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Managing DLLs in Windows Server 2003


There are many reasons why an application might not install completely or correctly. One common reason for a problem installation is corrupt, missing, or nonregistered Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs). This tip will go through what a DLL is, what it does, and will give an overview of the tool for manually registering and unregistering these files with the Windows Server 2003 operating system.

What is a DLL?

There may already be a DLL contained in Windows Server 2003 that performs certain functions. If this is true, the application can call the existing DLL, eliminating the need to rewrite the code.

This sounds like a developer issue, so why do I need to care about it?

DLL files affect administrators because the files fail to register with Windows upon installation of an application. If the DLL files are not properly registered, the application will not function as designed and, in many cases, will not start at all.

To register a DLL in Windows Server 2003, there is a simple command line tool available. Follow these steps:

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. At the prompt, type regsvr32 "path to DLL file".
  3. Press [Enter].

Note: You may replace only third-party DLLs or DLLs installed by hotfixes, service packs, or other updates. Windows does not allow alteration of protected system DLLs.

If you need to uninstall a registered DLL, you can add the /u switch to the command. Here is a quick example:

  1. Open a command prompt.
  2. At the prompt, enter the following command to register mynewdll.dll: Regsvr32 mynewdll.dll <enter>. You will get a message in the command prompt window letting you know if the registration succeeded or failed.
  3. To uninstall a registered DLL, enter the following at the command prompt: Regsvr32 /u mynewdll.dll <enter>. A command line message will let you know if the operation succeeded or failed.

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About

Derek Schauland has been tinkering with Windows systems since 1997. He has supported Windows NT 4, worked phone support for an ISP, and is currently the IT Manager for a manufacturing company in Wisconsin.

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