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Dated: Aug. 13, 2004

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Windows XP

By Vic Laurie

Although they are not directly executable as programs, the many DLL files present in Windows contain libraries of functions that are used throughout the operating system and in application software. Generally, these functions are used internally by programs and are not directly visible to the computer user. However, Windows XP contains a filerundll32.exe that allows command line access to certain functions that are explicitly written to be available to this executable file.In this article we discuss how to use some of these.

Syntax for using Rundll32.exe

The syntax for using Rundll32.exe must be followed precisely and is as follows:


The DLL name may not contain any spaces, commas or quotation marks.If the DLL name does contain spaces, use the short (8.3) version of the file name. Note that there must be a comma between the DLL name and the entry point. Also, the name of the entry point function is case-sensitive,and there can't be any spaces between the DLL name, the comma, and the entry point function name. If the DLL file is not in a folder contained in the system path environment, then the full path must be used for the DLL name. rundll32See the Microsoft Knowledge Base for more details.

There are a number of commands employing Rundll32.exe that can be entered into Start-Run, a command window, or used in scripts. A common use is to open various Control Panel applets. For example, to open the Control Panel applet for configuring the display properties enter.

RUNDLL32.EXE SHELL32.DLL,Control_RunDLL desk.cpl,,0

Different tabs for the Desktop applet can be opened by changing the number at the end that is part of the argument. All of the Control Panel applets and their tabs can be opened this way by using the relevant CPL file and the appropriate tab number as arguments. The operating system also uses this method to display Control Panel. In fact, Control Panel applications are the most commonly mentioned examples in discussions of using Rundll32.exe. Examples of some different applications are discussed below.

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ATOM's Comment
i like it
09 Tue Mar 2010
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