How to Perform a Netsh Winsock Reset

Repair Windows network problems with the netsh Winsock reset command

What to Know

  • Winsock (Windows Socket) is the term used by Windows to describe the data on your PC that programs use to access a network.
  • Use Command Prompt to reset Winsock with the netsh winsock reset command.
  • Execute that command if you’re having problems connecting to the web.

This article explains how to execute the Winsock reset command. The directions work in all versions of Windows.

How to Perform a Netsh Winsock Reset

You must be logged in as an administrator or know the Windows admin password.

  1. Open the Command Prompt as an admin.

    command prompt run as administrator
  2. Type the following command and press Enter:

    netsh winsock reset

    What should return is a message like the following:

    Successfully reset the Winsock Catalog.
    You must restart the computer in order to complete the reset.
    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 computer. To do so from within Command Prompt, execute the shutdown /r command.

    Windows 11 restart menu

After restarting, open a website in Chrome or another browser to see if the problem has been resolved.

These instructions apply to Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. 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.

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. This procedure 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, and VPN programs. A 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 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. Resetting more frequently 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—there are lots of completely free antivirus programs we recommend for Windows users.

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 the files and software on your hard drive.

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