How to Replace Missing DLL Files on any Windows PC?

October 3, 2011 |

greater than 2 minutes

Missing DLL files is something that happens often enough to make the life of a computer user quite difficult, to put it mildly. But what exactly are DLLs? DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library. These libraries implement a number of system and software-level functions in Microsoft Windows OS. DLL files provide basic functions needed to run software applications and provide functions that are called upon by executable files. In short, DLLs are important files that your computer needs to be able to run properly.

There are hundreds of DLLs on a typical Windows system and the only time when users need to deal with them directly is when DLL errors start occurring. The most common type of DLL errors is when a DLL file disappears from your computer in a mysterious way. When that happens, the software that needs that particular DLL gives you a “xxxxxx.dll file is not found” error. DLLs can go missing because of a number of things, such as uninstalling software, removing a software component, or plain and simple bad hard drive sectors. To cut a long story short, there are lots of things that can damage DLL files. Fortunately, it’s possible to get the missing files back. Here is a strategy for you to follow.

Research the missing DLL file

The first thing you should do is find out which part of the OS or software does the missing DLL file belong to. It’s important to know the exact functions of the missing DLL and find out as much as you can about it. You can use to learn more about DLL files. For example, you’ll find out that nvcpl.dll is NVIDIA Display Properties Extension, whereas kernel32.dll belongs to the Windows NT BASE API Client.

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Reinstall the software that is missing a DLL

Sometimes DLL files disappear when an installation of a program doesn’t go well. When that’s the case, uninstalling the program and reinstalling it again usually fixes the problem. In addition to that, updating your OS can help restore the missing DLL files.

Download and install the missing DLLs

Sometimes the only way to fix a missing DLL error is to download and install the missing file. If you can, get it from either Microsoft or the software manufacturer. But if they are not available there, try downloading the missing DLLs from This is one of the oldest DLL download libraries, so downloading DLLs from there is quite safe.

Download the files you need, extract them from the .zip archive, and read the readme text file. When that’s done, you’ll need to register the DLL. Here is how:

  1. Click on Start and type cmd in the Search bar. On XP, go to Run first and type cmd there. Hit Enter
  2. Type regsvr32 <name_of_dll-file> and hit Enter
  3. Reboot your computer

This will replace the missing DLL file and your software should work properly again. 

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