How to Open DLL Files & Programs in Microsoft

By Richard Kalinowski

DLL files are used in conjunction with other programs as valuable resource files, but they can be opened independently for customization. Additionally, other executable formats, like EXE or ActiveX Controls, can be opened for individualized viewing. Once opened, you can rewrite DLL or other executable files to begin to diagnose problems, track usage and identify associated resource files. Opening a DLL or other program-based file requires special software, as general Windows operation is not intended for coding. With proper software purchases or downloads, you can see what is written in a DLL file with a simple click.

Free Software for Opening DLL Files

Step 1

Download the most recent version of Resource Hacker. Despite the name, Resource Hacker is legal freeware---it is used for hacking into your own files; it is not used for illegal third-party hacking. Resource Hacker is a free download. The file is well reviewed and is not known to have major bugs or glitches; the application received a perfect "Stability" score at Soft32.com, a well-known downloading portal.

Step 2

Install Resource Hacker by unzipping the file and clicking on the "Install" icon within the now extracted ResHack.zip folder. If you do not have a program for unzipping files, download a trial or paid version of WinZip.

Step 3

Open Resource Hacker and select the DLL file you wish to open. Use the Resource Hacker interface to look at the various file components. Resource Hacker will be able to open most DLL and program files, but editing capabilities are somewhat limited. If you simply need to open up a file, Resource Hacker will work, but to do more advanced operations, paid downloads are necessary.

Paid Software for Opening DLL Files

Step 1

Download and install the paid or 30-day trial version of the Heaven Tools brand Resource Tuner for simple opening and editing operations. Resource Tuner is similar to Resource Hacker; however, since offered from a reputable software company, it comes backed by decent customer support and regular updates. Either Resource Hacker or Resource Tuner are good options for simple opening and editing of resource files. For more advanced opening and editing tools, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2

Download the Heaven Tools brand PE Explorer. Free 30-day trials are offered, but for extended use, you will need to pay. The cost varies depending on what you'll be using the program for---it costs less for personal use than it does for business use. After you purchase the software, the complete file can be downloaded or you can request a CD copy of the software.

Step 3

Install PE Explorer by clicking on the downloaded install files or simply inserting the easy-to-use install CD. Follow on-screen directions for installation and activation.

Step 4

Open PE Explorer. Use the program to open and edit most resource files and programs, including DLL, EXE, SCR, CPL, SYS, BPL and DPL file extensions.