What is a DLL (.dll) file?
A DLL (.dll) file stands for Dynamic Link Library file, and it is a Windows system file that stores certain shared code and data, that are highly essential additional functionalities that other programs use to run. For example, a DLL file could be used by one or more programs simultaneously for various different tasks, such as printing, installing an application, finding a certain file on your hard drive, etc.
The various DLL files found in your local drive have all been created by the operating system, but a different program could install them as well. There are thousands of DLL files created by various programs on any operating system.
Programs call on these DLL files automatically and without the need for the user’s input.
The data stored in these DLL files is only loaded when the program itself uses the file, which means the data is not always loaded in memory. This allows programs to use way less memory because it does not need to load the DLL files until it is actively using them.
If a DLL file is upgraded, all the programs who use the functionality of that DLL file will be upgraded as well, giving the programs the ability to update without completely reinstalling or rebuilding the program. Likewise however, if a DLL file is removed or misplaced on a system, all the programs relying on the functions of that DLL file will no longer work as they should.
While the .dll extension is used for most Dynamic Link Library type files, some others might include extensions such as .drv, .cpl and .ocx.
What causes DLL file errors
Errors relating to DLL files are quite common and frustrating to deal with and can be difficult to troubleshoot and fix. The DLL error occurs when the program requesting the DLL function cannot load it.
The cause of this could be various things, from the DLL having a different name from the DLL file being called upon or the program not being able to provide a path to the DLL file, to the DLL file missing or being corrupted and unable to load.
The solution to these problems is very rarely as easy as just replacing the missing or corrupted DLL file.
NOTE: Never try and download a missing .dll file from the internet.
While websites that provide an easy download of single DLL files seem like a simple and easy solution, there are substantial problems with this method, even if they could be a legitimate download that could fix the problem for a short while, a lot of the times they are not.
Some websites host infected DLL files that may seem like an easy fix, but could seriously damage your system if downloaded. Downloading DLL files is not an officially approved source of obtaining DLL files, there is no guarantee that the downloaded DLL file is not infected.
If you have an antivirus program running, the infected DLL file might get quarantined after the download before it can do any harm, but there is no guarantee of that either. The best idea is to be on the side of caution and never download these files to begin with.
Even if you are sure the website you are downloading from is a trusted source, there are still other problems with this method. One of these problems is that the even if the original missing DLL file gets replaced, that is only one symptom of the larger issue the software is encountering. Usually, additional problems will show up later, such as yet more errors with missing DLL files. It is better to save yourself the trouble and fix the problem at its core.
Another issue with downloading DLL files is that these DLL files are outdated most of the time. Websites that provide DLL file downloads do not develop these files, and have very little incentive to actually update the files they provide. The only source that will always have the most up-to-date DLL files is the software company that developed the file, be it Windows or any other company. These companies rarely provide each individual DLL files for download, and as such a reinstall of the software will end up creating or repairing any broken DLL files.
Most frequent DLL file errors, and how to fix them.
Common.dll Not Found
Common.dll errors are caused by a corrupted or missing common DLL file. These files are used by various programs and this error could point to a malware issue, an issue with the registry, or hardware issues.
Common.dll errors can happen at any point from using or installing a program to booting up or shutting Windows down.
Here are some ways you could fix common.dll file errors:
- Running an antivirus full system scan.
Often common.dll errors are linked to a related virus or other malware infection, which can cause corruption or damage to a DLL file.
- Reinstalling a program that is causing the common.dll error.
If you are getting a common.dll error while using a specific program, reinstalling this program will create any needed DLL files, so it should fix the error by replacing the missing or corrupted DLL file.
- Run the command sfc/scannow.
This is a System File Checker command, which will replace any missing or corrupt copy of a common.dll file, if it is provided by Windows.
- Check for available Windows updates.
Often Windows updates contain service packs and patches that update or replace certain DLL files distributed by Windows. The missing DLL file that is causing the error could be in one of these service packs/patches.
- Test for hardware damage.
If you are encountering the common.dll error messages while attempting to use a new piece of hardware or loading a graphics intensive application, try updating the drivers for the new hardware or your graphics card. Keep in mind any recent addition you have added to your computer and try and figure out if it is the culprit for these error messages.
Xinput1_3.dll is Missing
If you are getting the Xinput1_3.dll is missing error, it most likely while trying to load a certain video game or similar application. While it could mean that this DLL file is missing, it could also indicate that the software is designed by the publisher to not use a certain DLL file.
To fix a Xinput1_3.dll is missing error, try the following steps:
- Updating your graphics card or sound card drivers.
These errors often happen if these is miscommunication between the game you are trying to run and your driver version, updating the drivers could fix this issue.
- Reinstalling DirectX could also re-create the necessary DLL files and fix the error message.
- Reinstalling the game or application that is causing the error.
The error could also be caused by the program files that are trying to use the DLL file, reinstalling the game could fix this issue.
D3dx9_43.dll Not Found
D3dx9_43.dll errors are caused by problems with the DirectX program. Since DirectX is used by most games on Windows, as well as certain other programs, these errors usually show up while trying to open up or while playing a game.
Here are some ways you could try and fix the D3dx9_43.dll error message:
- Update your DirectX to the latest version.
If you do not have the latest version of the DirectX software, chances are that most likely the latest version will contain the files that are causing the error message.
- Look for a DirectX install setup in the game installation file.
If updating your DirectX doesn’t fix the issue, the problem could be that there is a different older version of DirectX that is a better fit for the game, and the install setup file for that version is usually within the installation files of the game. Installing this version could fix the issue and get rid of the error message.
- Uninstalling the game and installing it again.
Just like with the previous error message, the problem could lie within the program files of the game that is trying to use the DLL file, and not with the DLL file itself. A quick reinstall of the game could fix this issue and stop the error messages.
Opening a DLL file
While you may want to open or edit a DLL file, that is most likely not necessary or useful, and will not fix your error messages. However, if you do want to open a DLL file, you could do so using the Windows Visual Studio application.
Here’s a quick guide on how to use this application to view a DLL file:
- Click on Search Bar within your Start Menu, or on your taskbar.
- In the Search Bar, type Visual Studio and press Enter.
- Once in the folder, click on the icon named Developer Command Prompt.
- Once the Command Prompt loads up, type “ILDASM.exe” and then press Enter.
- To open and view the DLL file, drag and drop it into the command prompt window.
You may now look through the DLL file and see which program it’s been created by.