How to Fix Zlib.dll Not Found or Missing Errors

A Troubleshooting Guide for Zlib.dll Errors

Screenshot of a zlib DLL error message in Windows
Zlib.dll Error Message.

Zlib.dll errors are caused by situations that lead to the removal or corruption of the zlib DLL file.

In some cases, zlib.dll errors could indicate a registry problem, a virus or malware issue, or even a hardware failure.

There are several different ways that zlib.dll errors can show up on your computer. Here are some of the more common ways that you might see zlib.dll errors.

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

The zlib.dll file is associated with the zlib compression library, specifically zlib-1.1.4 or earlier. This is why it's common to see zlib.dll files while opening, using, installing, or uninstalling video games and applications that use this software library.

You might also see zlib.dll errors when Windows starts or shuts down, or maybe even during a Windows installation.

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

The zlib.dll error message could apply to any program or system that might utilize the file on any of Microsoft's operating systems including Windows 10Windows 8Windows 7Windows VistaWindows XP, and Windows 2000.

How to Fix Zlib.dll Errors

Do not download zlib.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 zlib.dll, 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 zlib.dll error.


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

    If you suspect that you've accidentally deleted zlib.dll but you've already emptied the Recycle Bin, you may be able to recover zlib.dll with a free file recovery program.

    Recovering a deleted copy of zlib.dll with a file recovery program 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 the program with administrative rights. It's possible that the zlib.dll error is being thrown because the file needs permissions to run that the current user can't provide. We've seen zlib.dll errors fixed this way for PC video games.

  3. Run a virus/malware scan of your entire system. Some zlib.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 zlib.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 zlib.dll error was caused by a change made to an important file or configuration, a System Restore could solve the problem.

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

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

    The zlib.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 zlib.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 zlib.dll file is probably not included in one of these updates but a Windows update might be needed in order for the zlib.dll file to work.


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

    I rarely recommend the use of registry cleaners. I've included the option here as a "last resort" attempt before the destructive step coming up next.


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


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

Need More Help?

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Be sure to let me know the exact zlib.dll error message that you're seeing and what steps, if any, you've already taken to fix the problem.

If you're not interested in fixing this problem yourself, even with help, 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 whole lot more.