How to Fix DLL Files Missing Errors in Windows

Ben Stegner 19-02-2018

Seeing a DLL error on your Windows PC? These common errors The 5 Most Common Windows Errors and How to Fix Them Don't let a Blue Screen of Death ruin your Windows experience. We've collected causes and solutions for the most common Windows errors so you can fix them when they pop up. Read More are frustrating to troubleshoot because you often have to go through several steps to find the problem.


Let’s review some of the most common DLL errors and go through the process of troubleshooting these irritating issues.

What Is a DLL?

It helps to understand what your error message means before you begin troubleshooting it. DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library. Essentially, these files are a core part of Windows and allow programs to perform a variety of functions without writing them from scratch every time.

For instance, a program might access a DLL when it wants to display a message on the screen The 12 Most Ridiculous Windows Errors of All Time You probably see plenty of boring Windows error messages every day. Come enjoy some ridiculous ones, just for laughs. Read More . It uses the appropriate DLL to create this box instead of the developers having to make a new one. This results in more efficiency for programmers and standardization across Windows.

But when something goes wrong, that DLL file can go missing. And because many programs can share one DLL on your PC (even at the same time), often a DLL error doesn’t indicate a problem with just one app. This is part of what makes troubleshooting a pain.

Common DLL Errors

As you might imagine, some DLLs pop up in error messages more frequently than others. Here are some of the DLLs most known for causing issues.


MSVCP140, MSVCP120, MSVCP110, and MSVCP100

how to fix dll errors in windows

All four of these are different versions (14.0, 10.0, etc.) of the same DLL. MSVC stands for Microsoft Visual C++, an extremely common format for Windows applications.

Chances are that if you open your installed programs list, you’ll see multiple entries labeled Microsoft Visual C++ 20xx Redistributable. Whenever you install a program that needs a particular version of this package, it prompts you to do so or it won’t work.

Because this file is used by so many applications, it commonly shows up in errors How to Fix Windows Visual C++ Runtime Errors Visual C++ Errors are a common problem for Windows users. But do you know how to fix them? Read More . Users report issues with this when launching Skype, the WordPress app, and various games.



These two DLLs are companions of the above. While the CP in those stands for C++, these files contain libraries in the C programming language. These two numbers are again different versions of the same file, and you likely have multiple versions installed thanks to program compatibility.

Since these are so common, errors often appear when you launch a variety of software.


The “link” in Dynamic Link Library exists for a reason—here’s another DLL that’s related to the first two. Versions 7 to 13 of the Visual C++ library DLLs used a different name for each version, resulting in the above common files. Starting with version 14, programs using either language have to link to another new DLL. Its name is VCRUNTIME, which changes with each new version.

This error is known to occur when trying to run Adobe Creative Cloud software A Complete Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud Do you find yourself overwhelmed by Photoshop? Are you unsure how to perform even the most simple tasks? In this guide, we take a look at the absolute basics of the Adobe software. Read More , as well as Kodi.



Here’s a DLL with a different root. The DX in this file name refers to Microsoft DirectX, a collection of APIs for running multimedia games and apps. The 43 in the title refers to a specific version, so you may also see this with another number.

Since your computer only uses DirectX for these intensive programs, you’re likely to see this error when starting a video game.


Lame_enc isn’t an insult to your PC. It refers to the LAME (LAME Ain’t an MP3 Encoder) encoder that allows audio software to convert to MP3. Due to software patents The Death of MP3: A Brief History of the World's Favorite Audio Format The German foundation that owns the patent to venerable "old" music format MP3 recently announced that they would let their patent lapse. Read More , programs legally can’t include MP3 encoding software. Thus, you’ll need to install LAME on your own.

The majority of users who see this error will have LAME installed for use in Audacity Audacity 2.2.0 Features You Need to Know About Audacity has never been lacking for features -- but the latest version comes with some serious improvements. Read on to see what's new! Read More . If you’re not using Audacity, you’ll probably see this error when you try to load or save an MP3.


