Dynamic Link Library (DLL) files are external code repositories that are dynamically loaded and executed by different programs in Windows operating systems to perform specific tasks. Each DLL file can be used by many different programs to perform a specific function. Kernel32.dll is one of the main DLL files in Windows operating systems used to perform basic functions such as managing memory and I/O functions.
With thousands of DLL files being used on Windows systems, you are quite likely to encounter DLL errors at one time or other. A computer that is frequented by DLL errors is said to have entered DLL hell.
Once in DLL hell, you are likely to encounter a large number of DLL errors. Corrupt and missing DLL files, DLL version conflicts, inaccessible DLLs, and incompatible DLL files are some of the common DLL errors.
Causes of DLL Errors
Some of the common reasons for DLL errors are listed below.
- Overwriting of a new version of DLL file with an earlier version when an application is installed
- Deletion of a shared DLL when an application is uninstalled causing missing DLL errors
- Faulty hardware such as a faulty hard disk drive or memory causing damage to DLL files
- Corruption due to problems in an application accessing the DLL file
- Deletion of a DLL file by a malicious software such as a virus or a spyware
- Invalid or incorrect DLL entries in the Windows registry
Fix DLL Problems
Methods to fix DLL problems are based on the source of the problem. The source of DLL errors can be broadly categorized into two categories – errors due to application and errors due to malware.
Errors Due to Application
Most of the DLL errors generated due to an application can be resolved by restoring the original DLL file. To restore the DLL file, you will need to first check for a new version of the application or any patch released by the manufacturer. If you find a patch, then you can restore your system by installing the patch following the provided instructions. In case this cannot be done, then you will have to search and download the missing or corrupt DLL file from the Internet and restore it to its destination.
In Windows XP, if this does not resolve the problem, then you might have to use the System Restore utility.
Errors Due to Malware
Malware is also one of the major causes of DLL errors. Even the most experienced computer users have to face the problem put forth by malicious software. Malware creep stealthily into your computer when you access certain web sites or open spam mail. They slowly spread over your system files. The main motive of these malicious files is to infect your computer with bad programs that increase errors on your PC. They also add invalid entries in the system registry thereby corrupting the registry. The best way to deal with malware is to perform regular antivirus and anti-spyware scans on your PC.
You can also download registry cleaner software from the Internet to regularly scan and fix the registry to remove any invalid entries added to it by malicious software. The software also helps you in eliminating invalid DLL entries and corrupt values from the registry. This helps you in keeping the registry compact and healthy, which in turn, reduces errors on the system and improves performance.
Occurrence of DLL errors indicates that your system has entered DLL hell. One of the best methods to avoid DLL errors from occurring is by being careful when installing or uninstalling applications. If you are prompted that a shared DLL is being uninstalled, you must pause the installation and search for the uses of that DLL file. Uninstall the DLL only if it is being used only by the application you are uninstalling. Otherwise, maintain it on the system. In the same way, when you are installing a new application, do not install DLLs that are older than DLLs already present on your system. Additionally, run frequent registry scans to search and remove for malicious entries from the registry, fix dll errors, and keep it healthy. These measures will ensure that you have an error free system in good working condition.
Driver Update: Many errors are related to driver problems such as obsolete, outdated or incompatible drivers. A driver update tool is recommended to scan your system for corrupted and outdated drivers and to ensure that all your drivers stay up-to-date.