Comctl32.dll errors are caused by situations that lead to the removal or corruption of the comctl32 DLL file. In some cases, the errors could indicate a registry problem, a virus or malware issue, or even a hardware failure.
The comctl32.dll file is the file that represents the Common Control library in Windows.
There are several ways that comctl32.dll errors can show up on your computer. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Comctl32.dll Not Found
- This application failed to start because comctl32.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem.
- Cannot find [PATH]comctl32.dll
- The file comctl32.dll is missing and Cannot start [APPLICATION]
- A required component is missing: comctl32.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 error is an important piece of information that will be helpful while solving the problem.
The comctl32.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, etc.
How to Fix Comctl32.dll Errors
Follow the steps below in the order they're listed to address the more likely fixes first.
Do not download comctl32.dll from a DLL download website. There are many reasons why downloading DLL files is never a good idea. If you need a copy of this file, it’s best to obtain it from its original, legitimate source.
Restore comctl32.dll from the Recycle Bin. The easiest possible cause of a “missing” comctl32.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 file recovery program. However, only do this if you’re confident the file was working properly before it was deleted (i.e., it wasn’t malicious or corrupted in some way).
Start Windows in Safe Mode to complete this step, or any of the steps below, if you’re unable to access Windows normally due to the error.
Run a virus/malware scan of your entire system. Some comctl32.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.
Use System Restore to undo recent system changes. If you suspect that the comctl32.dll error was caused by a change made to an important file or configuration, System Restore could solve the problem.
Run the sfc /scannow System File Checker command to replace a missing or corrupt copy of the comctl32.dll file. Since this DLL file is provided by Microsoft, the SFC tool should be able to restore it.
You can read more about the comctl32.dll file on Microsoft’s Common Control Versions page, but there’s nothing there that’s very helpful in dealing with problems with it going missing or showing up in an error message.
Update the drivers for hardware devices that might be related to the DLL file in question. If, for example, you’re receiving a “The file comctl32.dll is missing” error when you play a 3D video game, try updating the drivers for your video card.
The comctl32.dll file may or may not be related to video cards—this was just an example. The key here is to pay close attention to the context of the error and troubleshoot accordingly.
Roll back a driver to a previously installed version if comctl32.dll errors began after updating a particular hardware device’s driver.
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 comctl32.dll file could be included in one of those updates.
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 comctl32.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.
Repair your installation of Windows. If the individual comctl32.dll file troubleshooting advice above is unsuccessful, performing a startup repair or repair installation should restore all Windows DLL files to their working versions.
Use a registry cleaner to repair comctl32.dll related issues in the registry. A free registry cleaner program may be able to help by removing invalid comctl32.dll registry entries that might be causing the error.
We rarely recommend the use of registry cleaners, but they're included as an option here as a "last resort" attempt before the destructive step coming up next.
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 comctl32.dll error, this should be your next course of action.
All the information on your hard drive will be erased during this step. Make sure you've made the best attempt possible to fix the error using a troubleshooting step prior to this one.
Troubleshoot for a hardware problem if any comctl32.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.