How to Fix Dwmapi.dll Not Found or Missing Errors

If the SFC command doesn't fix the error, your PC has a backup of the file

Dwmapi.dll errors are caused by situations that lead to the removal or corruption of the dwmapi DLL file. In some cases, dwmapi.dll errors could indicate a registry problem, a virus or malware issue, or even a hardware failure.

This file is associated with Microsoft's Desktop Window Manager.

Dwmapi.dll Errors

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

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

Dwmapi.dll error messages might appear while using or installing certain programs, when Windows starts or shuts down, or even during a Windows installation.

The context of the dwmapi.dll error is an important piece of information that will be helpful while solving the problem.

Dwmapi.dll errors could be seen in Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8Windows 7Windows VistaWindows XP, or Windows 2000.

How to Fix Dwmapi.dll Errors

Do not download dwmapi.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 this file, it's best to obtain it from its original, legitimate source.

Follow these steps in order to troubleshoot the problem:

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

    If you suspect that you've accidentally deleted dwmapi.dll, but you've already emptied the Recycle Bin, you may be able to recover it with a free file recovery program. Just make sure you're confident that you deleted the file (as opposed to your AV program), and that it was working properly before you did that.

    Start Windows in Safe Mode to complete any of these steps if you're unable to access Windows normally due to the dwmapi.dll error.

  2. Run a virus/malware scan of your entire system. Some dwmapi.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 error you're seeing is related to a hostile program that's masquerading as the file.

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

  4. 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 dwmapi.dll file could be included in one of those updates.

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

  6. Reinstall the program that uses the dwmapi.dll file. If the dwmapi.dll DLL error occurs when you use a particular program, reinstalling the program should cause it to re-associate with the dwmapi.dll file.

  7. Copy the dwmapi.dll file from a backup folder. Windows should have a backup copy of dwmapi.dll in at least one folder, or two if you're on a 64-bit version of Windows:

    %windir%\WinSxS\amd64...\dwmapi.dll can be copied to %windir%\System32\.


    %windir%\WinSxS\x86...\dwmapi.dll can be copied to %windir%\SysWOW64\.

    dwmapi.dll file

    A super easy way to find another copy of dwmapi.dll is to search your whole computer for the file. You should find those locations above; just copy the file out of the folder you see above and paste it into the other folder above that correlates to the first folder.

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

    This 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.

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

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

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

    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.

  12. Perform a clean installation of Windows. This will erase everything from the hard drive and install a fresh copy of Windows. If none of the steps above correct the dwmapi.dll 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 dwmapi.dll error using a troubleshooting step prior to this one.

Need More Help?

If you're not interested in fixing this problem yourself, see How Do I Get My 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.

Was this page helpful?