Where do I get help with DLL problems that don't seem to come from malware?

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ctrlalt007

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I'm running the latest Kaspersky Internet Security on my 6 mos old acer Windows XP system and it doesn't show any malware, but when I try to open my Outlook Express I get the message: Application or DLL c:\windows\system32\imm32.DLL is not a valid windows image. Please check this against your installation diskette. I reloaded IE7 but that didn't help. This seems to be a common problem so I bought PC Tools 'Registry Mechanic' but that didn't fix it. I opened Windows in Safe Mode and I can run Outlook Express from there if that means anything. Where do I go from here? Thanks for any input.
 
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Please don't use Regitry Mechanic. That will only cause more problems.

Search for the file. See if it is in the system32 folder.

Try running a system file check. Go to Start > Run, and type: sfc /scannow

Have your XP CD handy.
 

ctrlalt007

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Please don't use Regitry Mechanic. That will only cause more problems.

Search for the file. See if it is in the system32 folder.

Try running a system file check. Go to Start > Run, and type: sfc /scannow

Have your XP CD handy.
I don't have a "handy XP CD". When I bought the system, it came with XP. It had me make a 6 disc back-up, but there was no XP copy with it. Which is standard from what I gather nowadays. I went to Start>Run typed in sfc\scannow and hit the "Enter" button. It wouldn't let me do that. It told me if I wanted to find a file go to "find files".
 
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Did you leave the space after "sfc"? I notice that you did not type it above.
 

ctrlalt007

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Well that made a difference! It brought up a screen: Windows File Protection. It asked me to: wait while Windows verifies all protected Windows files are intact and in their original versions. When it finished I checked Outlook Express again but I still get the same error message. What's next?
 
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Take a look on those backup CD's you made. The XP installation files should be there somewhere, so search for a folder named "i386". If you find it, we can copy the file from there.

Also do a search of your drive to see if there is another copy somewhere for imm32.dll.
 

ctrlalt007

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imm32.dll was on my own hard drive in windows/system32, thankfully I didn't have to go searching through the 6 backup discs. What do I do with it?
 

ctrlalt007

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One other question please. I see on the site advertisements to fix imm32.dll error problems with programs of some sort or another. The one I chose originally was Registry Mechanic which you don't recommend. I kind of like repairing it with you as I get to understand the system better than just letting some program fix it, but are there programs that do fix imm32.dll errors better than Registry Mechanic and I just happened to pick a bad one?
 
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Registry fixers in general are not a good idea. They take a shotgun approach to the registry and remove things according to predefined patterns that are sometimes faulty, leading to removal of needed entries and loss of functionality. Any real "errors" in the registry need to be repaired manually. The only registry tool I recommend is a registry compactor (sometimes called a "defragger") such as the free registry defragger from www.auslogics.com .

The file you found is the one that the error message claims is faulty. We still need to find a new copy in order to replace it. So, take a look at your firat recovery CD and see if there is an i386 folder on it.

If you find i386, then put the CD in and close any windows that pop up.

Go to Start > Run, and type:

expand D:\i386\imm32.dl_ C:\Windows\system32\imm32.dll

(adjusting the drive letters to your system if D: is not your CD-ROM or C: is not your system drive).
 

ctrlalt007

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I found the folder i386 on Disc 1 of the Back up discs. I copied the command as you wrote adjusting the drive letter to E: as my CD-ROM is E: on my system. I re-booted but the problem with Outlook Express remains and I continue to get the message imm32.dll is not a valid windows image.... BTW when I call up Outlook Express at the bottom of the screen next to START I get the following message: msimn.exe-Bad Image. This appears when I call up Outlook Express and goes away when I clear the error messages away. I didn't pick up on that before. Next?
 
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Try copying imm32.dll from system32 to your Outlook Express directory.

Check for Windows updates, too, to see if there are any for IE (which includes OE). It's possible that an incomplete update failed to replace an older version of imm32.dll.
 
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It appears from others who have had this problem that other files will soon start to show the same error. The only fix they have found is a repair installation.

Can you run your recovery disk in a non-destructive way so as not to lose any of what you have installed?
 

ctrlalt007

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I'm not sure what you mean "in a non-destructive way...." I'd sure try. It's easy to insert and copy files if that's what you mean. If all else fails am I looking at a complete 5 disc (I thought it was 6 but it's actually just 5) re-install? I think I remember doing something like that years ago with Win95. First though I'm going to try copying imm32.dll to the Outlook Express directory.
 
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