I got a computer from a client yesterday and when I started to repair it, I couldn’t access hardly any of the tools in Control Panel (Windows XP). I kept getting the error message:
“Windows cannot find C:\Windows\system32\rundll32.exe”
Obviously I was missing the rundll.exe process. Rundll32.exe is a process that allows dynamic link libraries (DLLs) to be executed. Many system DLLs contain entry points for external use. These include the control panel, as well as Shell32.dll, which allows you to bring up windows such as the “Open with…” dialog. This process is a system process that is essential to the system’s proper operation.
I don’t really know how this file was lost (often malware can “knock it out”), but I knew that I had to get it back onto the computer if I wanted to proceed with the “fix”. Here is what I did:
1) I went into the c:\windows\system32\dllcache folder and found the rundll.exe file.
2) I copied the rundll.exe file and pasted it into the c:\windows\system32 folder (this is where it should be by default, this is where you want it to be).
3) I rebooted the machine.
4) I was no longer in “.dll hell”, everything worked great and I was able to access Control Panel and complete the “fix”.
Professor Randy says: Don’t go to .dll hell! Replace any missing .dll files and you’ll be in heaven!