DLL Files: What Are They and How Do They Work?

    DLL Files: What Are They and How Do They Work?
    DLL Files: What Are They and How Do They Work?

    The technological world would be, were it not for the internet, very confusing. Thanks to the internet, virtually everybody can learn everything that there is to know about technology and computers in a simple guide. No longer are complex technological subjects privy only to students at top universities, but rather, they can be accessed and learned by laymen from all over the globe.

    This page will focus on one file type, the DLL, a file with a massive diversity of use, and an essential component of most programs. This page will tell you what a DLL file is, how they work, and what programs use them the most.

    DLL files: what are they, and how do they work? Find out below.

    Dynamic-link Library

    As mentioned in the introduction, DLL, or dynamic-link library, is Microsoft’s shared library file on Microsoft Windows and all OS/2 operating systems. The libraries created by DLL files often have the file extensions DLL, DRV (for legacy system drivers), and OCX (for ActiveX libraries). The file formatting of DLL files is the same as Windows EXE files.

    The file format for both is PE (Portable Executable) on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows systems, and NE (New Executable) on 16-bit Windows. DLL files, similarly to EXEs, store code, data, and resources. Files with the same format as a DLL, but with different extensions, are known as resource DLLs. An example of this would be an icon library, which would have the extension ICL, and font files, which have the extension FOT and FON.


    When Microsoft Windows was first developed, it ran programs together in a singular address. Programs were designed to cooperate by allowing the CPU to yield to other programs, thereby allowing the GUI (graphical user interface) to multitask and be responsible. The underlying OS, MS-DOS, handled operating-system-level operations.

    Higher-level systems and services were conducted by Windows Libraries DLL files, which were designed for this purpose. DLLs are the core of Windows architecture, but notwithstanding their importance from the very beginning, have a few disadvantages, which have all collectively come to be known as ‘DLL hell.’ In 2015, Microsoft suggested.

    NET Framework as a solution to the problems created by the so-called DLL hell; however, in recent years, they have come to promote Microsoft Virtual PC and MS Virtualization to stop the issues.


    The code contained within a .dll file is shared amongst all processes that use the file and relocated. They hold a single place in physical memory and do not take up page file space. In more antiquated versions of Windows, a single string of DLL code would be sufficient for every single process. In newer versions, however, wherein the DLL is relocated, it is possible to use the relocated DLL in multiple programs if each of the programs has the same virtual addresses available for the DLL to use.

    DLL Files
    DLL Files

    What Does a DLL Store and What Programs Use DLL Files?

    DLL files contain many different things, from classes; variables; code, and resources. The resources that are contained within a DLL file range from icons to images to files.

    The first thing many people want to know is what programs use DLL files? Owing to their versatility, many different programs open DLL files, from gaming applications like Steam to applications like Microsoft Word. As aforementioned, they are the core of Windows architecture, and a fundamental component that was not for Windows would not be the same.

    Different Types of Libraries

    On every single operating system, you will find two libraries, static and dynamic. On Windows, the file extensions of the libraries are .lib (stationary) and .dll (active). The difference between the two is that dynamic libraries will not be linked until the program they are operating under is run.

    In contrast, static libraries are linked to the compile time. You will scarcely see static libraries in your program files because static libraries are embedded directly inside a file’s module, and a dynamic library is standalone. DLL files are versatile and can be changed at any time. Static libraries cannot be changed once they are compiled within the file.

    With the help of this page, you should know virtually everything that there is to know about DLL files. The world of computer technology can be hard to understand, but reading guides like these should become much more straightforward.

    If the information contained within directories like these confuse you dearly, then you may consider wanting to undertake a computer science course. These courses can be very beneficial and can be a great way to get to grips with technology. You can enroll in them for a low price or free if you qualify for student finance. Good luck!


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here