What is “WOW64.dll” File and Should it be Deleted?

There is a “wow64.dll” in the System 32 folder and it often shows up in certain error messages in Autoruns. Many users have been inquiring about the function of the file and whether it is safe to remove it. In this article, we will guide you about the function of the file and tell you if it is safe to remove it completely from your computer.

“wow64” and its associated DLLs

What is “WOW64.dll”?

The “wow64.dll” file can be seen inside the “System 32” folder which is located inside the Windows’ installation folder. This is the folder which contains all the necessary files which are required for a stable operating system. The “wow64.dll” file has many other associated files such as “wow64cpu.dll” and the “wow64win.dll”. This file is basically used to create a Win32 emulation on an NT64 system.

Used to run Win32 simulation on an NT64 system

There are two types of processors, a 32-bit and a 64-bit processor. The “bit” rating defines the amount of memory that the processor can handle. A “32-bit” processor is much slower than a “64-bit” one because it can handle a maximum of “4GB” of memory. Whereas, the 64-bit processor doesn’t have a limit to the amount of memory that it can successfully utilize.

A 64-bit processor is capable of running both the 64-bit and the 32-bit operating systems. The 64-bit operating systems are capable of running both the 32-bit and the 64-bit applications. This task is achieved by making use of the “wow64.dll” and other associated files.

Should it be Deleted?

It is highly recommended to refrain from deleting the “wow64.dll”, “wow64cpu.dll” or the “wow64win.dll” because these files are highly critical to the stability of the operating system and are used in many regular processes. Also, it is to be noted that any file inside the “Windows” directory shouldn’t be deleted or replaced because all of the files inside the folder are integral to the operating system.

Errors Associated with the “wow64.dll”

Most users were concerned about the file because of its association with certain Autorun errors. Some of these errors are:

  • _Wow64  File not found: C:\Windows\syswow64\Wow64.dll
  • _Wow64cpu File not found: C:\Windows\syswow64\Wow64cpu.dll
  • _Wow64win File not found: C:\Windows\syswow64\Wow64win.dll

These errors are not at all critical and don’t prevent any functionality of the operating system. In fact, Windows’ engineers recommend that you ignore these errors as they aren’t associated with any particular problem.

These Errors are mostly seen because “32-bit” files are invisible to 64-bit processes and “64-bit” files are invisible to “32-bit” processes. In fact, this can be observed by trying the following steps below:

  1. Press “Windows” + “S” to open search and type in “Powershell“.
  2. Right-click on the first result and select “Open File Location“.
    Opening the “Powershell” location
  3. Double-click on the “Windows Powershell (x86)” and execute the following command.
    cd $env:windir\system32
  4. After that, execute the following command
    dir wow*
  5. You will observe that it only shows the “wow32.dll” and some other files.
    Only “wow32.dll” files are visible
  6. Now navigate back to the PowerShell folder and double click on the normal “PowerShell” icon.
  7. Type in and execute the same commands and you will observe that this time the “wow64.dll” files and some other associated files are the only ones visible.
    Only “wow64.dll” files are visible
  8. From this, we can conclude the reason for the appearance of these errors.

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.