How to fix SETUPAPI.dll missing or not found error in Windows?

Issue: Today, I noticed that every time I attempt to open apps such as Chrome or Spotify, I receive an error that says that SETUPAPI.dll is missing. I am not sure what is causing this, as the problem started abruptly. How do I fix this?

Solved Answer

Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs) are vital components in the Windows operating system, functioning as a collection of instructions that multiple programs can access simultaneously. These libraries help software run more efficiently by storing code and data that multiple programs can utilize at the same time. DLLs play a critical role in managing resources, ensuring that computer memory is used optimally.

However, there are instances when errors related to DLL files may arise, hindering the smooth operation of various applications. An example of this is the “SETUPAPI.dll missing or not found” error that Windows users might encounter, typically when trying to open certain applications.

SETUPAPI.dll is a system file used in Windows, and it forms part of the Windows Setup API. Its main function is to manage the installation and configuration of the operating system and applications. In essence, it's a crucial file that assists in setting up various software components on a Windows computer.

The error message concerning SETUPAPI.dll could be the result of several underlying issues, such as the file being mistakenly deleted, corrupted, or improperly registered. Moreover, incompatible software, malicious software interference, or a faulty Windows update might also lead to this error. These causes point to a complex problem that might require thorough investigation to resolve.

How to fix SETUPAPI.dll missing or not found error in Windows?

Potential solutions for this error may involve manual intervention, such as reinstalling the affected program, restoring the missing file, or updating Windows. Specific instructions for these actions can be found below, although we do recommend running a scan with a potent PC repair app FortectMac Washing Machine X9, which is excellent when dealing with various technical Windows issues.

Fix 1. Try Windows Store Apps troubleshooter

This solution is designed to automatically diagnose and repair problems with Windows Store apps. It can resolve the SETUPAPI.dll error if it's related to a specific application that relies on the Windows Store.

  • Type Troubleshoot in Windows search and hit Enter.
  • Click Additional troubleshooters/Other troubleshooters.
  • Scroll down to find Windows store apps and select it.
  • Click Run the troubleshooter/Run.
  • Wait till the process is finished and apply the fixes.


Fix 2. Run SFC and DISM scans

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SFC and DISM scans can detect and repair corrupted or missing system files.

  • Type cmd in Windows search.
  • Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  • When UAC shows up, click Yes.
  • Type in the following command and press Enter:
    sfc /scannow
  • When done, run the following commands as well:
    dism /online /cleanup-image /scanhealth
    dism /online /cleanup-image /checkhealth
    dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
    (Note: if you get an error executing this last command, add /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess to it and try again).
  • Restart your device.


Fix 3. Run Check Disk

Check Disk can find and fix file system errors, which may include the SETUPAPI.dll error.

  • Open Command Prompt as administrator, as explained previously.
  • In the new window, type in the following command and press Enter after:
    chkdsk c: /f
    (Note: use chkdsk c: /f /r /x command if you are using SSD as your primary partition)
  • If you receive an error, type in Y, close down Command Prompt and restart your system.
  • Wait until the scan is finished – you can find the results in the Event Viewer.

Check Disk

Fix 4. Reinstall the problematic app

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Reinstalling an application that is triggering the error may rectify any inconsistencies or corrupt files associated with the application, thus resolving the issue.

  • Right-click on Start and pick Apps and Features.
  • Scroll down to the app that's causing the error to show up.
  • Select it and click Uninstall – follow the prompts to finish the process.
  • Once done, reboot your system and reinstall the app again.

Reinstall the app

Fix 5. Try Clean Boot

Clean Boot starts Windows with a minimal set of drivers and services. This can help identify if any third-party applications or services are causing the SETUPAPI.dll error.

  • Press the Win + R to open the Run dialog box.
  • Type msconfig and press Enter.
  • In the System Configuration window, click on the Services tab.
  • Check the box that says Hide all Microsoft services, then click Disable all.
  • Next, click on the Startup tab.
  • Click on Open Task Manager.
  • Under the Startup tab in Task Manager, for each startup item, select the item and then click Disable.
  • Close Task Manager.
  • On the Startup tab of the System Configuration dialog box, click OK, and then restart your computer.

Clean Boot

Fix 6. Perform System Restore

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To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.

System Restore can revert the system to a previous state where the error did not exist, effectively resolving the issue.

  • Type in Create a Restore point in Windows search and hit Enter.
  • Go to the System Protection tab and pick System Restore.
  • Click Next.
  • Click Show more restore points (if available).
  • Pick the time before the problem occurred and click Next.
  • Follow the prompts to finish the process.

System Restore

Fix 7. Repair-install Windows

If none of the above helped you to resolve the issue, you can try to repair-install Windows, all while keeping your personal files intact.

Create Windows ISO

  • Download Windows 11 Installation media from the official Microsoft website. [Windows 10 version]
  • Double-click the MediaCreationTool.exe file to launch it.
  • When UAC shows up, click Yes.
  • Accept license terms.
  • Select Language and Edition (make sure it matches the one you have currently installed) or simply mark the Use the recommended options for this PC and click Next).
  • Select the ISO file and click Next.
  • Pick the location for your ISO file and wait till all the needed files are downloaded, then click Finish.

Repair-install Windows

  • Go to the location of your ISO file, right-click, and select Mount.
  • Run the setup.exe file.
  • You will be asked whether you want to update Windows to the latest version – pick Not right now and click Next.

Repair-install Windows

  • Accept Terms and Windows will make several checks to ensure everything is fine.
  • Click Change what to keep.
  • Here, you have several options: Keep your files and apps, Keep files only, or Keep nothing – choose what suits you the best. Click Next.
  • Finally, click Install to begin the installation process.

Keep files

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About the author
Ugnius Kiguolis
Ugnius Kiguolis - The problem solver

Ugnius Kiguolis is the founder and editor-in-chief of UGetFix. He is a professional security specialist and malware analyst who has been working in IT industry for over 20 years.

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