Unfortunately, there are a ton of reasons that you might experience rundll32.exe errors and tracking down the exact issue can take some investigation. During Windows system startup or shutdown process, you may receive one of the following rundll32 exe error messages:
Error Message: “Application failed to initialize properly or specified module could not be found.”
Error Message: “rundll32.exe has generated errors and will be closed by Windows.”
Error Message: “rundll32.exe failed to initialize.”
Error Message: “rundll32.exe is missing.”
Error Message: “explorer.exe class not registered.”
Error Message: “Windows host process (Rundll32) has stopped working.”
So What Exactly is Rundll32.exe?
In technical terms, rundll32.exe is responsible for calling Windows DLL (or Dynamic Link Library) files and loading them into your PC’s memory. rundll32.exe errors are generated when Windows® is unable to locate the file the utility is trying to run. The process executes from inside the Windows system32 directory which is installed by default in:
rundll32.exe plays an essential part in sustaining your Windows OS stability and the file integrity on your computer and should not be removed.
A rundll32.exe error usually occurs whenever your PC is not responding correctly due to either a corrupted software application (registry entry) or a faulty hardware device. In some cases, users have reported that rundll32.exe has been disguised as a virus. You’ll generally notice this error message during your Windows startup or shutdown cycle.
Solutions For Fixing Rundll32 Errors
Try the following steps below:
Step 1: Reboot Your PC
Always reboot your PC before making any changes. Believe it or not, simply rebooting your computer can sometimes solve the problem. Don’t take this easy step for granted.
Step 2: Uninstall Recently Installed Software (If Applicable)
If you notice that you started receiving rundll32.exe errors right after you installed new software, you can either uninstall it manually through Windows Add/Remove Feature, or use an in-depth software removal tool such as SecureUninstaller.
Step 3: Run a Commercial-Grade Registry Tool
Download and run a commercial registry cleaner and run it about once a month to keep your registry optimized.
Step 4: Update Your PC Drivers
This is often overlooked but is usually the cause of a lot .exe and .dll file errors. You can either visit the manufacturer websites of your PC devices, or run a quality driver update tool to match your drivers for you. I recommend DriverFinder – this software will scan and match the exact drivers needed on your computer and their technical support staff is second to none.
Step 5: Perform a Selective Start-Up
Since most the time, rundll32 errors occur on system startup, you can try to isolate the hardware or software application that is causing it. In order to do this, you need to perform a clean boot sequence. Just follow the steps below:
- Go to the Start Menu and click Run.
- Typemsconfig and press Enter. It will open the Windows System Configuration Utility dialog menu.
- In this dialog box, choose Selective Startup and uncheck every option except one and restart your computer.
- If you still receive the error message, repeat step 3 until you identify the exact startup option that is causing the error.
Step 6: Possible Solution (For XP Users Only)
For XP users, follow these steps:
- Place the Windows XP CD-ROM disk in your drive.
- Click Start, and then click Run.
- Type expand X:\i386\rundll32.ex_ c:\windows\system32\rundll32.exe in the Open box, assuming X is the letter of your CD-ROM Drive.
- Restart your PC.
Special Note: If your error message is “Windows Cannot Find C:\Windows\Rundll32.exe” , then a missing or corrupt file is what caused the problem. Double check for a copy of your rundll32.exe file under the C:\Windows\system32\dllcache folder. If it’s there, copy and paste it to C:\Windows\system32. If it’s missing from your dllcache, you can look for it under C:\Windows\SericePackFiles\i386 and copy it over to C:\Windows\system32.