How to Fix Kernel.dll Errors

If a virus scan doesn't help, reinstall the program or run System Restore

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

Kernel.dll Errors

kernel DLL error message in Windows

There are several ways that kernel.dll errors can show up on your computer. Here are some of the more common kernel.dll errors:

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

If the DLL file explained in the error on your computer isn't the same one talked about on this page, you might actually be dealing with a kernel32.dll error, which refers to a different file.

Kernel.dll error messages might appear while using or installing certain programs, when Windows starts or shuts down, or during a Windows installation. It could apply to any program or system that might utilize the file on any of Microsoft's operating systems, including Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, etc.

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

How to Fix Kernel.dll Errors

Follow these steps in the order they're presented to try the easier fixes first.

Do not download kernel.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.

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

    If you suspect this, but you've already emptied the Recycle Bin, you may be able to recover the file with a free file recovery program. Just make sure it was working properly before you deleted it (i.e., it wasn't malicious or corrupted in some way).

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

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

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

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

    Try your best to complete this step. Reinstalling the program that provides the kernel.dll file, if possible, is a likely solution to this DLL error.

  5. Run the program as an administrator if you still get the DLL error even after reinstalling it. Some users have reported that, after installing a patch or update to a program, they get the "kernel.dll was not found" error.

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

    The kernel.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.

  7. Rollback a driver to a previously installed version if kernel.dll errors began after updating a particular hardware device's driver.

  8. 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 kernel.dll file could be included in one of those updates.

    Windows Update in Windows 11
  9. 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 kernel.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.

  10. Repair your installation of Windows. If the individual kernel.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 kernel.dll related issues in the registry. A free registry cleaner program may be able to help by removing invalid kernel.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 kernel.dll error, this should be your next course of action.

    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 kernel.dll error using a troubleshooting step prior to this one.

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

Need More Help?

Not interested in fixing this problem yourself? See How Do I Get My Computer Fixed? Get a full list of your support options as well as with everything along the way, such as figuring out repair costs, getting your files off, choosing a repair service, and a lot more.

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