How to Fix DLL Errors: And why did I get one?

DLL files, what are they, and why did I get the error?

How to fix dll error


Did you get an error message stating that a DLL file could not be found when you started or shut down your PC? And now you’re wondering just what a DLL file is and why did I get the message. And most likely how do I fix this problem?

What is a DLL file?

First off it would be a good idea to know what the files are and why you need them. DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library and is a file type that contains instructions that programs call upon to do certain things like finding a file in a particular directory, print a page, find free space on a drive, and so on.

These files come in handy because several programs can share access to them and even access them at the same time. This eliminates the need for programs to incorporate them into their code which will save them from using up more memory space on your PC seeing that they don’t need them at all times.

DLL’s files come in handy because they allow a program to be able to update parts of the program without having to rebuild the whole thing.  DLL files, for the most part, will use the extension “.DLL” but occasionally they may use “DRV, OCX, or CPL”.

A lot of DLL files are added from Windows Operating System and you will see some third-party programs that will install them along with the original program.

So why do they go missing or can’t be found?

Well, the cause can be related to something as simple as removing a program or installing a new program, it might also be from a corrupt disk, a bad sector, registry error, and so on.

Sometimes you might be able to just restart your PC to correct the issue and other time you will have to reload the DLL file itself to fix the problem.

Do not use DLL download sites to fix your problem!How to fix dll error

Now before we go too much further here, it will be in your best interest not to Google the missing DLL file to find a download site for that DLL file.

Why, well because these download sites are not approved by the original program developers such as Microsoft.

They may even come with malware, a virus, or PUP and are very seldom updated, which will just cause you more problems down the road.

And for the most part, if you download just a single DLL file to correct the problem, all you will be doing is putting a band-aid on to fix the problem, the root of the error is still there and hasn’t really been fixed. So above all else don’t use these sites.

How do we fix the Error?

First off if you have already downloaded a DLL file, you should delete it from where ever you put it if you don’t know then head over to “File Explorer” and in the search bar enter the DLL files name that you want to delete.

  • Restart: The first thing you want to do is to restart your system, a lot of times, after all, it is always the first thing to try for any type of errors you may be having with your system
  • Run a Malware Scan: Sometimes this can take care of your problem due to a malware that is screwing with your system by acting as a DLL file.
  • Reinstall the Program: If you know which program is associated with the missing DLL file try uninstalling the program and then reinstall it. Most of the time this will help because it will reload the missing file.
  • Update Drivers: For example, a missing DLL file error comes up when you go to print something. This could be related your printer’s software so by updating or reinstall it could fix the problem.
  • Run the sfc /scannow: Running this command will scan your system files for any missing or corrupt system files and fix the ones it finds. To do this open your administrator command prompt and enter “sfc /scannow”. This could take up to 20 minutes to run, so be patient.
  • Windows Update: Check to see if there are any current updates that are waiting to be installed, it might just have an update to one of the many DLL files.
  • Repair Windows: Run the Windows Recovery program to reset your PC. This is located in “Settings > Update & Security > Recovery” and you can choose to keep or files or do a “Clean install” which will reset your entire system.

Wrapping This Up.

As you can see there are ways to find out what is causing the missing or damaged DLL file. And once you know, you can go through a few steps to fix the problem correctly. By doing this you can avoid downloading a DLL file which may contain malware, pup, or a virus.

Doing that would only be putting a band-aid on a problem that isn’t fixed, causing more headaches down the road, which you want to avoid so you don’t have to stress (as we all know PCs can be stress full when not running well). 😊How to fix dll error

How about you, have you run into this problem? Did you get it fixed?

I really enjoy hearing from my readers so if you have any question or comments you would like to share, please do so in the comment section below.


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About Author

Hello, my name is Kim and I am the owner of this site. I have been working with computers since they first became available to the public.I have built several computers over the years and enjoy helping others with their everyday computing. Should you have any questions about using your computer, or any other device, please leave me a note below in the comment section and I will be more than happy to help you out. Come back often for more tips and solutions to your every day computing.


  1. oneil

    this problem was very common in earlier version of windows. but, its been awhile since i have experience DLL errors. i think from the inception of windows 7…seems Microsoft went all out to get rid of the problems associated with it.

