How to Perform a Netsh Winsock Reset

Repair Windows network problems with the netsh Winsock reset command

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:

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, or 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.

If you see a “wsock32.dll not found” error, do not download wsock32.dll from a DDL download website as it could be a computer virus.

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.

  1. Open an elevated Command Prompt.
  2. 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.
    Enter netsh winsock reset in the command prompt.

    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.

  3. 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.