The DLL File Is Missing: What Does It Mean?

by Thomas King

You may receive an error message stating "Windows cannot find the filename.dll" or "A required .DLL was not found" or something similar. This means that your computer is missing a dynamic link library (DLL) file or a required DLL is corrupt. Fortunately, this problem can be fixed.

Dynamic Link Library (DLL)

A dynamic link library (DLL) is a module used by the Windows operating system. The main characteristic of a DLL is that it can be used by several applications at the same time. While a different copy of the DLL data is sent to each application, the programs share the DLL code. This reduces the amount of memory used and helps your operating system run more efficiently.

Causes

An error message stating that a particular DLL is "missing" can be caused by several things. A program that was recently uninstalled removed a DLL that was required by another program, a program that was recently installed overwrote a DLL, a bad installation of a program corrupted a DLL, a malicious program such as a computer virus removed a DLL or hardware issues like a bad hard drive is causing the error messages.

Solutions

Missing DLL errors can often by fixed by installing the latest Windows updates. To do this, click "Start," type "Update" into the search field and click "Windows Update" in the results list. Then, click "Check for Updates," click "Install Updates," and "Finish." The latest Windows updates often include repairs to common errors, including missing DLL errors. In addition to installing the latest Windows updates, you should run an anti-malware program to remove any malicious programs that may have removed a DLL.

Download and Register a New DLL

If you are still receiving an error message stating that you are missing a DLL, you will need to download a fresh copy of the DLL and register it. There are several online sites that will allow you to search for and download the missing DLL. Once you have downloaded the DLL to your computer, click "Start," type "cmd" into the search field and press "Enter." The Windows Command Prompt opens. Type "regsvr32 name.dll" (without the quotation marks) into the Windows Command Prompt and press "Enter." Note that name.dll should be replaced with the name of the DLL that you downloaded. The DLL is now registered. Restart your computer and the error message should no longer appear.

About the Author

Thomas King is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as managing editor of the "Pittsburgh Journal of Environmental and Public Health Law." He currently lives in Aberdeen, Washington where he writes and practices law.

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