How to Fix Openal32.dll Not Found or Missing Errors

If a software reinstall doesn't help, download the official openal32.dll file

Openal32.dll errors are caused by situations that lead to the removal or corruption of the openal32 DLL file. In some cases, openal32.dll errors could indicate a registry problem, a virus or malware issue, or even a hardware failure.

The openal32.dll error message could apply to any program or system that might utilize the file on any of Microsoft's operating systems, including Windows 11 through Windows 2000.

Openal32.dll Errors

There are several ways that openal32.dll errors can show up on your computer. Here are some of the more common error messages you might see:

  • Openal32.dll Not Found
  • This application failed to start because openal32.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.
  • Cannot find [PATH]\openal32.dll
  • Unable to start the program because it lacks openal32.dll on your computer.
  • The file openal32.dll is missing.
  • The program can't be started because openal32.dll is missing on your computer.
  • Cannot start [APPLICATION]. A required component is missing: openal32.dll. Please install [APPLICATION] again.
openal32 dll error message

Openal32.dll error messages might appear while using or installing certain programs when trying to play a video game, or when Windows starts or shuts down. The context of the error is an important piece of information that will be helpful while solving the problem.

How to Fix Openal32.dll Errors

Follow these steps in the order they're presented to address the simpler fixes first.

Do not download openal32.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 openal32.dll from the Recycle Bin. The easiest possible cause of a "missing" 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 it with a free file recovery program. Just make sure it was working fine before you deleted it (i.e., it wasn't corrupted or malicious).

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

  2. Reinstall the program that uses the openal32.dll file. If the 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 openal32.dll file, if possible, is a likely solution to this DLL error.

  3. If you're seeing the DLL error with a Steam game, open oalinst.exe to install the missing DLL file. To find this file, first go to the folder where your Steam games are stored—it should be:


    In that common folder, open the folder of the game where the openal32.dll error is being shown. Then, go into the folder called _CommonRedist and open OpenAL. There should then be a folder titled with numbers, like—in there is where you'll find oalinst.exe.

    Open that EXE file to install the missing DLL.

    If you can't find that file in the folder above, try searching through the whole computer at once. Windows' search tool works, but so do other file search utilities, like Everything.

  4. Install OpenAL to download the official openal32.dll file. The file will be copied to both the \System32\ and \SysWOW64\ folder under %systemroot% (which is usually C:\Windows\).

    OpenAL Installer program
  5. Run a virus/malware scan of your entire system. Some openal32.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.

  6. Use System Restore to undo recent system changes. If you suspect that the openal32.dll error was caused by a change made to an important file or configuration, System Restore could solve the problem.

  7. Update the drivers for hardware devices that might be related to openal32.dll. If, for example, you're receiving a "The file openal32.dll is missing" error when you play a video game, try updating the drivers for your video card or sound card.

    The openal32.dll file is most likely related to audio, but still, this was just an example. The key here is to pay very close attention to the context of the error and troubleshoot accordingly.

  8. Roll back a driver to a previously installed version if openal32.dll errors began after updating a particular hardware device's driver.

  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 openal32.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 openal32.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 related issues in the registry. A free registry cleaner program may be able to help by removing invalid openal32.dll registry entries that might be causing the DLL error.

    We rarely recommend the use of registry cleaners. They're included as an 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 openal32.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 error using a troubleshooting step prior to this one.

  13. Troubleshoot for a hardware problem if any openal32.dll errors persist. After a clean install of Windows, your DLL problem can only be hardware related.

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.

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