How to Reset Network Settings in Windows 10

As a last resort resetting network settings may get you back online

Photo of a reset button

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There are a number of reasons network settings can change to the point where you can't connect to the network anymore. If you reset network settings in Windows 10, you can resolve any number of network issues.

Why do network settings change? It could be because you were troubleshooting and inadvertently changed the wrong settings. It could also be due to a Windows update that went wrong.

What Happens When You Reset Network Settings in Windows 10

Resetting network settings in Windows 10 should be a last resort. This is because when you initiate a network reset, it removes and reinstalls every network adapter currently installed on your system.

The network reset utility was originally introduced by Microsoft after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update build (version 1607) so users could quickly resolve network problems caused by the update. The utility still remains to help users fix network connection issues.

The network reset utility also sets every networking component on your system back to the original factory settings. The components that get reset are as follows:

  • Winsock: This is an interface for applications that handles input and output requests to the internet.
  • TCP/IP: This stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, and allows all network devices on your computer to communicate over the internet.

If you've customized any of these settings from their defaults, you'll need to note those settings because performing a network reset will remove any custom settings.

However, most people have all of these components set to "automatically detect," so in most cases you won't see any issues after a network reset.

How to Reset Network Settings in Windows 10

Using the network reset utility in Windows 10 is fairly simple.

  1. Select the Start menu and type Network. Select Network and Sharing Center.

    Screenshot of selecting Network and Sharing Center
  2. In Windows Settings, select Network and Internet.

    Screenshot of Network and Internet Status settings
  3. In the left navigation pane, select Status to make sure you're viewing the network status window. Then scroll down until you see the Network Reset link.

    Screenshot of the Network reset link in the Network Status window
  4. Click the Network Reset link and review the Network Reset information message. When you're prepared to network your reset settings, select Reset now.

    Screenshot of the Network reset utility window
  5. Select Yes in the network reset confirmation window. This will initiate the reset process and restart your computer.

    Screenshot of the Network reset confirmation window
  6. You will get a warning when the computer's about to reboot. You should have plenty of time to save your work and close out all applications.

    Screenshot of the sign out warning screen
  7. When the computer restarts, you'll notice that your network connection isn't active. This is because your network card reset and released its previous connection. Just select the network icon, pick the network you want to reconnect to, and choose Connect.

    Screenshot of available wireless networks in Windows 10
  8. If your TCP/IP settings are set to "automatically detect," your network connection should detect the appropriate network settings and connect to the internet without any problems.

Fixing Any Remaining Settings

If you did have a VPN client or other network software working before the network reset, you may need to reconfigure those to get them working again.

Fixing this software is as simple as opening the VPN software and enterint your IP and other settings like you did when you originally installed the software.

If you were connecting to a corporate network using a proxy server, you may need to reconfigure your proxy server settings.

  1. Select the Start menu and type Internet Options. Select Internet Options.

    Screenshot of selecting Internet Options from the Start menu
  2. In the Internet Options window, select the Connections tab.

    Screenshot of Internet Options Connections tab
  3. Select the LAN settings button, and in the LAN Settings window, select Use a proxy server for your LAN. In the Address field, type the address for your corporate LAN proxy server. Select OK on both windows to accept the changes.

    Screenshot of setting the LAN server in LAN settings

    If you don't know the correct proxy server settings, contact your IT help desk to ask for the correct network address and port of your proxy server.

  4. You may need to restart your computer for the changes to take effect, and your network card to reconnect to your corporate network.

As you can see, resetting the network settings on your Windows 10 computer is fairly simple. You just need to know if there were any applications or unique network settings that were in place before you do the reset. This will make reconfigurating those settings after the reset much easier.