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My folks' PC has a strange problem. There is a file C:\Windows\System32\COMCTL32.dll on their machine, but it is obviously the wrong file, because I cannot start many applications, including useful utilities such as depends.exe and even handle.exe (because they want to open a prompt dialog on the very first run).

Windows Update and Windows Defender Update both fail as well for the same reason. There are many sites dedicated to this issue, but none simply give a link to the download.

Any ideas how I can restore the correct COMCTL32.dll file?

Note: Windows version is 6.1.7601, 32 bits.

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Have you tried a Windows Repair? – ChrisF Jul 23 '11 at 16:27
Do you mean from the installation DVD? No, I did not try it. I will keep it as an option. – mark Jul 23 '11 at 18:38
Yes - though at XP it only worked if you've got the same level of Service Pack installed. Don't know if it's the same for 7. – ChrisF Jul 23 '11 at 19:13
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Here is the dir COMCTL32.dll /s output of a known-good 64-bit Windows 7 install, currently patched to SP1. The first thing I would try would be simply to copy it from another location. I would copy another one that 633,856 bytes, version 5.82.7601.17514.

For 32-bit it is 530,432, version 5.82.7601.17514

enter image description here

If that does not work, I would search here on Superuser for how to extract a file off the installation DVD, or use sfc /scannow from an elevated command prompt.

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COMCTL32.dll provides for many controls on GUIs so a missing COMCTL32.dll would cause most GUIs to fail to open. Your best bet is to copy it from another Windows machine of the same version. I will see if I can find it elsewhere.

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