All is not lost: How to fix the dreaded ‘missing .dll file’ error?

Isn’t it frustrating to get an error when you open a program that you use all the time? This is way more common than you’d imagine — so at least your misery has company. Maybe that’ll make you feel better the next time you see this error. Many times, such an error is likely to point to a missing .dll file that you have no idea about.

How do you go from here? Where should you look for that file? How can you fix the error?

We have answers to all these questions. But let’s start at the beginning.

What is a .dll file?

dll files

Dynamic link library, or DLL for short, is a shared library of instructions that can be used by two or more programs. Typically, all programs are divided into different modules and .dll files contain these modules, especially the ones that are common among programs.

Dll files help with code modularization, code reuse, efficient memory usage, and lower disk space. All of this means that programs run faster and more efficiently.

Since it is not an independent file like an executable file (.EXE), a running program should explicitly call this file.

Problems that come with every .dll file

Though .dll files look like a great way to share code, they also come with their own set of problems.

Every time a program uses a dll, it creates a dependency. If another program uses the same dll and changes its content, or worse deletes the file itself, the first program’s dependency gets broken, and this causes the first program to stop running.

This dependency is broken in the following scenarios.

  • When a dependent dll, that is, a .dll file being used by another program, is upgraded.
  • If someone removes a dependent .dll file from the system by mistake or intentionally.
  • When a program or user fixes problem existing in a dependent .dll file.
  • When a dependent file is overwritten with an earlier version.

Each of these problems is called a .dll conflict, and this is when you get the “missing .dll file” error.

How to fix the ‘missing .dll file’ error

dll files

There are many ways to fix a “missing .dll file” error.

Never download a .dll file

Though it may seem tempting to download the missing .dll file from the Internet, that’s a solution you should definitely avoid. First off, the downloaded .dll file can have malware that can infect your entire system. To top it, the downloaded version may not match the version in your operating system, and this is sure to increase your problems.

Restart your PC

The easiest way to fix the missing .dll file error is to restart your PC. Many times, there are cache problems that a restart fixes automatically.

But when some .dll files are missing, you can’t restart your computer. In such a case, do a forced restart and see if this resolves the problem.

Retrieve deleted files

Sometimes, you could’ve accidentally deleted a .dll file yourself. If that’s the case, search your recycle bin and restore it. Alternately, you can recover deleted files with file recovery software. However, note that this method will not fix your problem if the .dll file was corrupted before it was deleted. It will work only for good but deleted .dll files.

Malware

Malware programs create additional .dll files that could impede with the working of existing ones. To avoid this possibility, scan your computer with good malware software. Restart your PC and try if the program you want is working.

Restore your system

Though this is not the best option, you can still do a system restore to revert your computer’s state to a previous point in time. This can remove the missing .dll file error, but in the process, some recent changes made to registry variables and installed applications will be lost.

Reinstall the application

If you have the original CD or if you can reinstall the software that’s throwing the missing .dll file error, go ahead and try it. This should fix the problem in many cases, especially if it caused by a dll conflict with other running programs.

Update drivers

Sometimes, you’ll get a missing .dll file error while using hardware such as a printer. This error can be due to an older version of the driver that is not compatible with the updated .dll file, so the printer is looking for a wrong .dll file and can’t find it.

Update your device’s drivers to see if this fixes the problem.

Update Windows

dll files

Certain Windows updates can change or replace .dll files, so these files are not available when another program wants to use them. Update Windows and check if this fixes the error. The upside with this fix is it will improve the overall health of your system as well.

System File Checker (SFC) scan

Using a system file checker scan is the optimal way to fix missing .dll file errors. In fact, Windows 7 and later versions have a built-in SFC that replaces missing .dll files and fixes this problem. To run this scan, type “sfc /scannow” in your command prompt. It’s a good idea to run this command in safe mode.

Use the system update readiness tool

The system update readiness tool, also called the deployment image servicing and management (DISM) tool fixes some corruption errors in Windows. It could possibly work here too.

For Windows 10, 8.1, and 8, open an elevated command prompt and type this command:
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

This command uses Windows Update to check for corruptions. If you’re running Windows installation as the repair source or if you’re using Windows from a share, make sure to include that location. In such a case, your command is,

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth” /Source [source url]

If DISM fixes the problem, you’ll see a log file in C:\Windows/logs/CBS/CBS.log

For Windows 7 and Vista, download the latest version of system update readiness tool and run it. This tool automatically installs updates and fixes problems. Restart your computer and see if this fixes the error.

Startup repair

Startup repair is another option to restore all .dll files to their original working state. This fix, however, could cause problems in other programs, especially if any program has updated .dll files.

Thus, these are some of the ways to fix the missing .dll file error. Though many of these fixes seem simple, you may have to try a few of them in the list because it’s hard to say what’ll work.

Featured image: Pixabay

14 thoughts on “All is not lost: How to fix the dreaded ‘missing .dll file’ error?”

    1. I purchased and installed PAVTUBE Video Converter and it will not open on a laptop. Keep getting missing .dll files (4). They are there in the program folder then suddenly disappear.

      I’ve tried every fix I can find and nothing has worked.

      I

  1. I am getting this error while trying to uninstall a program and unable to uninstall it successfully. How can I address this error ??

    1. Hussaini Ibrahim

      I’ve been trying to repair some missed dll files but I couldn’t, all the possible ways I tried but yet none of them work, please I need help

  2. I keep getting an error message about nonintervention.endpapers.dll or something like that. It doesn’t seem to hinder any performances of my pc, and it opens everytime I boot my pc.

  3. my desk top showing all time shell.exe error. so im download .dll file and delete some item in my desktop. after this my desktop is not download any program to till now why ?
    I want to learning a web design but for no downloading any program I have feced problem what sould I do ? please informed me?

  4. My computer gives a missing .dll error on almost every one of my games. Most of the games have worked in the near past, others showed this error from the start. Usually it was a MFCV something, but recently the list has become bigger on games that used to work or showed only one or two .dll’s missing. Ive restarted my computer a million and two times, Ive run Avast scans, Ive tried re-downloading my games (from steam). Nothing seems to work. Please help me.

  5. Hartwig Anderlik

    Hi Lavanya,

    I am using windows 10 home. I have installed AutoCAD Lt 2000 the program is running fine It was not easy to install! The printer works as well. Now the last few day’s I can’t save any new drawings or modified drawings (Error writing/closing file)
    Filedia is set too 1. I found that “ac1st15. dll” is missing I wish that I can get help I am 80 years young and don’t intent to purchase or lease a new AutoCad program.

  6. El Luismer Lopez

    i cannot reinstall my zoom app and it keeps giving me a dll error like dllsafecheck.dll. if i try to uninstall the app it sends me a message that it cannot found the address. please help me i cannot attend my online classes because of this

  7. When ever I open my pc some error always come
    Even though my some downloaded page and my microsoft teams have also coming a error . When I uninstall the error come the same . Plz help me

  8. HI, I deleted my old printer and added the new one.
    Now every time I boot up my laptop I get 2 notices.
    Run DLL
    There was a problem starting C:\Program files\HP\HP Officejet 6600\bin\HPStatruBL.dll
    The specified module could not be found.

    How can I delete the printer dll so I won’t see these 2 pop ups?

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