How to Restore a Missing DirectX DLL File

Where to find and where to place DirectX files

Screenshot of several extracted DirectX files in Windows 10
Extracted DirectX Files.

 Lifewire

Error messages warning of "missing" and "not found" DirectX DLL files are pretty common. Downloading a DLL file from a DLL download site is a bad idea, and sometimes fully installing DirectX isn't feasible or just doesn't work. A safe and simple solution to restore a single DirectX DLL file is to extract the file individually from the DirectX installation package.

Information in this article applies to all Microsoft operating systems including Windows 10Windows 8Windows 7Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

How to Restore a Missing DirectX DLL file

To restore an individual missing DirectX DLL file:

  1. Go to Microsoft's website and select the magnifying glass at the top of the page to search for DirectX.

    Search for DirectX on Microsoft's website.
  2. Scroll down the search results and select the Download DirectX End-User Runtimes (MM YY) link for the latest release date.

    Select the Download DirectX End-User Runtimes (MM YY) link for the latest release date.
  3. Select Download.

    Select Download.

    The same DirectX installer works for all versions of Windows.

  4. Right-click on your desktop and select New > Folder. Name the new folder something easy to remember like DirectX Files.

    Right-click on your desktop and select New > Folder.
  5. Open the DirectX installer you downloaded and select Yes to accept the license agreement.

    Open the DirectX installer and select Yes to accept the license agreement.
  6. Select Browse in the dialog box.

    Select Browse in the dialog box.
  7. Choose the folder you created in step 4 and select OK.

    Choose the folder you created in step 4 and select OK.
  8. Select OK when you see the folder path in the text box. The DirectX installation program will extract all of its files to the folder.

    Select OK when you see the folder path in the text box.
  9. Open the folder you created in step 4 to find a large number of CAB files, a few DLL files, and a dxsetup.exe file.

    Open the folder you created in step 4 to find a large number of CAB files, a few DLL files, and a dxsetup.exe file.

    You can run dxsetup.exe to fully install DirectX and reinstall all DLL files.

  10. Locate the CAB file containing the DLL file you're looking for. For example, if you need the d3dx9_41.dll file, it can be found in CAB file Mar2009_d3dx9_41_x86. Double-click on the appropriate CAB file to open it.

    Locate the CAB file containing the DLL file and open it.

    There are two versions of most DirectX CAB files: a 32-bit and 64-bit version. The CAB files for 32-bit systems end with _x86, and the CAB files for 64-bit systems end with _x64. Open the Control Panel to tell if you're running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows.

  11. Move the .dll file to your desktop.

    Move the .dll file to your desktop.

    Windows has built-in support for opening CAB files, but if another program opens it, look for an option to extract the file in the program's menu and extract it to your desktop.

  12. Copy the file to the System32 folder located in your Windows installation folder. On most computers, that will be C:\Windows\System32.

    Copy the DLL file to the System32 folder located in your Windows installation folder.

    If you received an error message that specified another location where the DLL file is missing from (for example, in the folder of a particular game or graphics application), copy the DLL file there instead.

  13. Delete any copies of the DLL file from your desktop, and delete the folder with the extracted DirectX files. Leaving DLL files on your desktop can create problems in some situations.

    Delete any copies of the DLL file from your desktop, and delete the folder with the extracted DirectX files.
  14. Restart Windows.

After restarting your computer, test to see if restoring the individual DLL file corrected the problem you were having. If you still get an error message, try reinstalling DirectX completely or troubleshoot for hardware-related DLL issues.