What is Msimg32.dll?

By Jonathan Ryan

MSimg32.dll has been obsolete since 2001 but still causes problems on modern computers.
i computer image by michele goglio from Fotolia.com

MSimg32.dll is a library used by Windows to draw transparent images and gradients. It was introduced with Windows NT 5, and depreciated with the release of Windows XP. Many programs still use MSimg32.dll, and a missing or corrupt copy will cause them to crash. Replacing MSimg32.dll is simple if you have the Windows discs that came with your computer.


MSimg32.dll is a component of the Microsoft Graphical Device Interface (GDI). GDI is the tool Windows uses for drawing lines, boxes, text and other basic elements of the user interface. GDI was introduced in Windows 95, and extended over time. MSimg32.dll does not contain the core functionality, but it does hold three of the extensions.

GDI was depreciated with the release of Windows XP, but it is still distributed with newer operating systems, including Windows 7. Because of this, problems with MSimg32.dll can still cause problems on newer systems.


MSimg32.dll contains three API functions:

AlphaBlend is used to display a bitmap that contains an alpha layer. This allows transparent and semi-transparent images to be rendered.

GradientFill can fill rectangles and triangles with a color gradient. It supports simple horizontal and vertical gradients and can also display gradients defined by a chain of triangles.

TransparentBlt is used to quickly copy a transparent bitmap from one area to another. A bug in Windows 98 caused it to leak memory, but it has been fixed in later releases.

Missing MSimg32.dll File

Although MSimg32.dll isn't recommended by Microsoft for use in new software, many programs still require it. If it is missing you may get an error like \"This application failed to start because MSimg32.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.\"

If your copy is missing it was probably lost due to a problem with your filesystem. One of the most common ways to corrupt a filesystem is to turn off the computer without properly shutting it down.

Fixing a Missing MSimg32.dll File Without Reinstalling

Do not use any DLL fixer programs or DLL files downloaded from the Internet. You could accidentally install a virus because you can't trust the source of your download.

The simplest solution to try first is to perform a system recovery. This will restore any recent changes to system DLL files.

If a system restore does not fix the error, MSimg32.dll can be restored from your Windows install disc. Insert the disc and search for MSimg32.dll using the search tool. When you find it, place a copy in C:\Windows\system32. This should fix the error.

Many new computers don't come with standard Windows discs, but do have recovery discs. You may be able to find MSimg32.dll on a recovery disc, depending on the manufacturer. If you find it, copying it to the system32 folder should fix the error.

Fixing a Missing MSimg32.dll File by Resinstalling

If system restore doesn't fix the problem and you have recovery discs that do not contain MSimg32.dll, you will have to use the discs to restore your system.

Recovery discs will reset your computer to the condition it was in when it left the factory. You will need to backup any files that you want to keep.

Follow the instructions that came with your computer to perform the recovery. If you cannot find the instructions, try searching the manufacturer's website.