Before you follow all the troubleshooting steps below, make sure you actually have LAME installed. If you see a message from Audacity starting with Audacity does not export MP3 files directly…, download LAME and try again.


Probably the most serious error on the list, NTDLL is a file that handles NT kernel functions. NT used to stand for New Technology and was once a part of the Windows product name, but now is only included in technical Windows information.

Errors about this DLL are often caused by driver issues or a problem with Windows interfacing with a program. Because this file handles low-level system functions, crashes often prevent you from booting into Windows.

How to Troubleshoot DLL Errors

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the most common errors, let’s walk through the general process of troubleshooting them Windows Troubleshooting for Dummies Windows takes a lot of crap for problems outside of its control. Learn about the biggest issues people incorrectly pin on Windows and how to actually troubleshoot them. Read More . Note that these are generic troubleshooting steps and may not apply to every error. But if you’re getting an error because DLL files are missing, this sequence will help.

  1. Reboot
  2. Check for the missing DLL
  3. Install Windows updates
  4. Reinstall the affected program
  5. Update relevant drivers
  6. Perform a system file check
  7. Scan for malware
  8. Re-register the DLL
  9. Try a System Restore
  10. Reset Windows

Step 0: What Not to Do

When troubleshooting DLL errors, you will almost certainly come across websites claiming they can fix all your problems with a simple download of the DLL file you need. Do not download DLL files from these websites.

Like driver update utilities, you have no way of knowing where these sites got their DLLs from. Thus, they’re almost certainly not official, are often outdated, and could contain malware. Plus, replacing a single DLL is often not enough to fix your issue, which means tracking down a new one is a waste of time.

Also, avoid jumping right to the specific DLL file that causes the error, and don’t dig around in the Windows Registry. These advanced steps are not necessary in most cases, and you could easily end up causing more problems How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry Working with the Windows registry? Take note of these tips, and you'll be much less likely to do lasting damage to your PC. Read More .

Step 1: Reboot

As with most troubleshooting, rebooting should be what you try first Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues? "Have you tried rebooting?" It's technical advice that gets thrown around a lot, but there's a reason: it works. Not just for PCs, but a wide range of devices. We explain why. Read More . If you’re lucky, your issue is just a minor glitch and a reboot will clear it up. Save your work, reboot, and try whatever caused the error again.

Step 2: Check for the Missing DLL

It’s not likely since Windows protects the folders 5 Default Windows Files and Folders You Should Never Touch Windows contains countless default files and folders, many of which the average user shouldn't touch. Here are five folders you should leave alone to avoid damaging your system. Read More containing DLLs, but you (or a program) may have deleted a DLL by mistake. Check the Recycle Bin for the DLL in question and restore it if you find it there. If you think you deleted it but already emptied the Recycle Bin, use a restoration program The Best Free Data Recovery Tools for Windows Data loss can strike at any time. We will highlight the best free data recovery tools for Windows to help get your precious files back. Read More .

Step 3: Install Windows Updates

how to fix dll errors in windows

Since many DLL errors are related to Microsoft-distributed libraries, checking for Windows updates How to Find Out Every Last Thing About Windows Update Once a month on Patch Tuesday, Microsoft releases cumulative updates to all Windows users. We'll show you how to gather information about updates and which Windows Update settings you should be aware of. Read More can resolve issues by downloading the newest versions. This is especially important if you’ve put off installing updates 7 Ways to Temporarily Turn Off Windows Update in Windows 10 Windows Update keeps your system patched and safe. In Windows 10 you're at the mercy of Microsoft's schedule unless you know hidden settings and tweaks. So, keep Windows Update under control. Read More for some time.

After you install any available updates, reboot your system again to make sure they’re applied.

Step 4: Reinstall the Affected Program

Sometimes a particular program can get tripped up when accessing a DLL file. It’s worth uninstalling whatever program is giving the error and re-installing a fresh copy. This may be a bit of work depending on what’s giving you the issue, but it’s an important step.

