How to Restore a Missing DirectX DLL File

Error messages warning of "missing" and "not found" DirectX DLL files are pretty common. Games and graphics programs are constantly being developed and Microsoft is frequently releasing updates to DirectX.

Downloading a DLL file from a DLL download site is a really bad idea and sometimes fully installing DirectX isn't feasible for some reason 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.

How to Restore a Missing DirectX DLL file

Follow the easy steps below to restore a missing DirectX DLL file.​ This usually takes less than 15 minutes.

  1. Search for the latest version of DirectX on Microsoft's site.

    Note: The same DirectX download applies to all Windows operating systems - Windows 10, Windows 8Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, etc. You can restore any missing DirectX DLL file - be it DirectX 11, DirectX 10, DirectX 9, etc. - using this download.

  2. Click the link in the search results for the DirectX End-User Runtimes (MM YY) that shows the latest release date. Follow the directions to download the file on the next page that Microsoft sends you to. Be sure to download the DirectX installation file to your desktop or another easy place to work from.

    Note: This is the full version of DirectX so it may be a sizable download. If you're on a slower connection, this might take a while.

  1. Right-click on your desktop, choose New and then choose Folder. Name the folder something to remember like DirectX Files or leave it as the default New Folder. We'll use this new folder in the next steps.

  2. Double-click on the file you downloaded in Step 2.

    Note: If you're having problems locating the file, it will likely be named something like directx_[date]_redist.exe.

  1. Click Yes to the license agreement that displays.

  2. Click the Browse... button in the dialog box asking to Please type the location where you want to place the extracted files and choose the folder you created in Step 3. Then click OK.

    Note: If you created the folder on your Desktop, it will likely be at the bottom of the folder list in the Browse for Folder dialog box you're seeing now.

  3. Click OK when you see the folder path in the text box.

    The DirectX installation program will now extract all of its files to this folder. Depending on the speed of your computer, this might happen very quickly.

  4. Open the folder you created in Step 3. You should see a huge number of CAB files, a few DLL files, and a dxsetup.exe file.

    Note: If you run dxsetup.exe, this entire release of DirectX will be installed on your computer. While this is perfectly acceptable, the steps here are demonstrating how to extract a single DLL file from the DirectX package. A full setup will extract and install all of them.

  5. Locate the CAB file that contains the DLL file you're looking for. For example, according to the tables I just linked to, if you need the d3dx9_41.dll file, it can be found in CAB file Mar2009_d3dx9_41_x86.

    Note: There are two versions of most DirectX CAB files - one for the 32-bit version of Windows and one for the 64-bit version. The CAB files for 32-bit versions will end with _x86 and the CAB files for 64-bit versions will end with _x64.

    If you're not sure what type of Windows you're running, see Am I Running a 32-bit or 64-bit Version of Windows?

  1. Double-click on the CAB file to open it.

    Note: Windows has built-in support for opening CAB files but it's possible that another program you've installed on your computer could open the file. Either way, once the CAB file is open, it should appear like a folder window and you should see the DLL file you're after.

  2. Extract the DLL file to your Desktop or another temporary location.

    Depending on what program has opened the CAB file for view, this might involve some kind of extraction from the program's menu or could be as easy as moving the file from the window to your Desktop.

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

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

  4. Delete any copies of the DLL file from your desktop and delete the folder with the extracted DirectX files that you created in Step 3. Leaving DLL files on your desktop can create problems in some situations.

  5. Restart your computer.

  6. After restarting your computer, test to see if restoring the individual DLL file corrected the problem you were having.

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