For Windows users, seeing errors on the screen can be a complete nightmare. When these errors are thrown on the screen, most users will fire up Google to search for fixes.
Among the errors that users face some are connected to Dynamic Link Library files like ws2_32.dll. So, what are these files, anyway?
DLL Files: An Overview
Dynamic Link Library files, also known as DLL files, store codes and data for the Microsoft Windows ecosystem. They are usually used by other applications and programs to perform other functions in the Windows environment.
DLL files share functions with other programs to ensure everything runs smoothly and efficiently. This means they should not be removed by any means as this will affect your computer’s performance.
In a Windows computer, you can find a few DLL files already pre-installed. Microsoft has designed it that way so you can conveniently install third-party applications in the future. However, some DLL files are created for a specific purpose, and they usually come with specific applications, too. You can only use them if you use that particular application.
Because of the nature of DLL files, they tend to be vulnerable to problems that can corrupt or delete them for good. And in a Windows environment, DLL errors are pretty common. But they’re also among the most complicated to resolve. Then again, that does not mean they cannot be fixed.
In this article, we will delve deep into the role and common errors associated with one DLL file: ws2_32.dll.
What Is ws2_32.dll?
The ws2_32.dll file was developed by Microsoft. It is also referred to as the Windows Socket 2.0 32-bit DLL, which plays a critical role in the Windows operating system. It is used to run different network and internet programs. As an essential component, its absence may negatively affect your operating system’s performance.
When something happens to this DLL file, either it gets damaged or missing, a runtime error message is thrown. Runtime errors are pretty self-explanatory. They mean that the file tried to load while Windows was booting up but was not found or failed.
The common error messages that come with this DLL file are as follows:
- ws2_32.dll missing
- vlc ws2_32.dll
- ws2_32.dll repair
- ws2_32.dll is not a valid windows image
- a required dll file ws2_32.dll was not found
7 Ways to Resolve the Ws2_32.dll Missing Error
If you have encountered any of the error messages above, then you may try any of the fixes we have curated below.
Fix #1: Install Any Available Updates
It may be a good idea to perform a Windows Update first. Many ws2_32.dll error messages are triggered by issues caused by an outdated operating system.
To perform a quick Windows Update, follow these easy steps:
- Press the main Windows menu button.
- Hover over the search box and key in update.
- Next, hit Enter.
- The Windows Update window will now appear. Select the Check for Updates button.
- If there is an update available for download, install it by clicking Install Updates.
- Once the update process is completed, restart your computer.
Fix #2: Perform an SFC Scan
Every Windows operating system comes with a System File Checker utility that allows you to find and restore any damaged files. You can use it to fix a missing or damaged ws2_32.dll file. Here’s how:
- Press the Start button to launch the Windows main menu.
- Key in cmd into the search field.
- Now, press and hold the Ctrl and Shift keys while hitting Enter.
- A dialog box will ask for your permission. Hit Yes to agree.
- At this point, you should see the Command Prompt window with a blinking cursor and a black screen.
- Input this command: sfc /scannow and hit Enter.
- The SFC utility will start scanning your system for any issues and fix them. This will take time to finish.
- Follow the on-screen instructions and prompts to complete the system file check process.
- Finally, restart your Windows computer for the changes to apply.
Fix #3: Use System Restore
System Restore is quite a handy tool when fixing ws2_32.dll errors. Using this utility, you can restore Windows to a time when the ws2_32.dll file was still working just fine. What System Restore does is basically restore Windows to a state when no changes were made to your system files.
To use System Restore and resolve error ws2_32.dll, follow these steps:
- Use the Windows + R shortcut to open the Run utility.
- In the window that opens, key in the rstrui command into the text field. After that, hit Enter to open the System Restore tool.
- Now, you are presented with the option to select a restore point. Choose one with a date prior to the error message appeared. Hit Next to continue.
- Press the Finish button to confirm your action.
- At this point, Windows will restart and boot up with a prior Windows version.
Fix #4: Scan Your Device for Viruses or Malware
The error ws2_32 may show up because of viruses or malware entities on your computer. These harmful entities may have damaged or corrupted the DLL files and substituted them with malicious versions.
To address this problem, experts suggest running a malware scan to eliminate the threats as soon as possible.
There are two ways to perform a malware or virus scan. You can use the built-in Windows Defender application or a third-party antivirus suite.
Windows 10 devices come with a built-in antivirus solution that allows you to scan your computer for viruses and remove them. It is called Windows Defender.
To use Defender and perform an Offline scan, navigate to Settings and click Update and Security. Next, hover over to the Windows Defender section. And then, scroll down to the bottom part of the window and find the Windows Defender Offline scan option. Here, click the Scan Now button.
The scan will then begin automatically. Defender will search for malware entities and viruses hiding on your device. Once the scan is complete, your computer will restart. The results of the scan will appear in the notifications tray.
You can find a multitude of antivirus programs out in the market today, and they come with reliable malware scanning features. You can choose any program that you fancy and install it. However, be careful with your choice as these programs are not created equal. Some live up to their claims and promises, while others are the complete opposite. Read the reviews first or seek recommendations before making a final choice of antivirus.
Once you have installed an antivirus suite, proceed with scanning your system. Simply launch it and hit the Scan button. It will then check your system for signs of threats, and you should see the scan results once it is complete.
Fix #5: Update Your Device Drivers
Device drivers act as translators between hardware devices and applications that use them. And like other essential components of the Windows environment, these drivers need to be updated from time to time.
Fortunately, updating device drivers is easy. You can update them automatically using a third-party driver updater tool or manually download the driver update from the device manufacturer’s website.
Driver Updater Tool
There are different driver updater tools out there that allow you to install driver updates automatically. This means you don’t have to perform manual searches and find a driver version that is compatible with your device.
Just download the driver updater tool of your choice and install it. After that, launch the app and let it scan your system for any missing or outdated driver. Once done, hit the Update button to install the drivers automatically.
If you don’t like the idea of downloading a third-party tool, you can opt for the manual method instead.
To do this, go to the Taskbar and key in device manager. Select Device Manager. Then choose a driver category that you want to update. Next, click the Search for updated driver software option. Windows will then begin searching for a new driver.
Fix #6: Reinstall the Faulty Program
If the DLL issue appears while trying to launch or when using a certain application, try to reinstall it and re-register the DLL file. In some cases, this fix does the trick.
Navigate to Settings > Apps. Here, click Apps and Features. And then, find the app you want to uninstall. Click on the app, then tap the Uninstall button next to it. Once it has been removed from the list, go to your browser and find the official website of the application. Find the download link of the app there, click on it, and start the installation process.
Fix #7: Restore the DLL File from the Recycle Bin
If you have accidentally deleted the DLL file, which resulted in the missing DLL error, just go to Recycle
Bin and check if the file is still there. If it is, restore it by clicking the Restore button.
If it’s no longer there, then you will need the help of a file recovery program.
The ws2_32.dll file is an essential file that is used for various network-related functions. But even though its role is critical, there are instances when it causes error messages to surface.
If you find yourself in such a situation where you need to deal with a ws2_32.dll-related error, all you have to do is perform an SFC scan, update your drivers, install any pending Windows update, scan your system of malware or viruses, or use the System Restore utility.
However, if you find the steps too complicated for you, feel free to reach out to Windows experts or certified Microsoft professionals.
What other things do you want to know about the ws2_32.dll file? Let us know in the comments!