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Minor update on this issue. Checking the .NET source it turns out that this error stems from Windows returning an error code WSAEPROVIDERFAILEDINIT on a call to WSAStartup().

This in turn can be caused by various issues in the system environment, most often according to a Google search on the issue:

– Insufficient permissions (non-standard settings to UAC or setting ‘Run as Administrator’ for the executable might cause this for example).
– Not having the system variable ‘SYSTEMROOT’ set. This should seldom be a problem for AxCrypt which runs in an interactive session most of the time. Of course if files have moved and SYSTEMROOT is no longer correct, this could also cause the problem. Apparently this is how the appropriate dll is located. Among other things, mswsock.dll must be found.
– Broken or partially broken TCP/IP stack in the system.

The fix being implemented will just silently ignore this error, and the requested functionality lost unfortunately – until I get more information or can reproduce the issue locally.