh command.
These instructions for resetting Winsock apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
When to Perform a Winsock Reset
If you can't view any web pages despite having a stable Wi-Fi connection, resetting Winsock could fix the problem. A Winsock reset can be helpful if you're having internet connection problems in these situations:After removing malwareWhen you're seeing network-related pop-up errorsWhen there are DNS lookup issuesWhen you've just uninstalled network-related software like a firewall program or VPNWhen you see ”limited or no connectivity” errorsWhen releasing and renewing the IP address doesn't restore connectivityWhen the internet works on other devices on the same network but not on your Windows PC
A netsh Winsock reset will break functionality in some programs, so you might end up having to reconfigure some of your software to make them work normally again.
What Does a Netsh Winsock Reset Do?
Resetting Winsock will undo configurations made to the Winsock Catalog in Windows. Changes can be made by networking programs like web browsers, email clients, and VPN programs. A netsh Winsock reset reverts the wsock32 DLL file back to its default setting, giving such software a fresh start at connecting to TCP/IP traffic.
The wsock32.dll file isn't the same as winsock.dll. See our guide on troubleshooting winsock.dll errors if that's more appropriate.
How to Perform a Netsh Winsock Reset
To reset Winsock, you must be logged in as an administrator or know the Windows admin password.
The netsh command works in Windows XP only if the installed service pack is version 2 or 3. Figure out which Windows service pack you have installed and download Windows XP SP2 or SP3 if necessary.
Open the Command Prompt as an admin.
Type the following command and press Enter:netsh winsock reset
The command should return a message like the following:Successfully reset the Winsock Catalog.You must restart the computer in order to complete the reset.
If you see a different message after running the command, open Device Manager to enable any disabled network adapters and install any missing network drivers.
Restart your Windows PC.
You can restart Windows using the shutdown /r command in the Command Prompt.
After restarting, open a website in Chrome or another browser to see if the problem has been resolved.
How Often Can You Reset Winsock?
There's nothing wrong with running the Winsock reset command as often as you need to, but you shouldn't have to do it more than just a few times throughout the entire life of your computer. Having to reset Winsock more often than that suggests an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.
Take special note of the software you're installing and when you're experiencing network errors. Knowing when your PC encounters a problem will help you figure out the cause. It's also vital to keep an antivirus program running on your computer at all times to catch infections that could be causing Winsock related errors.
If all else fails, a full system reinstall should do the trick. However, a Windows reinstall should definitely be the last resort as it will wipe all of the files and software on your hard drive.