How to Fix the “DLL Not Designed to Run on Windows” Error

Windows allows you to install and run numerous programs. However, this process can often take hours due to the “DLL not designed to run on Windows” error. This DLL error blocks the installation of many Windows apps. In worse cases, it prevents you from running a third-party program on your system.

In short, it’s enough to make you feel frustrated. So, let’s look at all the ways to fix the DLL not designed to run errors on Windows.


Why Does the ‘DLL Not Designed to Run on Windows’ Error Occur?

DLLs (Dynamic Link Libraries) are files containing codes for various programs. All third-party apps on your Windows computer use these codes for different functions. So, if the DLL files get damaged or deleted from your system, the apps relying upon them will crash and not start.

Before providing solutions, here are some additional reasons behind the “DLL not designed to run on Windows” error:

  • Incompatibility issues with the software you’re installing
  • Corrupted or missing DLL files
  • Cracked or modded version of the software

Now that you know the leading causes behind the DLL error, let’s move on to the solutions to fix it.

1. Try Some Generic Windows-Based Fixes

First of all, it’s worth trying some generic Windows tricks that are renowned for solving DLL-related errors:

Perform an SFC Scan

When any software runs on Windows for the first time, it checks for all the necessary files for startup. If a file seems missing or corrupted, you receive an error popup on the screen. In such a case, try running the SFC scan first.

SFC (System File Checker) is a handy built-in tool to find and replace missing or corrupted system files on Windows. Here’s how to fix the missing DLL files on Windows using the SFC tool:

  1. Open Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Type the command: sfc /scannow there and press Enter to execute it. The SFC tool will now open and automatically fix most issues it finds.
    SFC Command Preview

Note that the SFC utility is only helpful in case of errors with default Windows apps such as Microsoft Store, Photos, and Camera app.

Reinstall the Software Causing the Problem

When installing third-party software for the first time, it asks for several options in its setup stage. Suppose your computer suddenly shuts down or reboots at that moment. In this case, the software may install incorrectly due to corrupted installation files.

Here’s the good news: reinstalling the software usually fixes this issue. But, you must ensure a clean uninstallation first, as sometimes residual files create troubles during a new setup.

So, how to fix the ‘DLL Not Designed to Run on Windows‘ error in case of faulty software installation?

To begin with, check how to uninstall software on Windows first. After uninstalling, download the latest version from the developer’s official website.

Run a Complete Malware Scan

Often, the malware targets the DLL files that the software uses to work correctly. It modifies those files to bypass or execute the desired functions, increasing the chances of DLL-related errors. So, running a full system scan using a reliable antivirus program is advisable.

If you’re a beginner, use the Microsoft Safety Scanner for malware scans. But if you want a more robust option, check our list of the best Windows antivirus programs for more details.

Revert Your System to a Previous Restore Point

Have you tweaked your Windows recently using a script or a tool? If so, there is a high chance that you have accidentally messed up some critical DLL files. But don’t worry; using a restore point to return to a stable system state can help.

We assume the tool you’ve used while tweaking may have created a restore point earlier. If not, skip this method and move on to the next one.

Follow the below-given steps to revert using the system restore on Windows:

  1. Click the Search icon or label on the taskbar and start typing Create a restore point.
  2. Open the best match and click the System Restore button.
    System Restore Option In Windows

  3. The System Restore window will provide a list of restore points. Select the one you want to return to, ideally, where you know the error wasn’t present.
  4. Check your chosen restore point and hit Next. Confirm again in the following window.
    System Restore Wizard

2. Update the Software Causing the Problem

Old software often causes DLL errors due to system incompatibilities. Therefore, just as you update your computer, you should also update your software.

If you’re facing the DLL error after running a software, here’s how to check for its software updates and apply them:

  1. Start the software causing the DLL error.
  2. Open its settings and search for an option like Update or Check for updates. The update option might also be in the About section of the software.
    Windows Apps Update Option

  3. If an update is available, follow the on-screen instructions to update it.
  4. If the app fails to launch because of the DLL error, try uninstalling it and then downloading the latest version from the app’s website. Alternatively, if you own the most recent version, go down a version.

Updating your software often solves compatibility issues because updates usually include the latest DLL files. So, try it before moving on to advanced methods.

3. Repair the Visual C++ Redistributable Packages

Visual C++ Redistributable Packages consist of essential files for some third-party software to function correctly. If these packages are missing or corrupted, it can lead to errors such as the “DLL Not Designed to Run on Windows” error.

To resolve this issue, you need to repair the Visual C++ Redistributable packages as follows:

  1. Click on the search icon on the taskbar and type Installed apps. Then, click Open next to the search result to open it.
  2. Search for the latest Microsoft Visual C++ package version and click the three-dot menu next to it.
  3. Choose Modify from the context menu and then click Repair.
    Microsoft Visual Package Options

  4. Once it says Setup Successful, click Close.
  5. Repeat the same step, i.e., click the three-dot menu, Modify, and Repair with each of the Microsoft Visual C++ packages.
    All Microsoft Visual C++ Packages

Don’t worry; the above steps take little time; repairing takes a few seconds, so there should be no difficulty while repairing each package in your system.

4. Install the Missing DLL Manually

If all else fails, you can install the missing DLL manually. However, this must absolutely be done as a last resort.

Installing a DLL file manually requires using a DLL downloader website to get the file, then moving the files to the correct location. Note that the files obtained from untrustworthy sources may be loaded with malware, or you could accidentally download an incompatible version. So, please create a restore point first as a safety measure.

Before proceeding with the steps, copy the DLL file name you want to download. For reference, you can check the error message or popup you received, as it should specify the name of the missing file.

Now that you have a restore point, here’s how to download and install the missing DLL files manually.

Be aware that MakeUseOf neither supports nor promotes the website mentioned in this step! Before downloading any DLL file, ensure it is compatible with your system and that the file name matches the DLL error you’re encountering.

  1. Visit and type the DLL file name in the search field. For example, Msvcr120.dll.
  2. Click the Search DLL file button to start the search.
    DLLFiles Website Preview

  3. Click the best matching search result and download the appropriate file (32-bit or 64-bit).
  4. Move the downloaded file to the directory of the software that needs it. For example, if you face a DLL error while opening Chrome, paste the downloaded file into Chrome’s home directory. Alternatively, you can place the DLL file in the Windows default system directory (C:\Windows\System32).
    Windows System32 Folder

  5. Open Command Prompt as an administrator and type regsvr32 DLLname.dll (replace ‘DLLname‘ with the name of your file). For an example, regsvr32 Msvcr120.dll.
    DLL Registration Command

  6. Press Enter to register the downloaded DLL file on your Windows system.

These steps might seem confusing for beginners. However, refer to screenshots to follow the steps correctly.

The “DLL not designed to run on Windows” error can stop you from adding third-party Windows software to your computer. So, it’s important to troubleshoot this issue quickly.

The mentioned ways are the only ones that can help you troubleshoot this issue. If none worked for you, the last option is to reinstall Windows on your device.


🧪 |Medical Laboratory Scientist 🥇 | Mindset over Everything. 
 🤝 | Let's Grow Together.

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