How to Fix “The program can’t start because OpenAL32.dll is missing from your computer” Error Message (Windows XP, 7, 8, 10)


OpenAL32.dll is a dynamic link library (DLL) file designed and developed by Creative Labs Inc. and NVIDIA Corp. It is commonly used by video games and various Windows software which utilize GPU acceleration.

It’s usually located within the same folder as the program which uses it, but it may also be here: C:\Windows\System32.



When OpenAL32.dll becomes corrupted or accidentally removed, program will most likely crash when started, and you’ll get en error message like this:


dirt3_game.exe – System Error: The program can’t start because OpenAL32.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.


Method 1: reinstall the program which returns the error

Since almost every software which utilize OpenAL32.dll contains its own version of this library, the best practice is to uninstall the problematic program completely and do a fresh installation. Still, some programs are written to use OpenAL32.dll from within the Windows system folder, so en error will reoccur after reinstalling the program.


Method 2: reinstall all Nvidia related software 

If you’re using Nvidia graphic card, the solution may be to reinstall your Nvidia software and drivers. Make sure to remove all Nvidia related software before installing the new drivers. The best practice would be to remove drivers using Display Driver Uninstaller.


Method 3: download and manually add OpenAL32.dll

Although many tutorials all over the Internet suggest this as the first and best solution, it should definitely be the last one. Why? Simple because it is always better to try reinstalling OpenAL32.dll from the source which causes the problem, then to download it from the Internet and risk to get inappropriate file version.

Still, nothing dangerous could happen if you do it, so if nothing else works, download OpenAL32.dll from HERE and place it into the same directory where main executable file is located.

If your program is still unable to start, try to copy downloaded OpenAL32.dll to C:\Windows\System32 folder. If there’s already the same named file inside System32 folder, backup the original file before replacing. If file is currently in use, you should reboot your computer to safe mode and try again. For further instructions on Windows Safe Mode click HERE.


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