Missing Microsoft Windows .dll files

Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope

Windows DLLThis document is meant to be a solution for users who are encountering missing .dll errors or other error messages related to .dll files. Before trying the recommended resolutions to resolving these errors, we suggest if you're getting a single missing .dll error, that you search for that .dll file on Computer Hope.

For example, if you're getting an error such as "Internet Explorer encountered an error in KERNEL32.DLL at 0137:BFF3191C," search for "kernel32.dll" to find documents related to that file. In some situations, a .dll file error may be caused by a specific situation.

Search for .dll:

If the Computer Hope search does not return any results for your .dll, continue reading for additional troubleshooting suggestions.

Downloading a .dll file

If you perform a web search for your .dll file, you may find sites offering it for download. However, you should only download .dll files directly from your manufacturer or software publisher, never from a third party.

Safe Mode

If you're encountering .dll errors that are preventing you from getting into Windows, to troubleshoot the computer, boot the computer into Safe Mode. Once successfully in Safe Mode, you can continue trying the options on this page.

Run Windows Update

If you're using a modern version of Windows (Windows Vista, 7, 8, or 10), you should manually check for a new Windows Update. Windows Update automatically scans your system for missing drivers and libraries, and if it locates your missing .dll, it may attempt to restore it.

  1. Open your Start menu, and click the gear icon (⚙) to open your Settings.
  2. Choose Update & Security.
  3. Click Check for updates.

Other options

Restoring computer back to an earlier date

If you have a restore point stored on your computer, you can try restoring the computer back to an earlier date, this troubleshooting step is a quick and easy recommendation that can resolve lots of problems with Microsoft Windows computers.

Windows SFC command

Use the SFC command to have Windows scan and repair files. To run this command, follow these steps. For additional information about the SFC command, see our SFC command reference.

  1. Click Start.
  2. Click Run.
  3. Type "sfc /scannow" and press Enter.

Once the above steps have been completed, Windows will verify that all protected Windows files are intact.

Issue with .dll files only with a specific program

If you're encountering the missing, corrupt, or other errors relating to .dll files only when you open or run a program, it's likely an issue with that program. Resolving program-specific errors can be much easier than operating system related .dll errors.

If the program you're attempting to run has only recently started to get the .dll errors, reinstalling the program may resolve your problem.

Additionally, while reinstalling the program, it's also a good idea to check if updates or patches have been made available by the developer of your program. Updates are often found through the developer's website.

Recently uninstalled program

If you have recently uninstalled a program on the computer, that program may have removed a .dll file that is necessary for Windows or a Windows program to work properly.

If you've already tried the above recommendations, you may want to reinstall the program to get whatever file has been deleted back on the computer. If this resolves your .dll error message and you want remove the program again, make sure that you click "No" or "No to all" during the uninstall process. This action keeps you from deleting a system file or other important files that may be used by multiple programs.

Recently installed program

If you have recently installed a program and after the installation began encountering your .dll error messages, we suggest you first check if updates are available for the program. In some situations, a program may need to be updated for it to work properly on your computer. Updates are often found through the developer's website.

If no updates are available for the program, try uninstalling the program to resolve the issue. If this does correct your issue, we suggest you contact the developer of the program for additional support on getting the program installed on the computer without it causing errors.

Virus, spyware, or other malware installed on the computer causing your .dll error

A virus, spyware, or other malware program to cause .dll errors; and therefore, we suggest users make sure to run a full virus and spyware scan on your computer.

Windows .dll error message or .dll errors when trying to do something in Windows and not a program

Microsoft Windows .dll errors that occur when starting Windows or starting a Windows feature can be more serious and unfortunately more difficult to resolve. For these errors, we suggest you run through the basic troubleshooting steps for your operating system.

If running through these steps you encounter the same issues to resolve your .dll errors, we suggest you erase everything and reinstall Windows.

If issues continue after Windows is reinstalled or errors occur while Windows is being installed. Your computer may have bad hardware that is causing your problems. We suggest testing your memory and hard drive for problems.

Additional information