msctf.dll is missing from system32. unable to load up windows

yesterday my computer gave me a popup saying  "This application has failed to start because Msctf.dll was not found. Re- installing the application may fix this problem." whenever i tried opening up a program or google chrome.  A system restore to a previous version before this started happening had no effect and because no programs will open, running virus software or a regristry mechanic tool could not be done.  rebooting my computer just made things worse because I'm not even able to load up windows anymore.  after loading up the sign in screen,the same error message pops up, I "x" it out, I sign in, but instead of my regular desktop loading up, im left with a completely black screen along with the previously mentioned popup reappearing.  this is the same case when running in safe mode as well.  booting from my windows 7 cd and doing a startup repair found no problem. 

the worst part is that Its a brand new system, so it would probably be free to call tech support but since I cant get past the sign in page I cant give windows my product Id. any ideas before just completely reformatting my harddrive and reinstalling windows? 


Hi Jones3dr,

·         How long have you been facing this issue?

·         Did you make any recent changes prior to the issue?

Method 1: If you have the Windows 7 installation disc, I’d suggest you to try performing system restore from the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) and check if it works.

What are the system recovery options in Windows 7?

Try performing SFC scan on the computer.

SFC /scannow is a super-useful command you can use in any Windows version. When the SFC (System File Checker) command is used with the /scannow switch, the tool will scan all of the important Windows files on your computer and replace them as necessary.

Missing and corrupt operating system files (like many DLL files) are arguably the biggest cause of major Windows issues. Considering that, plus the fact that SFC /scannow is completely automatic and very easy to use, the tool should usually be one of your first troubleshooting steps.

How to use the System File Checker tool to troubleshoot missing or corrupted system files on Windows Vista or on Windows 7

Hope this information is helpful.


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Last updated May 7, 2020 Views 8,583 Applies to: