How to fix the missing ddraw.dll error in Windows 10

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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Ddraw.dll is a Dynamic-Link Library file that DirectX needs for 2D graphics. It is a shared system file that is essential for multimedia software. If that file ever gets deleted or corrupted, you’re bound to encounter some software issues.

Missing ddraw.dll errors are among the more common DLL issues that return an error message stating, “This application can’t start because ddraw.dll is missing from your computer.

If you ever encounter that error message or one along similar lines, some of your multimedia programs aren’t going to run. These ddraw.dll errors can be due to malware, corrupted or invalid registry entries, outdated DirectX version, corrupted system files or a deleted ddraw.dll file.

As such, there are numerous potential fixes for the missing ddraw error. These are a few resolutions that will probably fix the missing ddraw.dll error in Windows 10.

Ddraw.dll is missing on Windows 10? Here’s how to fix it

  1. Scan for Malware
  2. Run a System File Checker Scan
  3. Scan the Registry
  4. Re-register the Ddraw File
  5. Reinstall the Software
  6. Save a new Ddraw.dll to Windows
  7. Roll Windows Back to a Restore Point

1. Run a System File Checker Scan

If malware has indeed corrupted the ddraw file, the System File Checker might also repair it. The tool will scan system files and replace any corrupted ones with a cached copy. You can utilize the SFC in Windows 10 as follows.

  1. Press the Win key + X hotkey to open the Command Prompt from the Win + X menu.
  2. Then select Command Prompt (Admin) to open the Prompt.cmd
  3. First, run the Deployment Image and Service Management tool by entering ‘DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth’ in the Command Prompt; and press the Return key.
  4. Enter ‘sfc /scannow’ and press Return to initiate the System File Checker scan.
  5. The SFC scan could take up to half an hour. Restart Windows if the WRP does repair some files.


Run a third-party DLL fixer

There are plenty of third-party programs out there that promise to fix or replace missing or broken DLLs, and most of them stay true to their word. However, if you are to choose just one, then there’s no way you can go wrong with Restoro.

How to use Restoro to fix missing or broken DLLs

  1. Download here Restoro and install it on your Windows 10 PC
  2. Let Restoro perform a full system scan
  3. When the scan is finished, press Clean Now
    • This is when you will have to activate your license key
    • Before the repair process starts, Restoro will create a restore point of your system in case things go wrong
  4. Restoro will now proceed to fix your DLL-related issue.

Note: While Restoro can be downloaded for free, it has limited functionality until you activate it. That being the case, if you want the full benefit of a great PC repair and optimization tool, you should purchase the full license.

2. Scan for Malware

DLL files are a frequent target for malware. As such, malware might be responsible for the missing ddraw.dll error. To purge malware from Windows, add an anti-virus utility to the OS. You can scan for and purge malware with Malwarebytes, which has a stripped down freeware version. Press the Free Download button on this homepage to add the trial version to Windows, and then click Malwarebytes’ Scan Now button to scan for and erase malware.


3. Scan the Registry

The registry can often be the source of DLL file errors. It might be the case that there are invalid registry entries for ddraw.dll. You can scan and repair registry entries with third-party utility software such as CCleaner. This is how you can scan the registry with the freeware CCleaner.

  1. Press the Download button on this website page to save CCleaner’s installer to Windows.
  2. Open CCleaner’s installer to add the utility software to Windows.
  3. Click the CCleaner icon to open the software’s window.
  4. Click Registry to open CCleaner’s registry cleaner shown directly below.ccleaner
  5. Note that the registry cleaner includes a Missing Shared DLLs check box. Select Missing Shared DLLs along with all the other checkboxes for the most thorough scan.
  6. First, click the Scan for Issues option, which will scan for registry issues.
  7. Then press the Fix selected issues button to repair the registry entries listed.
  8. A dialog box opens that asks to back up the registry. Click Yes to create a backup, choose a folder for the file and press the Save button.backup registry
  9. Then press the Fix All Selected Issues button to give further confirmation to repair registry.

4. Re-register the Ddraw File

Regsvr32, otherwise the Register Server, is another Windows tool that can come in handy for fixing DLL errors. It might be the case that the ddraw file has broken registry references, which regsvr32 can fix. You can re-register the ddraw file with regsvr32 via the Command Prompt as follows.

  1. First, press the Cortana button on the Windows 10 taskbar.
  2. Enter ‘cmd’ in Cortana’s search box.
  3. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as administrator to open it.cmd
  4. Enter ‘regsvr32 /u ddraw.dll’ in the Prompt’s window, and press the Return key.
  5. Then input ‘regsvr32 ddraw.dll’ and press Enter to re-register the DLL.


5. Reinstall the Software

If one specific program is returning the missing ddraw.dll error, reinstalling the software could fix the issue. The missing DLL error message also suggests that you reinstall the program. The software might not have been correctly installed, which would leave it with some corrupt files. You can reinstall the program as follows.

  1. Open Run by pressing the Win key + R hotkey.
  2. Enter ‘appwiz.cpl’ in Run and press Enter to open the Control Panel tab shown directly below.uninstall a program
  3. Select the program that’s returning the DLL error.
  4. Press the Uninstall button to remove the program.
  5. Click Yes on the Programs and Features dialog box to confirm you’re sure about removing the software.
  6. Thereafter, reinstall the program with its setup wizard.uninstall a program

6. Save a new Ddraw.dll to Windows

The error message states that the ddraw.dll is missing, so it might indeed be the case that the file has been deleted. The easy way to check is to enter ‘ddraw.dll’ in the Cortana search box, which should find the file as shown in the snapshot directly below. If the file has been erased, you can download another copy of the ddraw.dll – but only do so from reputable sources.

ddraw.dll is one of the more reputable websites for DLL files. The site includes a repository of DLL files for 64 and 32-bit Windows platforms. You can save a new ddraw.dll to Windows from that site as follows.

  1. Click this hyperlink to open
  2. Enter ‘ddraw.dll’ in the website’s search box, and click the Search DLL file button.
  3. Then click ddraw.dll to open a list of ddraw file dll
  4. Click the Download option beside the ddraw.dll file for your platform.
  5. The ddraw.dll will save as a ZIP, which you can extract by selecting the ZIP and pressing the Extract all button in File Explorer.
  6. Then move the ddraw.dll to the C: > Windows > System32 folder shown directly below.add dll
  7. Restart your desktop or laptop.
  8. You might also need to register the ddraw file by entering ‘regsvr32 ddraw.dll’ in the Command Prompt.

7. Roll Windows Back to a Restore Point

System Restore provides one of the best fixes for DLL errors. This will undo changes made to system files and roll the registry settings back to a selected restore point date. This is how you can utilize the System Restore tool in Windows 10.

  1. Enter ‘rstrui’ in Run and click OK to open the window directly below.system restore
  2. Click Next to open a list of restore points.
  3. Select a restore point that predates the missing ddraw error.
  4. To check what software will be lost after restoring Windows, press the Scan for affected programs button. That option will open the window below which shows you software added after the selected restore point.system restore
  5. Press the Next button, and click the Finish and Yes options to confirm your selected system restore point.

Those are some of the best remedies for the missing ddraw.dll issue. Aside from those resolutions, DLL fixer software such as DLL Suite, DLL Tool and DLL-files Fixer might also resolve the issue. Check out this article for further details on how to fix DLL errors.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


Editor's Note: This article was originally published in November 2017 and was revamped and updated in November 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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