How to Fix Advapi32.dll Not Found or Missing Errors

A troubleshooting guide for advapi32.dll errors

Software that depends on the use of the advapi32 DLL file may throw advapi32.dll errors if the file has become corrupted in some way or has been deleted from the computer.

It's possible that errors could mean there's an issue with the registry, that a malicious program has interfered with the DLL file, or even that there's been a hardware failure.

Errors relating to this DLL file might apply to any software programs that use it, like those in Microsoft's Windows 11, Windows 10, and older operating systems.

Advapi32.dll Errors

Advapi32.dll was not found error message

The error that's shown depends almost entirely on the reason it's there in the first place, so you may see any of the following error messages:

  • Advapi32.dll Not Found
  • This application failed to start because advapi32.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.
  • Cannot find [PATH]\advapi32.dll
  • The file advapi32.dll is missing.
  • Cannot start [APPLICATION]. A required component is missing: advapi32.dll. Please install [APPLICATION] again.
  • Advapi32.dll Access Violation

Noting when you see the error is an important part of the troubleshooting process. You might see the error message while using or installing a certain software program or while the Windows operating system is installing, starting up, or shutting down.

How to Fix Advapi32.dll Errors

There are many reasons why downloading a DLL file is a bad idea. You should never download advapi32.dll from a DLL download site. Getting a copy of the file from a validated, authentic source is always the safest way.

  1. Restore advapi32.dll from the Recycle Bin. If you're lucky, a "missing" advapi32.dll file could just be because it was accidentally deleted, in which case you can get it back from the Recycle Bin.

    If you think this is what has happened, but you've already emptied the Recycle Bin, you may be able to recover the file with a free file recovery program, since emptying the Recycle Bin doesn't necessarily permanently delete the file.

    If your computer doesn't start normally because of the error, you'll need to start Windows in Safe Mode before you can complete these steps.

    You should only recover a deleted DLL file if you're sure that it was working normally before you deleted it and that it wasn't corrupt or infected with a virus, and therefore deleted by your antivirus software.

  2. On some versions of Windows, the error "CreateProcessWithTokenW could not be located in the dynamic link library ADVAPI32.dll" can be solved by installing the Adobe Acrobat and Reader update.

  3. Run a virus/malware scan of your entire system. It may be the case that a malicious program or virus infection has damaged advapi32.dll and prevented it from working properly, or that a virus is installed on your computer that's acting like it's the real DLL file.

    If the file isn't authentic, then the programs that need to use it can't function properly and may display the errors seen above.

  4. Run the sfc /scannow System File Checker command to replace a missing or corrupt copy of the advapi32.dll file. Since some versions of Windows use this file, the System File Checker provided with the OS should be able to restore it.

    If the above steps were unable to restore the file, be sure to use the System File Checker tool before moving on with these steps. This method is more likely to fix the errors than the ones below.

  5. Use System Restore to undo recent system changes. Using System Restore could fix the problem you're having with the file if it was modified or deleted while important system files were being manipulated.

  6. Update the drivers for hardware devices that might be related to the file. If you see an error like "The file advapi32.dll is missing" while playing a video game, for example, then the problem likely lies there, in which case you can try updating the drivers for your video card.

    It's possible this file has something to do with video cards, but we're not positive—this was just an example to understand that it's important to remain aware of what's going on at the time of the error to get a better idea about what could be causing the problem.

  7. Roll back a device driver to a previously installed version if you suspect that the errors began after a particular hardware driver was updated.

  8. Install any available Windows updates. Since service packs and other patches installed via Windows Update will update and replace many Microsoft distributed DLL files on your computer, it's possible updating will replace or update the advapi32.dll file that's causing issues.

  9. Repair your installation of Windows. If you've made it to this step, then the individual troubleshooting advice from above has been unsuccessful. Running a startup repair or repair installation on the operating system should restore all Windows DLL files to their working versions, including any troublesome advapi32.dll files.

  10. Test your computer memory and then test your hard drive. Your RAM and hard drive are both easy to test for errors and may prove to be the reason for the errors.

    If any of the tests show that the hardware is failing, you should replace the memory or replace the hard drive as soon as you can.

    We've left the majority of hardware troubleshooting to the last step below.

  11. Use a free registry cleaner to repair registry issues that may be causing advapi32.dll errors. A free registry cleaner program may be able to help by removing invalid advapi32.dll registry entries that could be resulting in the errors.

    We rarely recommend the use of registry cleaners, but they're included as a "last resort" attempt before the destructive step coming up next.

  12. Perform a clean installation of Windows. Doing a complete, clean install erases all the files from the hard drive and then installs a fresh copy of Windows. If none of the above steps have corrected the error, this should be your next course of action.

    All the information on your hard drive will be erased if you complete this step. Make sure you've made the best attempt possible to fix the advapi32.dll error using a troubleshooting step prior to this one.

  13. Troubleshoot for a hardware problem if any errors persist. Reinstalling Windows refreshes everything on the software side, so if the DLL problem remains even after having a clean installation of Windows, then the problem must be hardware related.

Need More Help?

If you're not interested in fixing this problem yourself, see how to get your computer fixed for a full list of your support options, plus help with everything along the way like figuring out repair costs, getting your files off, choosing a repair service, and a lot more.

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