NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Need a DLL?
by Bill Shook, Newsletter Editor, December 2000
(click to email author)

What in the world is a DLL, you might ask? Ever get a message on boot- up or when loading a program that tells you a .DLL file is either corrupt or missing? You have? Then read on.

A DLL file is a program or a collection of programs used by Windows and your application software to perform their functions. When a corrupt or missing DLL file message is received, it must be replaced.

First, when you see the DLL error message, copy down the name of the DLL and any other information provided. Next, look for a small box labeled Details within the error dialogue box. There'll usually be a Details box, but not always. Click it and it'll provide some supporting data, much of which you'll not be able to read or understand. Copy down the understandable things like the file causing the error, etc. Then take a snapshot of it with the Alt-PrntScrn keys. This'll make a .bmp graphic file out of it and put it in your Clipboard. Then paste it from the Clipboard into one of your graphic programs, probably MS Paint, which all Windows systems have. Then save it to a location you can find later, if necessary.

If it's a Windows DLL you can probably reload it from your hard drive or Windows CD disc. A backup copy of Windows DLL files can usually be found in the C:\windows\sysbckup folder and can be copied directly to the Windows or the Windows\system folder as is usually stated in the error message. DLLs can also be found condensed in CAB files, so it's well to have WinZip handy, which will display the DLL files within a CAB file and allow extracting them individually with a couple of mouse clicks. Otherwise, they need to be extracted with a similar 3rd party program or a command line program named Extract. I'd recommend getting some telephone assistance if this is the route that must be taken. The CAB files can usually be found in the C:\windows\options\cabs folder. If not, use the Find function to search for them, first on the hard drive, then on the Windows CD disc. Also, use the text feature of the Find function to locate which CAB file contains the DLL needed.

If the DLL needed is from an application program and you can't find it on your hard drive or source discs, it may be found on the program manufacturer's web site, probably with, or even called, Drivers. Otherwise, there is a handy web site that collects DLL files just for desperate souls like us. Go to: http://solo.abac.com/dllarchve/search.html and search for it. Note that for some reason unknown to me, this URL only works from a bookmark, at least with Netscape on my machine. It doesn't work when typed directly into the browser, but will work when typed directly into a bookmark. If the DLL isn't available, they provide a message board that can be used for hopefully getting it from some other user. In return, they ask that you periodically check the message board and help someone else if you can. I've used this site a few times both to get files and to help others and it works quite well. Let me know if I can help.

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