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- Computing 101
This is what we call an oldie but a goodie. Or at least the problem is old and the solution is usually simple, which makes it pretty good for users. A RunDLL error sounds intimidating, but it shouldn't be. You can solve the problem easily enough through a quick fix to your registry.
What’s a RunDLL Error?
Of course, before you can fix the problem you have to know what the problem is. A DLL is a library file, otherwise known as a “dynamic-link library”. These DLL files are like mini storage places online where data is stored for programs to use when necessary. By storing data, programs can run save space and resources and your computer can run more efficiently…so long as the DLLs are working properly, that is.
Every time you turn on your computer, Windows starts looking for DLL files to tell it what to do. This is called RunDLL. Windows seeks out the stored information and uses it to get things up and running for you. But sometimes the RunDLL process doesn’t work. If the DLL files have gone missing, have been corrupted or the link to the file is messed up, the should-be-smooth process isn’t very smooth anymore.
Now you have a RunDLL error to deal with. Sadly, even with the very latest versions of Windows you’re still dealing with DLLs to get things booted up and working. That means every version of Windows is susceptible to RunDLL errors: the pics above are from Windows 8 and Windows 7.
Resolving a RunDLL Error in the Registry
Fortunately, in every version of Windows there is a straightforward solution to the problem. You will need to go into the registry and delete the old DLL file. When you then restart, Windows will see that the connection and the file is missing. It will resort all of the DLL files and the one you have deleted should be reinstalled automatically by Windows making the problem nicely resolved.
- To open the registry, type “Run” into the search bar.
- Then type in “Regedit”
- In the registry, drop down the folder labeled HKEY_CURRENT_USER
- In the list that appears, select “Software”.
- Then select “Microsoft”
- Next select “Windows”
- In the Windows menu select “CurrentVersion”
- Finally select “Run”
- In the menu to the right you should see a collection of files. Select the file that includes “RunDLL” in the file name.
- If you see the RunDLL file, proceed to the next section of these instructions.
- If you do not see the RunDLL file, go back to the top of the Registry. Then select HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
- Again open the “Software” menu followed by the “Microsoft” menu.
- Open the “Windows” menu.
- Open “CurrentVersion” and then “Run”
- Now you should see the RunDLL file on the right side of your registry screen.
Restoring the DLL File
Once you have located the RunDLL file on your machine, you have two options of how to proceed. The first is to simply delete the file by hitting your delete key. You will be prompted to confirm the deletion. Say yes and you’ll be ready to restart.
A safer method to accomplish this same this is to not delete the RunDLL file, but instead to simply rename it. Add a letter like “x” to the end of the file name. Now instead of a file called “rundll32.exe”, for example, you’ll now have a file named “rundll32x.exe”.
Your computer will be looking for the original file name so it won’t recognize your newly named file. Since you’ve changed the name, Windows will assume that the old DLL file is gone and it will make the necessary adjustments when you restart the computer.
If for some reason you realize that you need to restore the old DLL file, you will still have it in the same folder. All you have to do to restore it is to remove the letter you added to the end of the name. In essence you can restore your DLL file by changing the name from “rundll32x.exe” back to “rundll32.exe”.
Whether you delete the file or simple rename it, close out the registry windows and restart your machine. In most cases, simply deleting and restarting should solve the problem.
In some cases, however, there is more to do to make your registry work correctly. The delete and reboot method of resolving RunDLL errors assumes that the pathway to the file is the problem – not the file itself. If your DLL files are actually damaged, you’ll still be seeing the error message and this will require digging a bit deeper into the issue to find a solution.