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Filed Under: Windows XP   

What are DLL files used for?

A Dynamic Link Library (DLL) file comprises a program code that is used by Windows operating systems and applications installed on them to perform one or more functions. DLL files cannot be run manually by users. They need to be called on either by other DLL or executable files. There are a number of DLL files included within all Windows operating systems launched after Win 95. Many other DLL files are installed on your system when you install various applications on your computer.

DLL files can be used to perform both simple functions, such as including a search feature in applications, and to perform more complicated tasks, such as a module in a programming language. DLL files also help in splitting an application into smaller and separate DLL files. This way, only the information (DLL) that is needed to perform a task is loaded in the memory and all other DLL files remain on the hard disk.

Causes of Windows XP DLL Errors

Conflicts due to incompatible, corrupt, or missing DLL files are one of the major causes of DLL errors on your system. If your PC frequently encounters DLL errors, it is said to be in DLL hell. Some of the causes of corrupt and missing DLL files are listed below:

  • A recently installed application overwrote an existing DLL with an older or incompatible DLL file.
  • A DLL shared across multiple applications was removed when you uninstalled an application.
  • A faulty application—mostly unsolicited freeware and shareware applications you download from the Internet—corrupted one or more DLL files.
  • Malware programs have deleted a DLL file or a file associated with it.
  • Malfunctioning hardware, such as a faulty hard drive, motherboard, or memory.

Fixing Windows XP DLL Errors

In case DLL errors are not allowing you to startup your Windows XP PC normally, then start it in Safe mode—Press F8 at system startup and select the appropriate option. If your system starts up in Safe mode, then you can use System Restore utility to roll back to a previous known working configuration. You may also run the sfc /scannow command to verify that all protected Windows files are fine, scan the system for errors, and repair these errors.

If you are encountering missing DLL errors that are related to only a single DLL file, then in most cases you can fix this error by reinstalling this DLL file. For this, first search for and download the latest version of the particular DLL file from the Internet. You may also copy the DLL file from another computer from the network. However, when you copy, you must ensure that you are copying a compatible DLL file. Next, register the DLL file on your system by running the REGSVR32 /u DLL_Name.dll command.

If the DLL errors are generated only when you launch a particular application then it might indicate that this application is not installed properly on the computer. Most of the time, you can fix this error by uninstalling and reinstalling the application. After you uninstall, you may choose to use a registry cleaner software to remove all traces of the application from the registry and the system. Next, reinstall the application to fix the problem. You may also check if there are any updates available for the application on the website of the developer of your application.

If the DLL error occurs after you have uninstalled a program, then it is most probable that the uninstallation process has removed a DLL file that is required to run Windows or an application installed on it. To resolve this error, uninstall the application and reinstall it. Next, uninstall it again and ensure that when the uninstall process prompts, you choose to retain all required DLL files on the system.

To prevent DLL errors related to malware programs, regularly run antivirus and anti-spyware scans on your system.

Frequent occurrences of DLL errors are quite troublesome and irritating. To prevent XP DLL errors, you must be a vigilant user and be careful when you install and uninstall applications from your system. You must keep your PC healthy by regularly running antivirus scans on it to keep it free from harmful malware infestations. You must also keep your registry free of unwanted and obsolete DLL entries. You can do so by using an efficient and reliable registry cleaner software.

Additional Recommendations...

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.