How to Fix Sdl.dll Not Found or Missing Errors

First download the official sdl.dll file, and then try a software reinstall

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

The sdl.dll file is associated with the Simple DirectMedia Layer development library.

Sdl.dll Errors

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

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

Sdl.dll error messages typically appear while using or installing certain programs, such as emulators and video games. The context of the error is an important piece of information that will be helpful while solving the problem.

The error message 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, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.

How to Fix Sdl.dll Errors

Do not download sdl.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 sdl.dll from the Recycle Bin. The easiest possible cause of a "missing" sdl.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 be sure to do this only if it was working normally before you deleted it (i.e., it wasn't a virus).

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

  2. Download from the Simple DirectMedia Layer website. This is the original DLL file, so it's safe to download and use.

    Once you extract the contents of that ZIP file, you'll find sdl.dll in the lib folder.

    sdl dll file in a folder

    The latest SDL releases are available on GitHub, but provided there is the sdl2.dll file. What you're looking for to address this error is the SDL 1.0 DLL file.

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

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

  5. Reinstall the program that uses the sdl.dll file. If the sdl.dll DLL error occurs when you use a particular program, and downloading the original file during the above step didn't help, reinstalling the program should replace the file.

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

    The sdl.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. Roll back a driver to a previously installed version if sdl.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 sdl.dll file could be included in one of those updates.

    It's important to keep Windows updated even if sdl.dll isn't one of the included updates. It's possible that the DLL file relies on an update that isn't yet installed from Windows Update, in which case updating Windows could provide the file(s) needed to fix any sdl DLL related errors.

  9. Test your memory and then test your hard drive. I'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 sdl.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 sdl.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 sdl.dll related issues in the registry. A free registry cleaner program may be able to help by removing invalid sdl.dll registry entries that might be causing the DLL error.

    registry cleaners should be used 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 sdl.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 sdl.dll error using a troubleshooting step prior to this one.

  13. Troubleshoot for a hardware problem if any sdl.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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