How to Troubleshoot and Fix a DLL Issue Caused by a Hardware Problem

If reversing a recent hardware change doesn't fix the issue, test your RAM and hard drive for problems before opening your computer

Errors involving DLL files are most often caused by an issue in the software world—the file has been deleted, a virus has infected the file, etc.

Sometimes, however, the underlying cause of a DLL error is hardware related. If you suspect that this might be the case with your issue, the cause of the problem just got a bit more difficult to find and probably more expensive to solve.

These steps should only be followed after troubleshooting the error as a software issue, a more likely scenario. You can find a troubleshooting guide for your specific DLL error by searching for that error from the search bar on this page.

Close-Up Of Wires Connected To Laptop
Alexander Köpke / EyeEm / Getty Images

Time Required: Troubleshooting a DLL error with a hardware root cause could take as long as several hours

How to Fix a DLL Issue Caused by an Unknown Hardware Problem

  1. Did you just install or uninstall a piece of hardware? If so, there's a good chance the error you're seeing is related to this hardware change.

    Depending on what changes you made, here are some suggested solutions:

  2. Test your computer's memory. One very common result of a failing memory module is the sudden appearance of one or more DLL errors.

    Replace the memory in your PC if your tests show any problem whatsoever.

  3. Test your hard drive. Any DLL file located on a failing part of a hard drive will either become corrupted or completely disappear, causing errors among other problems.

    Replace the hard drive if your tests show a physical problem with the drive.

  4. Clear the CMOS. Clearing the BIOS memory on your motherboard will return the BIOS settings to their default levels. A misconfigured BIOS could cause problems with your hardware, causing a DLL error.

    If clearing the CMOS does fix the error, make sure any changes you make in BIOS are completed one at a time so if the error returns, you'll know which change caused the problem.

  5. Update your BIOS. In some cases, outdated BIOS could cause a hardware incompatibility that might generate a DLL error like the one you're seeing.

  6. Start your computer with essential hardware only. The purpose here is to remove as much hardware as possible while maintaining your ability to test for the DLL error.

    In general, essential hardware, in this case, would be the motherboard, CPU, RAM, video card, primary hard drive, monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

    If you no longer have the error with only essential hardware installed, proceed to Step 7.

    If you're still receiving the DLL error, proceed to Step 8.

    Don't skip this step. Learning what hardware is or isn't causing the DLL error will save you time and money when replacing hardware.

  7. Reinstall each piece of hardware you removed in Step 6, one piece at a time, testing after each installation.

    Since you're no longer seeing the error with only the essential hardware installed, one of the hardware components you removed is causing the DLL problem. By installing each device back into your PC and testing each time, you'll eventually find the hardware that's at the source of the problem.

    Replace the failed hardware once you've identified it. The above hardware installation videos should come in handy as you're reinstalling your hardware.

  8. Replace each piece of essential hardware in your computer with an identical or equivalent spare piece of hardware (that you know is working), one component at a time, to determine which piece of hardware is causing the DLL error.

    Test for the error after each hardware replacement to determine which component is faulty.

  9. Finally, if all else fails, you'll need to seek professional help from a computer repair service or from your computer manufacturer's technical support.

    Unfortunately, if you don't have working spare parts to swap in and out, you're left not knowing which piece of your essential PC hardware is faulty and causing the DLL error. In these cases, you have little option than to rely on the help of individuals or companies that have these resources.

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