How to Fix Wpcap.dll Not Found or Missing Errors

A troubleshooting guide for wpcap.dll errors

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

This file is used by WinPcap, a packet capturing program. You can read more about what the file does in the WinPcap User's Manual.

The wpcap.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, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000.

Wpcap.dll Errors

Wpcap.dll Error
Wpcap.dll Error.

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

  • Wpcap.dll Not Found
  • This application failed to start because wpcap.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.
  • Cannot find [PATH]\wpcap.dll
  • The program can't start because wpcap.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.
  • The file wpcap.dll is missing.
  • Cannot start [APPLICATION]. A required component is missing: wpcap.dll. Please install [APPLICATION] again.

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

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

How to Fix Wpcap.dll Errors

Do not download wpcap.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.

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

  1. Restore the file from the Recycle Bin. The easiest possible cause of a "missing" wpcap.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 data recovery program.

    Completing this step 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.

  2. Run a virus/malware scan of your entire system. Some wpcap.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. Install or reinstall Npcap (preferable for Windows 11/10) or WinPcap. These are pieces of software that many other programs use to support their software, and a major component is the wpcap.dll file.

    npcap setup

    Try your best to complete this step. Since these programs are very likely the best source of the file, installing or reinstalling one of them should fix this DLL issue.

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

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

    The wpcap.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.

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

  7. 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 wpcap.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.

  8. Use a free registry cleaner to repair wpcap.dll related issues in the registry. A free registry cleaner program may be able to help by removing invalid wpcap.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.

  9. 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 wpcap.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.

  10. Troubleshoot for a hardware problem if any wpcap.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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