What is shell32.dll?

Shell32.dll is a Windows DLL file. DLL is the abbreviation for Dynamic Link Library. DLL files are needed by programs or web browser extensions, because they contain program code, data, and resources. You can fix your shell32.dll problem by downloading the correct shell32.dll file. The following information can help you determine if shell32.dll is a Windows system file or if it belongs to an application that you can trust.

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Shell32.dll file information

The process known as Windows Shell Common Dll or Allgemeine Windows-Shell-DLL belongs to software Microsoft Windows Operating System or Betriebssystem Microsoft Windows by Microsoft (

Description: Shell32.dll is not essential for the Windows OS and causes relatively few problems. Shell32.dll is located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Known file sizes on Windows 10/8/7/XP are 13,179,660 bytes (44% of all occurrences), 8,461,312 bytes and 94 more variants. 
The program has a visible window. The process is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: ShellServiceObjectDelayLoad). The file is not a Windows system file. Shell32.dll is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs. Therefore the technical security rating is 22% dangerous, however you should also read the user reviews.

Uninstalling this variant: If you have any problems with shell32.dll, you can also do the following:
  1) safely remove the program using the uninstall program of Microsoft Windows (Control Panel ⇒ Uninstall a Program)
  2) go to the support area of the Microsoft website.

Recommended: Identify shell32.dll related errors

If shell32.dll is located in a subfolder of C:\Windows, the security rating is 6% dangerous. The file size is 8,361,472 bytes. The program has a visible window. It is a Microsoft signed file. The program is loaded during the Windows boot process (see Registry key: ShellServiceObjectDelayLoad). It is not a Windows system file. Shell32.dll is able to record keyboard and mouse inputs.

Important: Some malware disguises itself as shell32.dll, particularly when not located in the C:\Windows\System32 folder. Therefore, you should check the shell32.dll process on your PC to see if it is a threat. We recommend Security Task Manager for verifying your computer's security. This was one of the Top Download Picks of The Washington Post and PC World.


User Comments

shell32.dll is a library which contains Windows Shell API functions, which are used when opening web pages and files.
it'a a part of windows operating system
It is the file which contains all the dialog boxes, context menu's , all the window icons and many other important things. Like whatever strings of text we read in0windows are preserved in shell32.dll. One of the most important file in windows. The wfp service take cares of this file and other system files too, so that they don't get replaced under any condition.
  Puneet Batish   (further information)
windows interface
The purpose of shell32.dll is to provide file access support and webpage opening support to caller applications. One of the applications that make use of shell32.dll is Internet Explorer. Also Windows Explorer makes use of the same shell32.dll API calls due to its tight integration with Internet Explorer. This dll is an important part of the operating system, and failure to open this dll will likely cause your computer not to boot up at all.
  Alex   (further information)
part of the Windows opeation system, and running every time the windows starts up.
  sisi   (further information)
i think is essential
  suleiman fuseini  

Rating chart

Summary: Average user rating of shell32.dll: based on 22 votes with 9 user comments. 15 users think shell32.dll is essential for Windows or an installed application. 2 users think it's probably harmless. One user thinks it's neither essential nor dangerous. 4 users think shell32.dll is dangerous and recommend removing it.

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Best practices for resolving shell32 issues

A clean and tidy computer is the key requirement for avoiding problems with shell32. This means running a scan for malware, cleaning your hard drive using 1cleanmgr and 2sfc /scannow, 3uninstalling programs that you no longer need, checking for Autostart programs (using 4msconfig) and enabling Windows' 5Automatic Update. Always remember to perform periodic backups, or at least to set restore points.

Should you experience an actual problem, try to recall the last thing you did, or the last thing you installed before the problem appeared for the first time. Use the 6resmon command to identify the processes that are causing your problem. Even for serious problems, rather than reinstalling Windows, you are better off repairing of your installation or, for Windows 8 and later versions, executing the 7DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth command. This allows you to repair the operating system without losing data.

To help you analyze the shell32.dll process on your computer, the following programs have proven to be helpful: ASecurity Task Manager displays all running Windows tasks, including embedded hidden processes, such as keyboard and browser monitoring or Autostart entries. A unique security risk rating indicates the likelihood of the process being potential spyware, malware or a Trojan. BMalwarebytes Anti-Malware detects and removes sleeping spyware, adware, Trojans, keyloggers, malware and trackers from your hard drive.

Other processes

shell32.dll [all]