Unable to load DLL (Module could not be found HRESULT: 0x8007007E)


I have a dll library with unmanaged C++ API code I need to use in my .NET 4.0 application. But every method I try to load my dll I get an error:

Unable to load DLL 'MyOwn.dll': The specified module could not be found. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007007E)

I have read and tried several solutions I have found on the internet. Nothing works..

I have tried using following methods:

[DllImport("MyOwn.dll",  CallingConvention = CallingConvention.Cdecl)]
[return: MarshalAs((UnmanagedType.I4))]
public static extern Int32 MyProIni(string DBname, string DBuser_pass,
    string WorkDirectory, ref StringBuilder ErrorMessage);

When I tried following this article and when I run this example (from the downloaded code) it runs without a problem (the dll used is in the bin/debug folder)

I have copied my dll (along with all the files the it depends on into my bin folder).

I also tried this approach but got the same error:

[DllImportAttribute(MyOwnLibDllPath, EntryPoint="TMproIni")]
[return: MarshalAs(UnmanagedType.I4)]
public static extern  int MyproIni(string DBname, string DBuser_pass, 
    string WorkDirectory, ref StringBuilder ErrorMessage);

Any suggestions?

asked on Stack Overflow Jan 25, 2012 by Ingimar Andresson • edited May 15, 2021 by Chronicler

18 Answers


From what I remember on Windows the search order for a dll is:

  1. Current Directory
  2. System folder, C:\windows\system32 or c:\windows\SysWOW64 (for 32-bit process on 64-bit box).
  3. Reading from the Path environment variable

In addition I'd check the dependencies of the DLL, the dependency walker provided with Visual Studio can help you out here, it can also be downloaded for free: http://www.dependencywalker.com

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 25, 2012 by display101 • edited Sep 20, 2016 by Graviton

You can use the dumpbin tool to find out the required DLL dependencies:

dumpbin /DEPENDENTS my.dll

This will tell you which DLLs your DLL needs to load. Particularly look out for MSVCR*.dll. I have seen your error code occur when the correct Visual C++ Redistributable is not installed.

You can get the "Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio 2013" from the Microsoft website. It installs c:\windows\system32\MSVCR120.dll

In the file name, 120 = 12.0 = Visual Studio 2013.

Be careful that you have the right Visual Studio version (10.0 = VS 10, 11 = VS 2012, 12.0 = VS 2013...) right architecture (x64 or x86) for your DLL's target platform, and also you need to be careful around debug builds. The debug build of a DLL depends on MSVCR120d.dll which is a debug version of the library, which is installed with Visual Studio but not by the Redistributable Package.

answered on Stack Overflow Sep 5, 2014 by Anthony Hayward

This is a 'kludge' but you could at least use it to sanity-test: Try hard-coding the path to the DLL in your code


Having said that; in my case running dumpbin /DEPENDENTS as suggested by @anthony-hayward, and copying over 32-bit versions of the DLLs listed there into my working directory solved this problem for me.

The message is just a bit misleading, becuase it isn't "my" dll that can't be loaded - it's the dependencies

answered on Stack Overflow Sep 14, 2017 by Black • edited Sep 15, 2017 by Black

The DLL has to be in the bin folder.

In Visual Studio, I add the dll to my project NOT in References, but "Add existing file". Then set the "Copy to Output Directory" Property for the dll to "Copy if newer".

answered on Stack Overflow Mar 4, 2016 by Jeremy Thompson • edited Mar 22, 2021 by Jeremy Thompson

Try to enter the full-path of the dll. If it doesn't work, try to copy the dll into the system32 folder.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 25, 2012 by Headpuster

Ensure that all dependencies of your own dll are present near the dll, or in System32.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 25, 2012 by Felice Pollano

Turn on the fusion logging, see this question for lots of advice on how to do that. Debugging mixed-mode apps loading problems can be a right royal pain. The fusion logging can be a big help.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 25, 2012 by Chris O • edited May 23, 2017 by Community

There is one very funny thing (and has a technical relevance) which might waste your hours so thought of sharing it here -

I created a console application project ConsoleApplication1 and a class library project ClassLibrary1.

All the code which was making the p/invoke was present in ClassLibrary1.dll. So before debugging the application from visual studio I simply copied the C++ unmanaged assembly (myUnmanagedFunctions.dll) into the \bin\debug\ directory of ClassLibrary1 project so that it can be loaded at run-time by the CLR.

I kept getting the

Unable to load DLL

error for hours. Later on I realized that all such unmanaged assemblies which are to be loaded need to be copied into the \bin\debug directory of the start-up project ConsoleApplication1 which is usually a win form, console or web application.

