What Causes a Winsock Error?

By Steve Johnson

Understanding the cause of a Winsock error requires some knowledge about the nature of what a Winsock is. Winsock, also known as a "Windows Socket," is a Microsoft Windows component that allows a computer to connect to other computers or the Internet. They are an integral part of any computer program that uses network or Internet connections. When Winsock fails, a certain program or even the whole computer may not be able to connect to an network or Internet. There are several causes of a Winsock error.

Lack of Sufficient Resources or RAM

The most common reason why a Winsock error occurs is because the computer's memory is clogged, full or can no longer take additional loads of information. Computers use a certain amount of RAM for each program opened, whether they are visible to the user or not. When the computer's memory is full, a Winsock error occurs when a program tries to connect to the Internet or another computer. This can be resolved by rebooting the computer or by shutting down the computer and turning it on again. This fixes minor errors with clogged RAM.

Corrupted, Blocked or Outdated Winsock Components

Other common reasons why Winsock error occurs are because the program trying to get an outside connection is blocked, has a corrupted or damaged file, or the Winsock files themselves are corrupted. Firewalls and anti-virus programs usually block installed programs when they try to make an outside connection. Allowing them through your firewall settings and putting them on your exceptions list will generally solve this problem. If the reason is caused by a damaged or corrupted file, reinstalling the specific program may solve the problem. Outdated software components and network drivers can also be a reason, so updating them may resolve the issue.

Trojan or Malware Infection

If the computer gets attacked by a Trojan virus or malware. These viruses usually infect Winsock components so that they can create an outside connection and infect other computers on your network. If you have a working anti-virus program, these viruses usually get deleted.

If the issue is software specific, reinstalling the software may resolve the problem. If the corrupted files are part of Windows itself, repairing it will be a bit tricky for a beginner. Repairs are usually done through the Windows Registry, and downloading a software to automatically fix these errors is one option to correct it. In drastic conditions where the infection can no longer be fixed through the Registry, reformatting the hard disk and reinstalling the Windows operating system will resolve the problem.