How to Fix Atl.dll Not Found or Missing Errors

A Troubleshooting Guide

Screenshot of an atl DLL error message in Windows
Atl.dll Error Message.

Atl.dll errors are caused by situations that lead to the removal or corruption of the atl DLL file.

In some cases, atl.dll errors could indicate a registry problem, a virus or malware issue, or even a hardware failure.

There are several different ways that atl.dll errors can show up on your computer. Here are some of the more common ways that you might see atl.dll errors:

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

Because atl.dll should exist in the C:\Windows\System32\ folder, you might see an atl.dll error when doing all sorts of things that require that important DLL file.

For example, the atl.dll error message might be seen while using or installing certain programs like a web browser or the System Restore utility, when Windows starts or shuts down, or maybe even during a Windows installation.

The atl.dll error message could be seen on any of Microsoft's operating systems including Windows 10Windows 8Windows 7Windows VistaWindows XP, and Windows 2000.

How to Fix Atl.dll Errors

Important: Do not download atl.dll from a "DLL download" website. There are many reasons why downloading a DLL file is a bad idea. If you need a copy of atl.dll, it's best to obtain it from its original, legitimate source.

Note: Start Windows in Safe Mode to complete any of the following steps if you're unable to access Windows normally due to the atl.dll error.

  1. Restore atl.dll from the Recycle Bin. The easiest possible cause of a "missing" atl.dll file is that you've mistakenly deleted it.

    If you suspect that you've accidentally deleted atl.dll but you've already emptied the Recycle Bin, you may be able to recover atl.dll with a free file recovery program.

    Important: Recovering a deleted copy of atl.dll with a file recovery program is a smart idea only if you're confident you've deleted the file yourself and that it was working properly before you did that.

  1. Run a virus/malware scan of your entire system. Some atl.dll errors could be related to a virus or other malware infection on your computer that has damaged the DLL file. It's even possible that the atl.dll error you're seeing is related to a hostile program that's masquerading as the file.

  2. Use System Restore to undo recent system changes. If you suspect that the atl.dll error was caused by a change made to an important file or configuration, a System Restore could solve the problem.

  3. Copy the atl.dll file from another location on your computer. Windows keeps a couple copies of this file, so if atl.dll is missing from the C:\Windows\System32\ folder (which is where it should be), you should be able to find it elsewhere and then put a copy in the System32 folder.

    In Windows 10 and other newer versions of Windows, a subfolder within C:\Windows\WinSxS\ probably holds one copy. In Windows XP, and possibly older Windows versions, look for an atl.dll copy in C:\Windows\System32\dllcache\.

    Tip: You can search your whole computer with a program like Everything if you're having troubles using the built-in search tool in Windows.

    Important: If you find atl.dll in one of those other secure locations, go ahead and copy it to the System32 folder. However, if you see atl.dll anywhere else, like on your desktop or in your downloads folder, promptly delete it since it's most likely not a genuine copy.

  1. Reinstall the program that uses the atl.dll file. If the atl.dll DLL error occurs when you use a particular program, reinstalling the program should replace the file.

  2. Update the drivers for hardware devices that might be related to atl.dll. If, for example, you're receiving a "The file atl.dll is missing" error when you play a 3D video game, try updating the drivers for your video card.

    Note: The atl.dll file may or may not be related to video cards - this was just an example. The key here is to pay very close attention to the context of the error and troubleshoot accordingly.

  3. Roll back a driver to a previously installed version if atl.dll errors began after updating a particular hardware device's driver.

  1. Run the sfc /scannow System File Checker command to replace a missing or corrupt copy of the atl.dll file. Since this DLL file is provided by Microsoft, the System File Checker tool should restore it.

  2. Install any available Windows updates. Many service packs and other patches replace or update some of the hundreds of Microsoft distributed DLL files on your computer. The atl.dll file could be included in one of those updates.

  3. Test your memory and then test your hard drive. We've left the majority of hardware troubleshooting to the last step, but your computer's memory and hard drive are easy to test and are the most likely components that might cause atl.dll errors as they fail.

    If the hardware fails any of your tests, replace the memory or replace the hard drive as soon as possible.

  4. Repair your installation of Windows. If the individual atl.dll file troubleshooting advice above is unsuccessful, performing a startup repair or repair installation should restore all Windows DLL files to their working versions.

  5. Use a free registry cleaner to repair atl.dll related issues in the registry. A free registry cleaner program may be able to help by removing invalid atl.dll registry entries that might be causing the DLL error.

    Important: We rarely recommend the use of registry cleaners. We've included the option here as a "last resort" attempt before the destructive step coming up next.

  6. Perform a clean installation of Windows. A clean install of Windows will erase everything from the hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows. If none of the steps above correct the atl.dll error, this should be your next course of action.

    Important: All the information on your hard drive will be erased during a clean install. Make sure you've made the best attempt possible to fix the atl.dll error using a troubleshooting step prior to this one.

  1. Troubleshoot for a hardware problem if any atl.dll errors persist. After a clean install of Windows, your DLL problem can only be hardware related.

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