Never Download DLL Files: Here’s Why

Websites that allow easy downloads of individual DLL files seem to be the answer you’ve been looking for when you get one of those annoying “DLL not found” or “DLL is missing” errors.

Consider this a fair warning: DLL download sites should almost always be avoided, though they sometimes provide a quick fix. There are other perfectly safe and acceptable ways to fix DLL problems without downloading individual DLL files from these sites.

DLL download sites are not approved sources for DLL files

DLL files are created and distributed by companies that develop software. Sometimes that software company is Microsoft, sometimes it isn’t. Many companies create DLL files as part of their software packages.

A stable, clean, and up-to-date copy of any DLL-file can only be guaranteed by the developer. Websites that allow individual DLL downloads are in all but the rarest cases not approved for DLL downloads.

It might not seem particularly important that this website or that website is not “approved” by the organization that develops the DLL file, but as you’ll see as you read on, there are very good reasons why the original DLL distributor is the best way to go.

Installing a single DLL file is a bandage for a larger problem

DLL files are just small parts of complete software programs. Often an error message pointing to an individual DLL file is only telling part of the story. The particular error is often generated only because it is the first problem the software is encountering, not because it is the sole cause of the problem.

When you download and replace a DLL file from a DLL download site, you are often only solving a small part of a larger problem. Usually the solution to the biggest problem is to reinstall the entire software package that the DLL originated from.

Even if replacing a single DLL file fixes the immediate problem, additional problems tend to show up later, often as error messages notifying you of another DLL file being missing. It saves a lot of time and energy and fixes the problem right the first time.

DLLs on DLL download sites are often out of date

DLL download sites are only there, so you will find them in a search engine and we hope that you will click on their ads. They are not true software support sites and have little or no incentive to keep your DLL files up to date.

However, the software company that actually developed the DLL file will always have the most up-to-date and functional file available.

Software developers rarely have individual DLL files available for download, so if reinstalling your software program doesn’t replace or fix the DLL file you’re looking for, I recommend contacting the company and requesting a copy of the file. .

Sometimes you may get a DLL error message when using a particular program, but the DLL file may not be supported by the developer of that program. This is actually very common as DLL files are often shared between programs.

A great example is the xinput1_3.dll is missing error that sometimes appears before certain video games. The file is actually a DirectX file and is supported and supplied by Microsoft in their DirectX software package.

DLL files from DLL download sites may be infected with viruses

Since DLL download sites are not approved sources for DLL files and often have little or no contact information available, there is no guarantee that the DLL file you just downloaded will be free from virus infection.

Assuming you have a good antivirus program, an infected DLL file can be quarantined as you download it, but there’s certainly no guarantee of that.

Take the safe route and just avoid downloading DLL files from these DLL download sites.

Scan for viruses and other malware if you’re concerned that a recent DLL you downloaded may have been something other than what you thought it was.

DLL download sites could compromise your computer’s security

DLL files are like small specialized programs that can be programmed to perform various actions automatically, including actions that open your computer to hacking and other types of intrusions. DLL files like this exist.

Although it is unlikely that you are looking for one of these particular DLL files to download and install, it is a risk you take when you install a DLL file on your system from a DLL download site.

Don’t take any chances – follow the advice in the tips above and get the DLL from its source, not from a “back alley” DLL distributor!

Troubleshoot DLLs the Right Way

As you read above, a computer tends to report not the whole problem to you, but only the first problem it finds. A team doesn’t keep listing problem after problem it encounters, just the first one that stops it. In this case, a DLL file is missing.

So what you need to do is figure out what the real problem is, which is probably not just a missing DLL file. To do this, you need to find a troubleshooting guide for the specific problem.

We have hundreds of DLL troubleshooting guides on Lifewire. Simply paste the name of the DLL file into the search box at the top of this page and search for it.