In the past I've recommended repairing the network stack using the NETSH command, but users often want something less intimidating and more user-friendly. Enter the WinsockXPFix utility. From what I've learned from many shareware repositories, this utility can save users from "scrape and reinstall" Windows.
How WinsockXPFix operates
WinsockXPFix requires no installer; it runs as-is. When run, it provides with the following two options:
1. Back up your Registry, to undo any changes if needed.
2. Fix any problems. When you click "Fix," it will run for approximately one minute (the exact amount of time depends on how many network connections or protocols you have installed), and describe each change (such as replacing a mangled HOSTS file, a common network issue in Windows). When it's done, it prompts a required reboot. Without rebooting changes made to the network stack will not take effect.
But, WinsockXPFix's author appears to have gone offline, and the program is no longer actively supported (which, presumably, means there won't be a Windows Vista version). Also, because the source code was never released, the best option may be for someone to write a similar program and make the source freely available.
About the author:
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Insight, (formerly the Windows Power Users Newsletter), a blog site devoted to hints, tips, tricks and news for users and administrators of Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Vista. He has more than 12 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.