A DLL (Dynamic Link Library) file is a type of file containing instructions needed by other programs to perform smoothly. Multiple programs can share the same DLL file to execute the commands.
You might have known about the executable programs having the EXE file extension. However, DLLs are also in the same format as of EXE files and even some may use the .EXE file extension. Mostly the DLL files end in the file extension .DLL, however, some others may use .OCX, .CPL, or .DRV.
What Are DLLs?
A DLL also is known as the Dynamic Link Library file is a library that contains all necessary sets of code and data for performing a particular activity in the Windows system. Here in the Dynamic Link Library files the word “dynamic” is used because the data is only put to use in a program when and only when it is required by the specific program otherwise this data always be available in memory.
DLL files are designed to be called upon by other apps. In fact, they are designed in such a way that they can be called upon by multiple apps at a particular time. Multiple DLL files can be associated together so that when the system requires a single DLL, a number of other DLLs are also called at the same time.
Also, DLL files provide an easy and convenient way of updating the parts of a program without rebuilding or reinstalling the entire program. If a single DLL is being used by the various programs then the benefits are multiplied.
Whenever a DLL file goes missing from your Windows OS, the media and graphics software on your system might not function properly. A DLL has icons, variables, and other executable code that is called upon by the applications to execute a task for that specific application.
When a DLL is called upon to execute a task it may use instructions from a different DLL, and such way the first DLL becomes dependent on the second. This affects the functioning of the DLL because instead of a chance for malfunctioning of the first DLL, it now depends on the second as well, in turn, which might affect the first DLL if it starts experiencing issues.
If a dependent DLL is upgraded to its higher version, overwritten with an older version, or missing from the computer, the program depending on the specific DLL file may no longer work as it was working in normal conditions.
Here I have listed some important things about DLL files that you need to know:
- Though they are executable files but in an indirect way.
- Every DLL file is responsible for a separate functionality.
- By using the code from the MSDN library, a DLL can be created.
- Every application on the computer consists of DLL as well as EXE files.
- Each DLL file is dependant on other DLL files for an application to load properly.
- Usually, the DLL errors can be fixed by simply adding a stub to the code of the DLL file.
- If this DLL file is missing, the application will not install and start throwing DLL errors.
- DLL files are called upon by the system depending on the options chosen during the installation of an application.
- Whenever software is upgraded to the higher version, the shared DLL file might be mismatched causing the upgrade to be unsuccessful.
How to Open a DLL file?
There are various types of DLL files available from Windows by default but third-party programs also install them too. Usually, no one has got the requirement to open a DLL file because there’s never really a need to edit anyone. Besides doing so can cause problems with programs and other DLLs.
As we all know that the DLL files are SYSTEM files, hence these files can’t be opened with a double click. If you want to play or manipulate the DLL files then you must be good at C programming, Windows programming. If you mishandled these files then the applications that are dependent on those files will not function properly. To read the code and to make any changes you need to take the help of a decompiler.
Why might DLLs go missing or corrupt?
As we all know that the DLLs are accompanied in a package and one DLL file may be used or called by various apps to perform or execute any task.
There are chances that whenever any app tried to update its DLL then the other DLLs in the package also get updated and in such case, the DLL files may be replaced or updated with the outdated DLL file.
It may be a fault in the installation of the main app like .NET or the bad sectors on the hard disk also may be the probable cause behind this.
How to fix a missing DLL file?
- Restart the computer.
- Press Windows+I keys to enter into the Safe Mode and then navigate to the settings options >Update and Security > Recovery screen.
- Choose Safe Mode or press F4.
- Perform a System Restore.
- Reinstall the program that uses that specific DLL file.
- Now press Windows+R keys to open the Run dialog box. Type cmd and press Enter to go to the command prompt.
- Type the command sfc/scannow and press Enter.
- Repair or clean install Windows.
Why should you avoid downloading a DLL file?
Due to the very often usage of DLL files, there is a large percentage of occurrence of the errors when starting, using, and shutting down Windows.
It might be very easy to just download that missing simply or not found the DLL file, that’s hardly the best way to fix the errors. However, there are chances of the occurrence of other errors in downloading the missing or corrupt DLL files.
In such a case if you are getting a DLL error, you should fix the error by troubleshooting information specific to that DLL problem and that is the only better way to solve it. You can also visit our How to Fix Errors for some general advice. Here’s why you shouldn’t download the DLL files.
Downloaded DLLs May Be Outdated
When it comes to fixing DLL errors, almost all of us strike to download the required DLL file from the internet when one is missing from your system?
However, the most common problem in downloading the DLL file from the internet is that they are outdated. The majority of the sites just upload these DLLs on their own or from the users. And there are chances of the outdated files if these are being uploaded by the user’s computers. All such sites are alive for the sake of your traffic and once the DLL file is uploaded, they have very little incentive to ensure that the file is kept up to date. Apart from this the vendors also don’t release updated DLLs to the public as individual files. The sites that try to keep files up to date are also not very successful.
Usually, all the DLLs are integrated into packages, any update to a DLL is accompanied with the updates to other DLLs. Means if you are getting any update to a specific DLL in that particular package then the other DLLs will get the update automatically.
Downloaded DLLs Can Be Infected
If you have downloaded the DLLs from the internet other than the vendors then there are chances of virus and malware to be downloaded along with the particular DLL.
This is particularly true on sites that are not much careful about where they are getting their files. Even these sites will not warn you about the consequences of having a virus while downloading the DLL files.
To get rid of the virus infection due to the DLL files you need to have a good, real-time antivirus app. However, you can not deny the fact that even a good, real-time antivirus app may not provide you perfect protection.
If you are in the habit of downloading risky files, it is much likely to encounter a virus infection at some point. So it is best to just avoid downloading files from these DLL sites.
How Can I Fix My DLL Error?
Though there are various other means to fix DLL errors also. However, the only best way to fix DLL errors is to get the required DLL through the source from which it originated. The best source to get the DLL file will be:
Windows Installation Media
It is the simple and easiest way to simply copy a DLL file from your installation media but you can opt this method before reinstalling Windows.
Also, you can use the Windows Resource Protection tool (such as the system file checker or SFC). It will help you in scanning and fix corrupt or missing system files in Windows.
Before running the tool don’t forget to keep your installation media ready as it may need to copy a file from installation media.
The Microsoft .NET Framework Packages
While installing Windows various versions of .NET are automatically installed along with Windows, and many apps also install files from those packages.
Various Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Packages
You may have multiple versions of the C++ Redistributable installed on your PC depending on the versions of apps you are using. Sometimes it can be very hard to figure out the culprit. So it is the best way to start from the C++ Redistributables.
The app that the DLL came with
Though almost all the DLLs are downloaded in packages. However, if the DLL was installed along with an app rather than a separate package, you can just reinstall the app to fix the error. Even some of the apps allow you to perform a repair rather than a full reinstallation.
If nothing worked for you then you can contact the app vendor and request a copy of the required individual DLL file. Though there are some exceptions in that also. Some companies welcome this request and some are not. However, if the company is not ready to provide a DLL file then definitely they would offer you other recommendations for fixing your error.
Here I am concluding my article.
I hope the information given in the article worked for you to fix the DLL error. Please make sure to follow the given solutions carefully.
If there is anything that I missed out, or you have better suggestions then feel free to share with us in the comment section below, we love to hear from you.