Error Message: Unable to Initialize Windows Sockets Interface

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


After you upgrade from Windows 95 to Windows 98, you may receive the following error message when you try to use the Ping utility:
Unable to Initialize Windows Sockets Interface


This behavior can occur when the Winsock2 files have been damaged or replaced by third-party programs.


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.

To resolve this behavior:

  1. Locate the following files: Winsock.dll


    1. For each file, right-click it, and then click Rename.
    2. Type a file name with the .old extension, for example, winsock.old, and then press ENTER.
  2. Extract the preceding files using the System File Checker (SFC) tool from the Windows 98 CD-ROM:
    1. Click Start, and then click Run.
    2. In the Open box, type: sfc.
    3. Select the Extract one file from the installation disk option.
    4. Type in the name of the file (for example, winsock.dll) that you want to extract, and then click Start.
    5. Specify the location of the installation files if it is not automatically selected. You may also need to specify the folder to which the file needs to be copied. The Winsock.dll file is placed in the Windows folder. Both the Wsock32.dll and Wsock32n.dll files are placed in the Windows\System folder.
  3. By means of Regedit, locate and click the following registry key:

    1. Click Start, and then click Run.
    2. In the Open box, type: regedit.
    3. In the left pane, locate the previously mentioned key.
    4. Left-click the key to select it.
    5. Click Registry from the menu, and then select the Export Registry Key option. You must specify a location to store and a name for the key that is to be exported.
    6. With the key still selected, press DELETE to delete the selected registry key.
    7. Close Registry Editor.
  4. Remove the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) and Dial-up Networking (DUN) files by using the following article:
    181599 How to Remove and Reinstall Dial-Up Networking and TCP/IP Files
  5. Restart the system.
  6. Reinstall the DUN and TCP/IP files.