June 5, 2004

How to determine and recover from Winsock2 corruption

View products that this article applies to.

IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry


When you try to release and renew the IP address using the Ipconfig program, you may receive the following error message:
An error occurred while renewing interface 'Internet': An operation was attempted on something that is not a socket.
When you start Internet Explorer, you may receive the following error message:
The page cannot be displayed
When you use your computer, you may receive the following error message:
Initialization function INITHELPERDLL in IPMONTR.DLL failed to start with error code 10107
Additionally, you may have no IP address or no Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) address, and you may be receiving IP packets but not sending them.


These issues may occur if the Winsock registry keys are damaged or corrupted.


WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

How to determine whether the Winsock2 key is corrupted

To determine if the symptoms are caused by a problem with the Winsock2 key, use one of the following methods.

Method 1: Use the Netdiag tool

To use the Netdiag tool, you must install the Microsoft Windows XP Support Tools. To do so, follow these steps:

Note If you already have Support Tools installed, go to the second procedure in this section.

Note If you do not have Support Tools installed and you do not have the Windows XP Setup CD, go to Method 2.
  1. Insert your Windows XP Setup CD, and then locate the Support\Tools folder.
  2. Double-click the Setup.exe file.
  3. Follow the steps on the screen until you reach the Select An Installation Type screen.
  4. On the Select An Installation Type screen, click Complete, and then click Next.
When the installation is complete, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type Command, and then click OK.
  2. Type netdiag /test:winsock, and then press ENTER.
The Netdiag tool will return the test results for several network components, including the Winsock. For more details about the test, use /v at the end of the netdiag command: netdiag /test:winsock /v

Method 2: Use the Msinfo32 program

Note Use this method only if you do not have a Windows XP Setup CD and you do not have Support Tools installed.
  1. Click Start, click Run, type Msinfo32, and then click OK.
  2. Expand Components, expand Network, and then click Protocol.
  3. You will have ten sections under Protocol. The section headings will include the following names if the Winsock2 key is undamaged:
    • MSAFD Tcpip [TCP/IP]
    • MSAFD Tcpip [UDP/IP]
    • RSVP UDP Service Provider
    • RSVP TCP Service Provider
    • MSAFD NetBIOS [\Device\NetBT_Tcpip...
    • MSAFD NetBIOS [\Device\NetBT_Tcpip...
    • MSAFD NetBIOS [\Device\NetBT_Tcpip...
    • MSAFD NetBIOS [\Device\NetBT_Tcpip...
    • MSAFD NetBIOS [\Device\NetBT_Tcpip...
    • MSAFD NetBIOS [\Device\NetBT_Tcpip...
    If the names are anything different from those in this list, the Winsock2 key is corrupted, or you have a third-party add-on, such as proxy software, installed.

If you have a third-party add-on installed, the name of the add-on will replace the letters "MSAFD" in the list.

If there are more than ten sections in the list, you have third-party additions installed.

If there are fewer than ten sections, there is information missing.

Note These entries represent an installation with only the TCP/IP protocol installed. You can have a working Winsock and see additional entries if another protocol is installed. For example, if you install NWLink IPX/SPX, you will see 7 additional sections, for a total of 17. Below is an example heading of one of the new sections:

MSAFD nwlnkipx [IPX]

Also, each of the new sections that are created by installing NWLink IPX/SPX start with "MSAFD." Therefore, there are still only two sections that do not start with those letters.

If the Netdiag test fails, or if you determined that there is Winsock corruption by looking at Msinfo32, you must repair the Winsock2 key by using the steps in the next section.

How to Recover from Winsock2 corruption

To resolve this issue, delete the corrupted registry keys, and then reinstall of the TCP/IP protocol.

Step 1: Delete the corrupted registry keys

  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
  3. In Registry Editor, locate the following keys, right-click each key, and then click Delete:



  4. When you are prompted to confirm the deletion, click Yes.
Note Restart the computer after you delete the Winsock keys. Doing so causes the Windows XP operating system to create new shell entries for those two keys. If you do not restart the computer after you delete the Winsock keys, the next step does not work correctly.

Step 2: Install TCP/IP

  1. Right-click the network connection, and then click Properties.
  2. Click Install.
  3. Click Protocol, and then click Add.
  4. Click Have Disk.
  5. Type C:\Windows\inf, and then click OK.
  6. On the list of available protocols, click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click OK.
  7. Restart the computer.

The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Last Reviewed: 4/28/2004 (5.0)
Keywords: kbnetwork kberrmsg kbprb KB811259 kbAudEndUser kbAudITPRO

If you have any questions or problems, please feel free to contact me by Email or by phone.


Davis M McCarn
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