    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hi Oneil, back in the days they seemed to pop-up every so often, but as you stated Microsoft has done a great job of putting that problem to bed. I did encounter a few with Windows 8, but luckily it didn’t stay around.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. Anita

    I have never run into this issue myself. I know that restarting your computer is always the first step and usually will correct many errors. Restarting my computer usually will bring to light any updates I was not previously aware of – another of your fixes. I make a habit of running my malware program on a regular basis, but that is usually my next step when I have an issue, even just my computer running slowly.

    I learned what a DLL file is now and I have jotted down some notes on how to fix it. I usually go to my husband when I have an issue, but since I work on the computer from home, and he goes to a regular 9 to 5, he is not always available to help me, which is counterproductive to my business.

    I feel more confident that I could solve this issue now, should I ever encounter it. Thank you for your article!


    1. Kim (Post author)

      Your welcome Anita, I’m pleased that you have found this to be useful and easy to follow. With Windows 10 I think Microsoft has finally figured out how to avoid these from happening anymore, but a little knowledge can go a long way in keeping your PC running smoothly.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting Anita!

  3. Christina

    I actually still run into this issue because I have a couple ancient monsters that I use for strictly playing old games. This is and was a common issue on Windows XP systems. Working on trying to set up a virtual machine on my newer OS so I can eliminate the old hardware. I could just get rid of the old games, but what fun is that 🙂 Do you think a virtual machine is still going to be vulnerable to these dll issues?

    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hi Christina, yep Windows XP os was notorious for DLL issues and I would download them from some fishy websites and would end up with more problems, sometimes I learn things the hard way LOL. I would wager that with a newer OS you shouldn’t have any trouble with a virtual machine as long as you keep your video drivers updated.
      Really what fun would that be if you got rid of your old games, some of those older ones are the cat’s meow?
      Have fun with your virtual machine,

  4. Tara

    Kim, excellent article as usual. You break down the tech jargon so everyone can understand. It is an excellent point to not download the file from an unknown source, it may seem fine, but unfortunately very likely has something like malware attached. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hi Tara, great to see you! Sometimes the easiest ways turn into nightmares, so it’s best to take time and do things up right the first time even if it does take a little longer and more patience.

  5. Gary

    Wow, there’s an acronym from the past! I wrote a fair few DLLs back in the day (and we’re talking 1990s here) when I was a professional programmer. I’ve been out of the programming game for 14 years now having moved full time into affiliate marketing.

    I thought DLLs were a thing of the past (like my programming skills) and that later programming languages and frameworks put paid to them. I can’t say I’ve seen a DLL error on any of my PCs in years and my work PC (Windows 7) has had tons of software installed and uninstalled on it over the years.

    My games PC runs Windows 10 which, to my mind, is a real step backwards from Windows 7 in terms of user-interface and user-friendliness. It’s unstable and I regularly get the (light) blue screen of death with it – it’s all Windows and nothing to do with the actual games I run on it. I think I’ll be moving to Linux next. No DLL issues there! 🙂

    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hi Gary, I think for the most part DLL is a thing of the past unless your running Windows XP, that OS seemed to always come up with those errors. But for some reason, people are still running into them because it is a popular topic in Google search. I agree with you on Windows 10, it’s too bad they didn’t stay with Windows 7 and improve on it. Oh well, let me know what you think of Linux, I’ve been thinking about giving it a try myself.

  6. Steve

    Kim, great information, I am more of the mainstream type of user, so this information was very helpful! I will come back to your site often to learn more!

    1. Kim (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by Steve and adding to the discussion here! I’m happy that you found this to be helpful.
      Until next time,

  7. Cynthia

    I used to have this issue on my old computer and was unable to fix it. If I ever see this again, I will know more how to fix it thanks to your excellent article. It still looks a little difficult though. What if these things do not work?

    1. Kim (Post author)

      Hi Cynthia, you really shouldn’t have any problem with DLL errors if you are running a new OS, the older ones like Windows XP were notorious for them. For the most part reinstalling the program that if having the issue will fix it, but if nothing does work just follow the instruction on resetting your OS.
      Thanks for stopping by,


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