WinSock Network Corruption in Windows XP and Vista

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In Microsoft Windows, corruption of the WinSock installation can cause network connections to fail on computers running Windows XP, Windows Vista and other Windows operating systems. This corruption sometimes occurs when you uninstall software applications that rely on WinSock. These applications include adware/spyware systems, software firewalls, and other Internet-aware programs.

To fix WinSock corruption problems, follow either of the two methods described below.

Fix WinSock2 Corruption

For Windows XP, Vista and 2003 Server systems, Microsoft recommends following a specific manual procedure to recover from WinSock network issues caused by corruption. The procedure varies depending on which version of Windows you have installed.

With Windows XP SP2, the 'netsh' administrative command-line program can repair WinSock.

For older Windows XP installations without XP SP2 installed, the procedure requires two steps:

  • modifying the related Windows Registry keys
  • re-installing the TCP/IP protocol

If you find Microsoft's directions too cumbersome, an alternative exists. Several Internet sites offer a free utility called WinSock XP Fix. This utility offers an automated way to repair the WinSock settings. This utility runs only on Windows XP, not on Windows Server 2003 or Vista.