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Problems with your Internet connection can be frustrating and difficult to diagnose. It is possible that a problem with Winsock is responsible. Fortunately, resetting Winsock is simple.

Why You Might Need to Reset Winsock

winsock is a application programming interface (API) that works between applications, such as a web browser, and underlying communication protocols, such as TCP/IP . Winsock stores important settings for how those applications and communications interact in a database usually called the Winsock Catalog.

It is possible for the Winsock catalog to be corrupted by malware or by accident. Regardless of how the corruption occurs, applications on a PC will probably not be able to connect to the Internet. You may see vague and useless messages telling you that your application “couldn’t connect”, or you may see more specific error messages related to sockets.

If other devices on your network are experiencing connection problems, you should first try troubleshoot your modem and router .

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How to reset Winsock

Fortunately, resetting Winsock is often easier than accurately diagnosing most Winsock problems.

Click Start, type “cmd” in the search bar and click “Run as administrator”. Windows PowerShell will also work and you can use that if you prefer. Just remember to run it as administrator.

On Windows 11, feel free to launch the Windows Terminal app instead. (But again, just make sure you run it as administrator.)

Press enter or click

In Command Prompt, type netsh winsock reset. If it works, you will see the message “Winsock Catalog Reset Successful. You must restart the computer to complete the reboot.”

Successfully reset Winsock at the command prompt

After resetting Winsock, you need to restart your computer. Since a command line window is already open with administrative privileges, type shutdown /r /t 0at the prompt, and then press Enter. Your computer will reboot immediately so remember to save any work before running that command.

Try the applications or services that were experiencing problems once your computer has restarted. If it doesn’t work, you should try other troubleshooting steps .

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