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What is the Visual C++ Redistributable? How to Install and Troubleshoot It on Windows 10

Installing applications on Windows 10 is normally a straightforward process, thanks to the operating system’s wealth of applications and compatibility over the past 30 years. For the most part, they just work. For example, we’ve already covered how to install classic desktop applications and universal apps, such as those available through the Windows Store.

But the Windows 10 app story is still going through a significant transition, which initially started with Windows 8. Universal apps are the future of Windows 10, but classic apps will be with us for some time. And those classic apps sometimes have classic problems. For instance, installing desktop apps can be problematic due to the requirement of components such as the Visual C++ Redistributable.  In this article, we find out what it is and how to get it installed, so, your app will work on Windows 10.

How to Resolve Problems Installing the Visual C++ Redistributable

The Visual C++ Redistributable is a DLL (Dynamic Link Library) file required by programs or games built using Microsoft’s Visual Studio software development environment. When a program requires a DLL or some other supporting file to run, this is called a dependency. The MSVCR.DLL stands for:

  • MS – Microsoft
  • V – Visual
  • C – C++
  • R – Redistributable.

Browsing your Apps and Features Setting or Programs and Features Control Panel, you might see multiple versions of the redistributable installed. A particular app installed might be utilizing one of them, so, removing any version can cause an application to malfunction. Some apps might even require updated versions of the Visual C++ Redistributable such as 2010 SP1 or 2012 Update 4.

A DLL helps app creators efficiently reuse common components that make a program work. Instead of reinventing the wheel and bloating their code each time, developers can reuse the libraries in the MSVCR.dll. This in return can reduce the size of a program and provide better performance and memory utilization. Some applications are written using specific versions of the Visual C++ Redistributable. If your computer does not have the full Visual C++ development program installed (which you likely won’t unless you are a software developer), a program will come with what is called a Runtime Component to facilitate that particular program. The Runtime Components are just the essential pieces of code that make the software work.

There are versions of the Visual C++ Redistributable that go back as far as version 2005. A common error users might see when attempting to execute or install an application is:

The Program can’t start because MSVCR110.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.

The error indicates that a particular version of the Visual C++ Redistributable required by the program you are attempting to install is either corrupt or missing. In this case, MSVCR110 represents the Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable. Other versions include:

  • MSVCR71.dll, MSVCR08.dll, MSVCR09.dll (2008 – 2010)
  • MSVCR120.dll (2012)
  • MSVCR130.dll (2013)
  • MSVCR140.dll (2015)

Most programs will come preinstalled with a copy of the Visual C++ Redistributable during installation. You can also browse the application setup files – normally a folder called “third party” or something similar – where you might be able to find copies of the setup files for the Visual C++ Redistributable.

If not, you can download the version required by the application. The program will indicate the version of the file required if an error pops up during or when executing the app. Users should also be aware that some programs might require either the 32 or 64-bit architecture.

Below are links to download the appropriate redistributable for the version you might be attempting to install:

Further MSVCR Troubleshooting

Sometimes you might need to uninstall an existing version of the Visual C++ Redistributable in order to resolve problems affecting it. If installing the correct Visual C++ Redistributable does not resolve problems installing or repairing a program, it likely means that one of the DLL files might be corrupt. Re-registering the DLL files might be able to resolve the problem.

Press Windows key + X then click Command Prompt (Admin) or Windows PowerShell (Admin). At the command prompt or PowerShell window, type the commands below then hit enter after each. Exit the command prompt then restart your computer to see if the problem is resolved.

regsvr32 ntdll.dll /s

regsvr32 msdxm.ocx /s

regsvr32 dxmasf.dll /s

regsvr32 wmp.dll /s

regsvr32 wmpdxm.dll /s

Encountering problems with the Visual C++ Redistributable is a rare occurrence, but it’s also a sign of the legacy issues still attached to Windows. The Universal App model minimizes the need for such components because of the new packaged based deployment used. For big apps like AutoCAD, QuickBooks, Adobe Creative Suite and iTunes, this component will always be a part of your apps’ fundamental architecture. Hopefully, this article will help you overcome any obstacles if you do encounter them.

Have you had to fix issues with Visual C++ Redistributable Packages for Visual Studio? Tell us about it in the comments.

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3 Responses to What is the Visual C++ Redistributable? How to Install and Troubleshoot It on Windows 10

  1. Biagio Vella April 21, 2017 at 8:35 am #

    You ae helping many people with your gPost. Excellent work – keep it up and thanks for your informative and expert instructions. Congratulations

    • Andre Da Costa April 21, 2017 at 11:34 am #

      Thanks so much Biagio, it means a lot to hear you say that. Its always good to know the content we author at Groovypost is making an impact.

  2. ramu kaviyoor April 23, 2017 at 7:28 am #

    I’m not a techie. I had a problem with the good old Movie Maker which stopped functioning after the Creative update of Win10x64 recently messed it up. I noted down the name of the missing file and identified thru google which ‘distributable’ it was pertaining to. (I think it was the dll file of 2012). Then,

    control panel>programs and features
    select the redistributable
    right click ‘change’ and then
    ‘repair’ button of the pop-up window

    It was repaired in a couple of minutes. Movie Maker was back in action. But I think the old redistribs (2005 to 2010) do not have the ‘change’ option.

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