Step 5: Update Relevant Drivers

If the DLL error pops up when you deal with a specific piece of hardware, you should update the appropriate drivers. For example, if you see the error every time you try to print, try updating your printer’s driver. Update your graphics card driver How to Find & Replace Outdated Windows Drivers Your drivers might be outdated and need updating, but how are you to know? Here's what you need to know and how to go about it. Read More if the error happens during graphics-intensive tasks like launching a game.

Step 6: Perform a System File Check

Next, you should try running the SFC (System File Checker) command How to Fix Corrupted Windows System Files With One Command If you're seeing weird issues in Windows, it could be due to system files becoming corrupted. Here's how to fix them using the System File Checker. Read More . This has Windows check various system files and fixes any that are missing or damaged How to Fix a Corrupted Windows 10 Installation System corruption is the worst that could happen to your Windows installation. We show you how to get Windows 10 back on track when suffering from BSODs, driver errors, or other unexplained issues. Read More .

To do so, type cmd into the Start Menu. Right-click its entry, and choose Run as administrator. Then, enter the following command:

sfc /scannow

This scan will take a while, so run it when you have a few minutes. When it finishes, Windows will tell you if it found any problems.

Step 7: Scan for Malware

While DLL errors aren’t necessarily caused by malware, they could be. Perhaps an infection damaged a DLL file in the past or is messing with one now. Run a scan with your antivirus and then use the free version of Malwarebytes for a second opinion, just to rule it out.

Step 8: Re-Register the DLL

At this point, it’s worth trying to unregister and re-register the DLL file. This forces Windows to “forget” the DLL for a moment and re-establishes the component, which can fix the issue.

Open another elevated Command Prompt Essential Windows CMD Commands You Should Know The bleak interface of the command prompt is your gateway to advanced Windows tools. We show you essential CMD commands that will let you access them. Read More by typing cmd into the Start Menu, then right-clicking and choosing Run as administrator. Type the following commands one at a time, adding in the name of the problematic DLL:

regsvr32 /u FILENAME.dll
regsvr32 FILENAME.dll

Step 9: Try a System Restore

how to fix dll errors in windows

If this error started recently, a System Restore can take you back in time and hopefully reverse the problem.

Type control panel into the Start Menu, open it, and select Recovery. Here, select Open System Restore. Follow the prompts to choose a restore time and let Windows complete the process.

Check out our help on troubleshooting System Restore 12 Tips to Fix Windows System Restore Struggling with creating a system restore point or rolling back to a system state? Here are twelve tips to help get your Windows System Restore up and running once again. Read More if you run into issues.

Step 10: Reset Windows

how to fix dll errors in windows

At this point, you’ve done nearly all the troubleshooting you can. If you’re sure that you’ve installed all available Windows and driver updates, reinstalled the program, tried the Command Prompt utilities, and rebooted (recently), then you should proceed with resetting Windows 4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows Computer Want to know how to factory reset a PC? Here are the best methods to reset a Windows computer. Read More .

Thankfully, you can use the Reset This PC function to reinstall a fresh copy of Windows without removing your personal files. Hopefully, it never gets to this point. But after all the above troubleshooting, you should just reset and avoid wasting even more time troubleshooting.

What DLL Errors Drive You Crazy?

Now you know the roots of some common DLL errors and how to troubleshoot them. Unfortunately, these issues are some of the most frustrating to troubleshoot, so we wish you luck. Hopefully, your issue will disappear with a few quick updates and a reboot.

For more, check out our complete guide to troubleshooting the Fall Creators Update The Complete Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Troubleshooting Guide Have you run into a Windows 10 Fall Creators Update bug? You found the right place to look for fixes. Here are the solutions for the most common problems. Read More .

Related topics: Drivers, System Restore, Troubleshooting, Windows 10, Windows Update.

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