Problems With The LSP / Winsock Layer In Your Network

Microsoft Windows, by default, uses Internet Protocol (IP) for all communications, whether locally (LAN) or remotely (WAN). The connection between the applications (programs that you run) on your computer, and the wires, whether physical (Ethernet) or logical (WiFi), is thru a series of programs, arranged in layers.

The Layered Service Provider (LSP) / Windows Sockets (Winsock) portion of the IP network is a key component in all IP traffic. When it stops working, we say that it’s “corrupted”. The symptoms of corruption can be unpredictable. By “unpredictable”, I’ve experienced / seen:

  • Connectivity thru some services, but not all.
    • Low level services like ping may work, but email won’t work.
    • Email might work, but not the browser.
    • If you have multiple browsers, maybe Firefox will work but Internet Explorer won’t.
  • Connectivity to local addresses, but nothing on the Internet.
  • Connectivity to some computers on the LAN, but not others.
  • Slow connectivity all around.
  • Strange diagnoses / messages, mentioning mysterious objects like handles, semaphores, or sockets.
  • Strange name / address resolution results (garbled names).

There are multiple possible solutions to an LSP / Winsock problem, and not one of them have been found to be consistently more effective than the others. Some of them may fix some problems, but find additional problems when run a second time.

Try each solution, if applicable to your system, one after the other, until your problem is resolved. If any of these tools recommend changes, and / or make any changes for you, yet the problems are not fully resolved, continue with the other tools. Then, repeat the entire list.

Each time any changes are made, repeat the diagnosis made previously. Verify that the problem is still with you.

If you do have an LSP / Winsock problem, ignoring it and investigating something easier will not make the problem go away. Be patient, and persistent.

  1. Try the easiest solution first. Restart the computer, if you haven’t yet done this.
  2. Check for a DNS or MTU problem, which can imitate, or mask, a corrupt LSP / Winsock.
  3. LSP-Fix.
  4. WinsockFix.
  5. Winsock2 Fix (Windows 98 / ME only).
  6. WinSock XP Fix (Windows XP only).
  7. For Windows XP only, use Windows native procedures. This will vary according to Service Pack level.
    • To fix a corrupted LSP / Winsock in Windows XP pre-SP2:
      1. Backup and delete the following registry keys:

      2. Reboot.
      3. Open the network connections folder, right click your network connection, and click Properties.
      4. Click Install | Protocol | Add.
      5. Click “Have Disk…”, type “\windows\inf” in the box, and click OK.
      6. Click “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)”, then click OK.
      7. Reboot.
    • To fix a corrupted LSP / Winsock in XP SP2:
      1. Start – Run – “cmd”.
      2. Type “netsh winsock reset catalog” into the command window.
      3. Reboot.
  8. Try a registry based rebuild, from Bob Cerelli, One Computer Guy. You get 4 possibilities:
    1. Windows 98.
    2. Windows ME.
    3. Windows 2000.
    4. Windows XP.
  9. An additional possibility is corruption in the TCP/IP components. Although LSP / Winsock provides part of the TCP/IP functionality, it is not a part of TCP/IP itself, so sometimes you will need to reset TCP/IP in Windows XP, or reload TCP/IP in pre-Windows XP.
  10. Finally, Re Install Your Network Hardware – first the drivers, then the physical device (if possible).

NOTE: LSPFix, and its peers, identifies and removes problems in the LSP / Winsock stack. If LSPFix, or one of its peers, identifies a stack entry as problematic, you have to trust it, and let it fix the problem. If your network is not working (which, I presume, is why you’re here), give it a shot. Create a System Restore checkpoint, if you wish (and take a second checkpoint later, if the problem is fixed).

NOTE: If you’re still unsure whether you can trust my advice, and put your computer at the mercy of some free software that you just downloaded, this is good. Be skeptical – that’s the beneficial side of paranoia. Next, read Download Software Selectively. Finally, spend some time researching, as advised.

As a last resort, try and diagnose the problem, by enumerating the contents of the LSP. You might identify an unknown problem, and more than you might benefit from your efforts. LSP enumeration will vary, according to what operating system is running on your computer.

For more information about LSP / Winsock problems, see the Microsoft articles


One Response to “Problems With The LSP / Winsock Layer In Your Network”

  1. dajmio Says:

    Hi Chuck,
    First of all thank you for having such a site, it’s great.
    Someone recomended me your site to solve sending error 10060 /receives emails but can’t send from any account regardles of provider/

    I went trough all instractions and in result one of four accounts started to send emails from my outlook. So I just rerouted rest of accounts to that one and in fact my problem got solved. But what if I haven’t had exactly that account? I’d be still in deep shit. ;D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: