The Illegal System DLL Relocation error mainly appears in Windows XP when the user is rebooting the PC, running a program, or downloading an application.
Due to this error prompt, you won’t be able to open any programs on your computer, and sometimes the system will keep rebooting by itself.
The main reason behind this issue is damaged, faulty, or missing system files, including the DLL ones. This is also a cause for many major problems in the Windows OS, apart from this DLL relocation error.
Now, to begin with, the users can run the SFC scan in order to repair the corrupt files and make the applications run normally.
Secondly, the programs that use the User32.dll file can be reinstalled to save your PC from further problems. Below, I’ll explain how to do that in detail, along with 5 other fixes for this error.
1. Run the SFC Scan
The System File Checker (SFC) scan checks all the Windows files on your PC to see if there’s something wrong with them or not. If it finds that a file’s version is incorrect or has been overwritten, it replaces it with the correct version from the %Systemroot%\System32\Dllcache cache folder.
In case a DLL file has gotten corrupted over time, this scan will fix it for you automatically. So, here’s how to run the SFC scan:
- In the Windows search bar, type: CMD
- Select Run as Administrator to open the Command Prompt.
- Insert the following command and hit Enter:
- Wait for the scan to complete and repair the damaged files.
- Now run the program that was showing the Illegal System DLL Relocation error and see whether the issue is fixed.
2. Install Service Pack 3
Service Pack 3 was the last update Windows XP got, and it was the successor to Service Pack 2. The reason for many DLL errors on a Windows XP computer is that the OS is outdated and running on SP1 or SP2.
Therefore, you need to install the latest Service Pack and restart your PC afterward to fix the issue. Unfortunately, the update isn’t available on Microsoft’s website, so you’d have to download it from an external source. Also, make sure the hard disk has at least 1,500 MB of available space.
Note: If you already have SP3 installed, delete it and reinstall it again.
Here are the prerequisites and the steps to install SP3 on XP:
- Open Run with Win + R and type: appwiz.cpl
- This will take you to Control Panel > Uninstall or change a program.
- Remove the Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit and Remote Desktop Connection.
- Disable your antivirus.
- Now install Service Pack 3 by clicking on this link.
- Click Next on the Installation Wizard after extraction is completed
- Wait for the inspection and installation to be completed.
- Click Finish to restart your PC.
- Install any new security updates if you get the notification.
- Now open or download an application, and the DLL error should no longer show up.
3. Reinstall Programs that use the User32.dll file
User32.dll is an important file to run Windows operations. If it is removed or damaged, the programs using this file won’t open, and you will get the Illegal System DLL Relocation error.
This happens when you delete a program that was using the User32.dll file. But in the process, the dynamic link library (DLL) file also gets removed. Now you need to reinstall the programs on your computer that currently use the User32.dll file and are showing the relocation error upon launching.
This process can be time-consuming, depending on the number of programs you have to reinstall.
Here are the steps to identify the applications with the User32.dll file:
- Click on the Start Menu and type CMD.
- Run the Command Prompt with administrator access.
- Press Enter after typing the following command:
tasklist /m User32.dll
- A list will appear with all the programs using this file.
- Determine which ones are causing the error while opening and reinstall them.
4. Clean Boot Windows
When you clean boot Windows, the system starts only with the necessary Windows services and default programs that are required for the computer to run. The reason for clean booting is that it doesn’t start any irrelevant service or program that might be causing the DLL errors in normal booting mode.
After a clean boot, you can identify which programs were causing the issue and remove them.
Here’s how to clean boot a Windows XP computer:
- Click on Start, and then click on Run.
- Type msconfig and click OK.
- Click on Selective Startup in the General tab.
- Untick the following files:
- Process SYSTEM.INI File
- Process WIN.INI File
- Load Startup Items
- Keep the Load System Services and Use Original BOOT.INI checked.
- Click on the Services tab now.
- Tick mark the Hide all Microsoft Services option.
- Click Disable All to disable all other services, and then click OK.
- Finally, click Restart.
- On the System Configuration Utility prompt, checkmark the Don’t show the message….when Windows start box and click OK.
- The computer will now start in the clean boot state.
5. Create a New User Account
Sometimes the problem can be with the user account that you are using on Windows and creating a new one will negate it. The process is uncomplicated and will be completed in under a minute. Here are the steps:
- Log in to Windows as administrator.
- Click on the start button and go to the Control Panel.
- Click on User Accounts from the options available.
- Select Create a new account.
- Type the username that you want and click Next.
- Select whether the account should have administrative or limited privileges.
- Click on Create Account.
The account will be created here. You can further set up the profile picture and password as per your liking from the Change an Account option.
Now try to install and open some programs in the new account and see whether the Illegal System DLL Relocation error shows up.
6. Restore the Computer to an Earlier Point
System restore lets your computer go back to an earlier point in time. In case some files have gone faulty or there’s some other data corruption, the system restore takes your system back to the state where everything was functioning normally. This also fixes many of the DLL problems and issues.
Don’t worry; none of your data will be lost, and neither will any updates or programs. However, some recently installed applications might get removed if you’re going back to the point when they weren’t downloaded.
More often than not, Windows creates system restore points automatically. However, they can be made manually as well. For more on that, refer to our guide about how to create a system restore point.
Anyway, here’s how to do a system restore on a Windows XP PC:
- Click on the Start button.
- Go to All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore.
- Select the option that says: Restore my computer to an earlier time.
- Click Next.
- From the calendar on the left, select any of the highlighted, bold dates.
- From the right menu, select the restoration point.
- Click Next.
- Click Next again on the Confirm Restore Point Selection prompt.
- Wait for the system to reboot after the restoration.
- Once it restarts, open or download a program, and the DLL relocation error will have been countered.