Jan 31, 2011
Valerie Hayworth

Are You Causing Your PC’s DLL Errors?

Your Guide to DLL’s & DLL Errors

windows xp dll error message

A Windows XP DLL Error Message

What is a DLL Error?

A DLL error is the most common Windows error. You’ve likely had a message pop up, at least once or twice, informing you that a DLL error has occurred. If you’re like a lot of people, you probably shut your computer down and rebooted, hoping the problem had gone away. But, what exactly is a DLL error, and how does it affect your computer?

DLL stands for Dynamic Link Library. Essentially, a DLL file is a necessary component of a particular program or application. Without that DLL file, the program or application cannot run properly. Some DLL files are shared by numerous programs, and if a particular DLL file becomes corrupted or is accidentally deleted, it could wreak havoc on how those programs, that are associated with it, are run.

Are You Causing Your PC’s DLL Errors?

Perhaps equally as frustrating as a DLL error is not knowing what causes it. A DLL error may be the result of one of several things, such as:

- While uninstalling a program, a user tends to uninstall the DLL files from the computer also. And the problem begins here because the uninstalled files are required by other applications on the computer. Thus, in the absence of these DLL files, the other applications stop responding in the proper manner.

- If you attempted to install a program but it for failed some reason, one or more of the DLL files could have become corrupted.

- If your hard drive is beginning to die, DLL files may end up becoming corrupted.

- Either an application on your computer, or someone else who has access to your computer, may have accidentally deleted a necessary DLL file.

- Sometimes when you install a new program, the DLL files already on your computer are overwritten by the DLL files associated with the new program. Unfortunately, sometimes DLL files are overwritten by either incompatible, new, or even old DLL files.

- Viruses and spyware can infect your computer and corrupt or delete essential DLL files. Make sure you run anti-virus software regularly as it will search for and destroy any problems that it finds.

Dll Error Types

windows vista dll error

A Windows Vista DLL Error Message

Missing DLL – this means that a call has been made by an application for a particular DLL. However, that DLL could not be found. In some cases this means that the DLL file in questions cannot be found on your system. However, when a DLL is called, the application must provide a path to that library.

A missing DLL error can occur in cases where the actual DLL name does not match the name of the DLL being called.  It may also mean that the path being called does not match the actual path of the existing DLL. The DLL may be on your system, but it is possible that it could have an incorrect name or be in the incorrect location. This could be an error with the DLL itself or with the coding of the application causing the error.

Corrupt DLL – a DLL, like any other file or folder on your computer, can become corrupt. They become corrupt for one of a number of reasons. Spyware or virus infections can certainly lead to a number of important files on your system becoming corrupt. If you have manually attempted to alter the contents of a file, then this too can lead to a corruption. An interrupted installation, or even an interrupted execution of the DLL may also lead to a corrupt DLL error message.

Spyware and Virus Infection – Spyware applications and viruses are rife. Even with antispyware software installed it is possible that you could have contracted an infection on your system. When this occurs you will most typically be informed that the DLL has become corrupt and cannot be used properly. However, some infections may attempt to alter the contents of a DLL so that it can still be executed. This may be done so that it executes a very different function, or so that your system hangs or freezes because it is attempting to complete a never ending function.

Incorrect DLL Version – DLLs are updated fairly regularly. In some cases, if you have the incorrect version installed on your system then this may cause errors. However, most DLLs are backwards compatible. This means that if you install a new version, but another application is calling for an older version you should not experience any problems.

Where errors of this nature tend to occur is when one application installs an older version of a DLL, while an existing application is demanding an older version. These errors are relatively rare, but when they occur, they can be the most troublesome to resolve.

Windows 7 dll error

A Windows 7 DLL Error Message

General Protection Fault (GPF) – a General Protection Fault typically results in an error message that reads something along the lines of “…has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down”. You are then forced to shut down the application, or it will be automatically closed down. Typically, you will continue to receive this error either when you try to open the application, or when you attempt to run a particular function within that program.

A GPF usually occurs because a DLL no longer exists at the given location. The Windows Operating System or the application itself will display the GPF in order to prevent a total system crash. The software has called the error message rather than shut down your system. If the call for this error message does not exist then you may receive a more serious error.

These are only some of the more recognizable problems that can occur with your system associated with DLLs. There are many other problems that may manifest themselves in different ways. System crashes, the blue screen of death, and software that freezes may also be indicative that you have a problem with a DLL file somewhere within your system. Typically, each problem has its own resolution but there are certain things you can do to attempt to resurrect your computer from these errors.


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  • Thank you, This is the first and time the explanation has been clear and understandable.

  • Its a first time for me too, i didn’t know what a DLL was either.!!!

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