Wayne Adult Community Center

From the March, 2002 Cyberspace News

What's a DLL?

DLL is short for dynamic link library. Program files usually have a .exe extension. Exe files, however, are not the only files that programs use. Most programs need many files to run, including both .exe and .dll files.

DLLs are libraries of executable functions (or routines) that can be used by multiple programs. Windows, for example, keeps a number of DLLs in the Windows and Windows\System directory. These DLLs are used by many Windows programs.

When you install a program, it installs its own DLLs. Typically, when you uninstall a program, it will delete its DLLs. Sometimes DLLs are left lying around when they are no longer needed. These are called orphan DLLs. A good uninstall program will find them and let you delete them.

Usually, orphaned DLLs don't occupy a lot of space on your hard drive. Even duplicate DLLs won't take up much space. Getting rid of duplicate and orphan DLLs won't save more than about 20 or 30 megabytes of drive space.

You want to be very careful when deleting DLLs. If you delete a DLL that one of your programs needs, the program will stop working. The best way to make sure DLLs go away when you remove a program is to use the uninstaller that came with the program. Otherwise, you will need a third-party uninstall utility.



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