So please be cautious the Current Directory in the accepted answer actually means Current Directory of main executable from where you application process is starting. Looks like an obvious thing but might not be so at times.

Lesson Learnt - Always place the unamanaged dlls in the same directory as the start-up executable to ensure that it can be found.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 17, 2017 by RBT • edited Aug 9, 2017 by RBT

In my case one unmanaged dll was depending on another which was missing. In that case the error will point to the existing dll instead of the missing one which can be really confusing.

That is exactly what had happen in my case. Hope this helps someone else.

answered on Stack Overflow Feb 22, 2019 by Rahatur

Make sure you set the Build Platform Target to x86 or x64 so that it is compatible with your DLL - which might be compiled for a 32 bit platform.

answered on Stack Overflow Sep 22, 2014 by Grantly

If the DLL and the .NET projects are in the same solution and you want to compile and run both every time, you can right click the properties of the .NET project, Build events, then add something like the following to Post-build event command line:

copy $(SolutionDir)Debug\MyOwn.dll .

It's basically a DOS line, and you can tweak based on where your DLL is being built to.

answered on Stack Overflow Dec 18, 2014 by SharpC

I had the same problem when I deployed my application to test PC. The problem was development PC had msvcp110d.dll and msvcr110d.dll but not the test PC.

I added "Visual Studio C++ 11.0 DebugCRT (x86)" merge module in InstalledSheild and it worked. Hope this will be helpful for someone else.

answered on Stack Overflow Feb 1, 2016 by kakopappa

I think your unmanaged library needs a manifest.
Here is how to add it to your binary. and here is why.

In summary, several Redistributable library versions can be installed in your box but only one of them should satisfy your App, and it might not be the default, so you need to tell the system the version your library needs, that's why the manifest.

answered on Stack Overflow May 27, 2015 by Eugenio MirĂ³ • edited May 23, 2017 by Community

Setup: 32-bit Windows 7

Context: Installed a PCI-GPIB driver that I was unable to communicate through due to the aforementioned issue.

Short Answer: Reinstall the driver.

Long Answer: I also used Dependency Walker, which identified several missing dependency modules. Immediately, I thought that it must have been a botched driver installation. I didn't want to check and restore each missing file.

The fact that I was unable to find the uninstaller under Programs and Features of the Control Panel is another indicator of bad installation. I had to manually delete a couple of *.dll in \system32 and registry keys to allow for driver re-installation.

Issue fixed.

The unexpected part was that not all dependency modules were resolved. Nevertheless, the *.dll of interest can now be referenced.

answered on Stack Overflow Oct 20, 2016 by icernos

I have come across the same problem, In my case I had two 32 bit pcs. One with .NET4.5 installed and other one was fresh PC.

my 32-bit cpp dll(Release mode build) was working fine with .NET installed PC but Not with fresh PC where I got the below error

Unable to load DLL 'PrinterSettings.dll': The specified module could not be found. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007007E)


I just built my project in Debug mode configuration and this time my cpp dll was working fine.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 25, 2018 by Abu Muhammad

Also faced the same problem when using unmanaged c/c++ dll file in c# environment.

1.Checked the compatibility of dll with 32bit or 64bit CPU.

2.Checked the correct paths of DLL .bin folder, system32/sysWOW64 , or given path.

3.Checked if PDB(Programme Database) files are missing.This video gives you ans best undestand about pdb files.

When running 32-bit C/C++ binary code in 64bit system, could arise this because of platform incompatibility. You can change it from Build>Configuration manager.

answered on Stack Overflow Jan 17, 2019 by Yuresh Karunanayake • edited Jan 18, 2019 by Yuresh Karunanayake

I faced the same problem when import C++ Dll in .Net Framework +4, I unchecked Project->Properties->Build->Prefer 32-bit and it solved for me.

answered on Stack Overflow Mar 24, 2020 by Mamo Ghandi • edited Mar 24, 2020 by Mamo Ghandi

"Unable to load DLL 'xxx.dll': The specified module could not be found. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x8007007E)" means the file CAN be found BUT it's not able to load it. Try to copy the DLL file to the root folder of your application, some DLL libraries need to be available in the root folder of the application in order for it to work. Or check if there are any other depending DLL files required by it.

"Cannot find DLL 'xxx.dll': ..." means the file CANNOT be found. Try to check the path. For example, [DllImport(@"\Libraries\Folder\xxx.dll")]

answered on Stack Overflow Mar 23, 2021 by JeeShen Lee • edited Mar 23, 2021 by JeeShen Lee

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