How to fix DLL errors the right way

A DLL error is any error with a DLL file, a type of file that ends in the DLL file extension .

DLL errors can appear in any of the Microsoft operating systems including Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

DLL errors are especially troublesome because there are so many of these types of files, all with the potential to cause problems. Fortunately, there are several troubleshooting steps you can take that have a great chance of fixing any DLL errors you might be having.

These are the general steps for troubleshooting the DLL. If you haven’t already, search Lifewire for the specific DLL file you’re having trouble with. We may not have information for the exact DLL, but if we do, the steps to follow will be most helpful.

Time Required: Fixing a DLL error can take up to an hour or more depending on the specific error and usually, although it depends on the cause of the problem, it is quite easy to do.

Don’t you want to fix it yourself?

If you’re interested in troubleshooting any DLL issues you’re having yourself, continue troubleshooting in the next section.

Otherwise, see How can I get my equipment fixed? for a complete list of your support options, plus help with everything along the way, like calculating repair costs, getting your files, choosing a repair service, and much more.

How to Fix “Not Found” and “Missing” DLL Errors

DO NOT download DLL files from DLL download sites in an attempt to replace your missing or corrupt DLL files. There are several reasons why downloading a DLL file to resolve a DLL error is a very bad idea, the least of which is that it may not solve your problem.

If you have already downloaded a DLL file from one of these DLL download sites, please remove it from wherever it may have been placed and continue troubleshooting below.

  1. Restart the computer. It is possible that the problem causing the DLL error is only temporary and a restart is all that is needed.

    This is only an option if the DLL error does not stop the computer before Windows fully starts. If you have one of those more serious DLL problems, you will need to force restart your computer. See How to Reset Anything for help if you need it.

  2. Restore deleted DLL file from Recycle Bin. You may have accidentally deleted the DLL file. Most DLL errors come in the forms “DLL Not Found” and “Missing DLL”. The easiest cause of a DLL error like this is that you have inadvertently deleted the DLL file.

    Enter Safe Mode to perform this or any of the following steps if you cannot access Windows normally due to this DLL error.

  3. Recover deleted DLL file with free file recovery program. If you suspect that you have accidentally deleted the DLL file but emptied the recycle bin, a file recovery program may be able to help.

    Recovering a DLL file with a file recovery program is a good idea only if you are sure that you deleted the file yourself and that it was working properly before doing so.

  4. Run a virus/malware scan of your entire system. Some “DLL Is Missing” and “DLL Not Found” DLL errors are related to hostile programs masquerading as DLL files.
  5. Use System Restore to undo recent system changes. If you suspect that the DLL error was caused by a change you or someone else made to your registry or other system settings, then a System Restore might end the DLL error.
  6. Reinstall the program that is using the DLL file. If a DLL error occurs when opening or using a particular program, reinstalling the program should successfully install and register the DLL file again.

    Do not skip this step if you can avoid it. Reinstalling the program providing the DLL file is a very likely solution for any program-specific DLL errors.

  7. Update drivers for any hardware that might be related to the DLL error. For example, if you get a “Missing DLL” error when using the printer, try updating the printer drivers.
  8. Run the sfc /scannow command to replace any missing or incorrect operating system-related DLL files.

    System File Checker (the appropriate name of the sfc command) will replace any damaged or missing Microsoft-supplied DLL files.

  9. Apply all available Windows updates. Many operating system service packs and other patches may replace or update some of the hundreds of DLL files distributed by Microsoft on your computer.
  10. Perform a repair installation of Windows. If the individual DLL troubleshooting advice above is unsuccessful, an operating system repair installation should restore all Windows DLLs to their original working versions.
  11. Do a clean install of Windows. A clean install of Windows will erase everything from your hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows. If a repair install doesn’t fix the DLL error, this should be your next action.

    All information on your hard drive will be erased during a clean install. Make sure you’ve tried your best to fix the DLL error by doing a troubleshooting step before this one.

  12. Troubleshoot a hardware problem if any DLL errors persist. After a clean install of Windows, the DLL problem can only be hardware related.